Our search for summer interns for our St. Paul summer project began in early February, when we opened applications for three WAYK interns sponsored by the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association. We had an amazing response, and found it very difficult to choose only three interns from all of the highly qualified applicants. After many hours of poring over applications and interviewing applicants, we assembled a terrific team that we know will work great together, will be committed to supporting the host community, and will make WAYK even better with their knowledge, ingenuity, and perspective. Meet our team!
This summer we have two interns who are new to Where Are Your Keys?, Robyn Giffen and Casey Boyette.
Robyn Giffen (twitter: @robynlgiffen / instagram: @robynlgiffen)
I just graduated with a Master’s degree in linguistic anthropology and unsurprisingly have a love of languages and especially for preserving endangered indigenous languages. I’m originally from Calgary, Alberta (in Canada) and I’m especially excited about this WAYK Summer Intensive because this is my first trip to Alaska! My secondary project of the summer is keeping track of all my “Canadianisms” and their American equivalents. So far, as the only Canadian on the team (and likely on the island) I have been outnumbered on the grill vs. barbeque debate.
Casey Boyette (instagram: @caaaaaaaasey)
I’m starting my third year at the University of Virginia this fall, where I major in linguistics, which is how I ended up applying to work on this summer intensive. Other than languages, I spend a lot of time on the college radio station and buying/cooking/eating/thinking about food. I’m from North Carolina so I’ve already had the pleasure of introducing the WAYK team to what Robyn has deemed “Poor man’s pulled pork” (AKA hand-ripped deli ham and barbeque sauce on some bread).
And now, a man who needs no introduction, but who will introduce himself anyway. Our veteran intern this year is Sky Hopinka, who, if you’ve been paying attention, has been active with WAYK and contributing to this blog for several years already. We are lucky to have such a talented filmmaker and WAYK player joining us again this summer.
Sky Hopinka (twitter: @skyhopinka / instagram: @skyhopinka)
My name is Sky Hopinka, I’m from the Ho-Chunk nation and currently living in Milwaukee where I’m attending the University of Wisconsin for my MFA in Film, Video, and New Genres. I’ve been working with WAYK for about four years now and was a part of the first WAYK program in Warm Springs in 2011 and I look forward to being involved in the St. Paul summer.
Since I began working with WAYK some years back I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of different languages using the system. Sometimes it was with Evan and the WAYK team, other times it was language hunting on my own. As I attend school I’m slowly learning my heritage language, Ho-Chunk. It’s slow going but I’m making progress. Yet being back with a WAYK summer program and being able to work with another language in this environment is a great way to further develop my WAYK abilities, be involved in a language community, and get more training in language revitalization and community development.
At the time of this writing, I’ve only been on the island for one day, but one of my favorite things so far is the landscape. It’s beautiful in ways that I haven’t seen before and I look forward to getting my camera out and shooting some video.
We’re already having a great time on St. Paul and looking forward to an awesome summer!