Shivanah and Merilyn Walk Away With Tangible Skills For Their Future
This summer, nine of our YouthForce interns were hired and placed into six different sites at Alaska Airlines (AS), all located at or near the Sea-Tac Airport. We had the chance to visit two of our interns this summer, Shivanah and Merilyn, at their respective sites, the Flight Operations Training Center and the Information Technology Systems department.
Megan Gimmestad, Alaska Airline’s Recruiting Outreach Manager, was the tour guide for the day, helping to navigate around AS’s ever-growing campus. Our first stop was with Flight Opps, which is “the nerve system of the airline,” Megan explained on our way to the center.
During her internship program, Shivanah worked closely with the Inflight Operations team. This team focuses on the policy and procedures for flight attendants in the event of an emergency, as well as covering procedure for “anything that could happen while you’re in the air.”
One of the many tasks Shivanah’s manager, Simone, entrusted her to was managing and responding to flight attendant comments on their Inflight Mobile Device app. This app serves as a way for flight attendants to check in for work, communicates important announcements and company updates, and overall is “very essential to helping the program run smoothly,” Shivanah explains.
Shivanah speaks about her tasks at the company with an ease of someone who’s been there for years. “Flight attendants make comments on how their flight went, whether there were any problems with the food, and make suggestions for improvements,” she explains. “Lately, we’ve been receiving more comments, and have actually been giving out incentives for more employee feedback.”
“I’ve been sent to so many different sites around AS, and gained so many different perspectives while working here,” Shivanah adds.
“I want to supervise people, but am also interested in managing projects. This job opened my eyes to the fact that I can do both.”
She will be a high school senior next spring and will graduate with an Associate of Arts degree as a part of her involvement with the program Running Start. Next fall, Shivanah will pursue a Computer Science degree through Central Washington University’s Information Technology and Administrative Management program.
“I want to supervise people, but am also interested in managing projects. This job opened my eyes to the fact that I can do both. Because it leads to the end goal of being more productive.”
Shivanah ended our interview with an unprompted and glowing review of her summer program: “This internship was awesome. Alaska Airlines treats its employees as well as they treat their customers. They emphasize work-life balance, and your colleagues are like your family. I’m going to miss working here!”
Next, we headed over to the Information Technology Systems building to meet with Merilyn, who worked closely with the IT team leadership this summer. “Everyday in the office is different,” Merilyn shares. “I’ve worked on projects that include a lot of research, event coordination for internal and external events, as well as been involved with the Town Hall leadership meeting.”
During her 6-week program, Merilyn was a part of representing Alaska Airlines at Seafair where they hosted STEM focused activities for kids, as well as an event at Sue’s Tech Kitchen. Sue’s Tech Kitchen is a tech laboratory where visitors of all ages can enjoy 3D-printed s’mores, robots controlled by candy, edible chemistry experiments, treat-dropping drones, and more. Merilyn worked with her team to code and program a sphero (a robotic ball gaming device) to navigate its way around a rug with an airport runway design.
“That project gave me the chance to learn a different type of coding than I’m used to,” Merilyn explains. She has a background in tech and entrepreneurship after taking some classes in high school where she gained experience designing an app. “This position at AS has been perfect, because it combines tech with communications. I want to do business and tech so it’s perfect.”
Merilyn is going to be a senior in high school, and plans to attend University of Washington next year, majoring in Business and Administration with a minor in Computer Science. “I’m really interested in the intersection between technology and business. The next internship I get, I hope to focus more on the tech side.”
“I’m really interested in the intersection between technology and business.”
Like Shivanah, Merilyn says she’s going to miss working for Alaska Airlines. “My manager, Lauri Longthorne, has been so encouraging. She always encourages me to go to events, sends me information about classes, ordered business cards for me, and helped me start a LinkedIn.”
Over here at YouthForce, we know that these positive internship experiences are just the start of a successful and promising future for both Shivanah and Merilyn. We wish you both all the best as you pursue your next steps!