Eight Pokagon college students shadowed government employees this summer. They learned about how the government as a whole as well as the different departments run, gained real job experience, and served within the community between June 5–July 28.
Interns Cheyenne Binder, Mariah Green and Isabella Miller are studying linguistics, general studies, and criminal justice, respectively, at Southwestern Michigan College. They worked with Language & Culture, Housing, and Education this summer.
Nizhoni Church and Adam Pike-Inman worked at Pokagon Health Services (PHS) in the Clinic and the Wellness Center. Church is studying pre-nursing at Adams State University while Pike-Inman is studying health science at Oakland University.
Blaire Topash-Caldwell is a graduate student at the University of New Mexico, where she is studying anthropology. She worked with our Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Finally, Alexander Morton was the first intern to work at the Gaming Commission. He’s studying business at Holy Cross College. Samantha Wilson interned at our Social Services Department, aligning with her social work major at Western Michigan University.
In July, the government interns completed a service-learning project with DNR. Students learned the ricing process and processed harvested rice from last season to make way for this year’s harvest, happening in the fall.
Interns sorted, cooked, danced, and winnowed the rice in the traditional way. Cultural specialist Brian Dayson opened the day with a hand drum song and teachings on wild rice.
“While it was a lot of hard work, it was such an honor to be working with a traditional food and resource that is, at present, endangered,” wrote Blaire Topash-Caldwell in a reflective journal entry. She interned with DNR. “It was cool to be able to transplant wild rice at Rodgers Lake a couple weeks prior to this workshop and then get to experience a totally different part of the ricing process.”