The recent creation of the CPN Department of Education has helped streamline most of the college scholarship application processes for tribal members. Amongst the responsibilities of the department of education is the CPN Internship Program, which aims to streamline the internship process and allow the Nation to log information of all interns at the tribe.

The program matches interns with tribal departments based on education and career goals. It is open to any high school graduate, though there is always CPN preference. Interns work full time for six weeks, or part-time for a total of 240 hours, in a paid position andreceive comprehensive soft skill development. To be considered for an internship, applicants must send a current copy of their resume and cover letter when applying. They are then strategically matched to a tribal department relevant to their education and career goals, where they are assigned diverse tasks that provide an overview of what that department does and how it fits into the larger picture of the tribe as a whole. While housing and transportation are not provided, we can refer interns to local, non-tribal housing options with reasonable rates.

You might remember reading about former Potawatomi Leadership Program participant, Ivory Hanson.

Ivory currently attends Iowa State University, where she studies business economics. In summer 2016 she returned to CPN after her PLP experience to intern and was placed with the CPN Planning and Economic Development Department because of similar career and educational goals. The department is led by Economic Director James Collard, Ph.D. 

Ivory told us a little about her experience as an intern at CPN:

“This opportunity was an amazing experience to see the different ways CPN is growing economically, focusing mostly on the development of Iron Horse. I was able to attend meetings with Dr. Collard as he met with consulates from around the world. One of my favorite moments the summer I spent as an intern, was traveling to Houston and then having the chance to have dinner with the Japanese consulate. This experience was truly eye-opening at all of the projects CPN has going on and how interconnected they are.”

Collard said that he was extremely impressed with Ivory and the work she did while here. They have remained in contact, and he said he hopes Ivory will consider returning to Shawnee to work at CPN upon completion of her degree. 

Several tribal members have interned at CPN this past year. For example, Jacki Nadeau is pursuing a social services degree and was placed in an internship in the Indian Child Welfare Program. Heath Steward, who is majoring in biology at St. Gregory’s University, is a current intern at the CPN Cultural Heritage Center and is assisting at the community garden. Additionally, Loralisa Summerhays is interning in the CPN Diabetes Program through CPN Health Services. She is also currently attending SGU, majoring in nursing. These examples give just a few snapshots into the diversity of placements offered to interns.

It is ultimately the goal for all interns to leave with a better understanding of the tribe while gaining work and educational experience that adequately prepares them for the work force.

Currently, we are accepting applications for interns for summer 2017. The deadline is April 1, 2017, and selected interns will be notified by May 1. To apply, please email a current resume and cover letter to me at