Rasmuson Foundation is delighted to announce our 2018 summer intern, Brandon McIntire, who already is giving back to his community. He comes to us through the First Alaskans Institute after completing his first year at Harvard University, where he is studying economics and psychology. He is the only Alaska Native student there and one of few Native Americans.

“I want to change this,” McIntire wrote in his application for a First Alaskans internship. “I want to learn more about how I can become a leader and role model in my community and make an impact.”

McIntire, who is Aleut and Yup’ik, was born and raised in Anchorage. He is part of a large Alaska family with a grandfather from St. Paul Island and a grandmother from the Kuskokwim River villages of Aniak and Napaimute.

First Alaskans Institute places interns around Alaska. They spend eight weeks with an employer and a week at either end with First Alaskans for leadership development and cultural activities. The program aims to increase hiring and retention of Alaska Native people as well as knowledge about Native history, culture and values.

Angela Cox, Rasmuson Foundation vice president for external affairs, said the internship is an opportunity not just for McIntire, but also for the Foundation. “This work of developing Alaska Native leaders is so important, and Brandon already is contributing here. We so value his voice, knowledge and insights,” she said.

He was an honor roll student at East Anchorage High School, from which he graduated summa cum laude in 2017. His senior year, he was head editor of the “East Legend” yearbook and vice president of Science Club. He played football, basketball and baseball. At Harvard, he is part of Native Americans at Harvard and the Sports Analytics Club, and is participating in club flag football and boxing.

He has served as a peer tutor for math camps run by Mu Alpha Theta, mentored an Alaska Native elementary student, volunteered at elementary school science days, science nights and reading carnivals, and helped restore Lions Club Park in Mountain View. In 2017 he received the Raven Award from Elitnaurvik Within East — or school within East — for his service to the Alaska Native high school community.

With the Foundation, McIntire hopes to learn more about working in a professional environment, the world of Alaska nonprofit organizations and the Foundation’s grantmaking. He also wants to further develop his connection to his culture.

During a week with First Alaskans Institute that kicked off the internship, he learned how to introduce himself in Aleut. Speakers talked to the interns about how to advocate for their people, and how to look for solutions rather than focus on what is broken.

As he sums it up, the message was: “These problems are fixable.”


About the Foundation
Rasmuson Foundation was created in May 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband “E.A.” Rasmuson. Through grantmaking and initiatives, the Foundation is a catalyst to promote a better life for all Alaskans.