Most internships involve showing up in business casual or professional attire, but not for Odyssey Foods intern Janae Vieira. Once she arrives at the warehouse in Seattle’s industrial district, she takes off any jewelry and puts on a lab coat, hair net and rain boots. Vieira is the first Sealaska intern at Odyssey Foods, Sealaska’s seafood processing and packaging company in Seattle.
Vieira’s internship required her to observe the operation and settings of each processing line and translate the information onto a spreadsheet. The process is complex and while that may not seem too exciting, her assistance has improved the efficiency and productivity of Odyssey Foods.
Before a spreadsheet could be created, Vieira and her supervisor Jared Littlefield had to record all the various data for each item on the line such as belt speeds, auger speeds, batter viscosities and freezer times. “This task, in my opinion, is very important for our operation because before this collection of data, it was all based off a production employees’ memory.”
Vieira is approaching her second year at the University of Puget Sound where she is currently pursuing a degree in exercise science and plays midfielder for the school’s soccer team. While exercise science may not be related to her Odyssey job, Janae is eager to learn. “This being my first internship, I did not know what to expect. But now that I have gained the experience, I would say that not only is it a learning tool but another social network as well. I have had the opportunity to meet an abundant amount of new people not just on the work side, but personally too.”
Vieira applied for the internship to be able to work for a corporation that she also had cultural ties to. She had the chance to visit the land of her ancestors and the opportunity to listen to Tlingit elders and scholars David Katzeek and Paul Marks speak Tlingit during Sealaska’s intern development week in Juneau. She had never heard the language spoken before which made the experience so much more impacting. She also took notice of how much work needs to be done to revitalize the Alaskan Native culture.
“Overall, I am very glad that I had the opportunity to be a Sealaska intern. I feel much closer to Sealaska than I did before and definitely plan on seeking opportunities with the company in the future.”