Most of the Arctic, like most of the world, is commonly owned. With ownership comes the obligation to manage our resources for the benefit of the total. To do that, we must understand the reality, the richness, and the responsibility of the North.

– Governor Walter J. Hickel, Founder

Opportunities for University Students

Capstone Projects

Gain valuable experience applying academic research to real-­world issues. Work with the Institute of the North’s leadership team to develop a capstone project that aligns with Institute activities and connects your research to the local community. The Capstone project should align with an accredited university calendar. The position may include a monthly stipend. An extension of the opportunity may be considered at the conclusion of the Capstone project.

According to  Sophie Wiepking-Brown who interned at the Institute both in 2011 and 2012:
"Interning at the Institute of the North gave me the opportunity to do something real--to see a project I helped develop take shape and be implemented. When I began work on We the People of Alaska last summer at the Institute, I could not have guessed that I'd be back the next summer and that it would have already piloted in a few schools. But being an intern wasn't just about doing; it was also about researching, seeing, and meeting. I learned more about Alaska in one summer than I did in 18 years of living here."

Stell Cao, who spent the summer of 2012 at the Institute of the North, had this to say:
"As a university fellow for the Institute of the North, I immersed myself in Arctic energy news to understand Alaska's resource development in comparison to the Arctic nations. Tasked to write case studies on energy projects, I gained insight into sustainable practices and their impact to communities. The Institute of the North has instilled in me the value of education and communication to engage citizens on sustainable resource development in Alaska."

Subjects of particular interest to the Institute of the North include:
THE ARCTIC: raising awareness and competency around challenges and opportunities that stem from Alaska’s strategic location
ENERGY: promoting responsible resource development (renewable and extractive), meeting community energy needs and public policy
INFRASTRUCTURE: approaching infrastructure development on a regional level with sharing of best practices, new policy approaches and emerging technologies between Arctic nations.
THE COMMONS: examining key state and federal legislation and policy that impacts access to our commons as well as providing Alaskans opportunities to engage with the realities and responsibilities that are inherent with common ownership

Potential projects might include (but are not limited to!):
Civic Engagement

  • Participating in ANSCA curriculum development
  • Writing briefing papers on Alaska’s key laws

Engineering and Science Management

  • Identifying human and natural systems measurements that interface local knowledge and academic research
  • Conducting assessment of remote, renewable and extractive Arctic energy
  • Preparing case studies of successful energy projects throughout the Arctic
  • Conducting an assessment of emerging aviation technology applicable in northern locations


  • Gathering marine port data points for capacity assessment
  • Researching and/or mapping intermodal transportation capacity and communications

Journalism and Public Communications

  • Conducting situational analysis for national marketing/journalism campaign including a knowledge and opinion survey
  • Developing an outreach campaign to promote engagement around the responsibilities Alaskans have to one another, their communities and the state

Project Management

  • Managing the logistics of the Arctic Energy Network
  • Developing agendas and curriculum for “Arctic 101” programs/events

Public Policy

  • Writing issue briefs on Arctic challenges and opportunities (such as energy or transportation) targeted at specific audiences—community, state, regional, national, international
  • Inventorying sub-­national policies and practices for economic development
  • Developing a brief regarding the telecommunications in the Arctic—addressing both daily
  • communications and in the case of catastrophes


The Capstone Program looks for Alaskan college students who:

  • Are deeply interested in Alaskan public policy issues
  • Demonstrate a willingness to work hard and learn
  • Have strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Have excellent time-management skills and the ability to work independently
  • Are flexible and self-­motivated

For more information contact Nils Andreassen, Managing Director at or (907) 786-6324.