Current SDI Interns
We are fortunate to be able to offer a variety of internships and programs that let the minds and hearts of the next generation make their mark. Below, you'll find profiles for our summer interns.
- Survey of Edible Plants Internships
- Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center Internships
- Indigenous Agriculture Internships & Research Participants
- Geoscience & Sustainability Leadership Cohort
- Cultural Professional Development Internships
- Additional Interns
Lorenzo Warrington is a 25 year old who is working on the Survey of Edible Plants Project for the Sustainable Development Institute at the College of Menominee Nation. He graduated with his Associates in Liberal Studies and Social Science in 2021 and is now pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Business and Administration. He is currently employed as an administrative assistant at Vocational Rehabilitation. Lorenzo hopes to bring renewable energy infrastructure to the Menominee Reservation as well as share his knowledge of edible plants with the Menominee Community to promote food sovereignty and traditional gathering.
Christina Petrakis works at the Sustainable Development Building as a Phenology Edible Plant Intern. She is an Enrolled Menominee and resides in Shawano County. Christina graduated with an Associates degree in Public Administration at the College of Menominee Nation May 21, 2022. She will be returning to the College Of Menominee Nation to pursue her Bachelor's degree in Public Administration in the Fall. Christina’s career path is forever changing as she obtains new educational experiences. Her hope is to one day give back to the community and create change and contribute to causes that matter. Christina’s passion is to help others with the hope to impact the lives of many. This Phenology Edible Plant Internship is the start of that journey as she is obtaining edible plant information for the community and college. This internship will hopefully provide assurance to our community that there are natural resources for our future generations to maintain food security. Getting the community involved will demonstrate the importance of the schools commitment to environmental sustainability.
Matthew Schwitzer is a senior at Columbia University in New York City studying Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies. This summer, he is working with the Menominee Tribal Department of Agriculture and Food Systems and Menīkānaehkem through the Midwest CASC. Matthew currently serves as the Deputy Production Assistant for Podcasts for the Columbia Spectator, editing such podcasts as “The Ear,” “Pod-Tone 292,” and “Lizzie and Jorge at Home.” Matthew also has accomplished such feats as making Columbia’s Dean’s List three times, being a John Jay Scholar, having an article on the Brazilian President Bolsonaro’s war on Indigenous rights published for Columbia’s Undergraduate Law Review Journal, and receiving an Honorable Mention for the 2022 Udall Scholar program. Matthew was previously a Visualizing Forest Futures Intern for SDI and Penn State (2019) as well as a member of the Sustainability Leadership Cohort (2016 Cohort and 2017 Cohort).
Makena Arndt recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point with a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Ecology and Management with a minor in Biology. Makena’s interest in climate change includes how climate change is affecting wildlife populations and their habitats directly. Her future plans are to work in the conservation field to gain experience and then later continue her education.
- Brandon Boyd (Lead Intern)
- Dolly Potts, Elder-in-Residence
- Sasan Shawanokasic
- Allison Bailey
- Jeff Vele Jr
- Jocquin Boyd
Brandon Boyd is an enrolled Menominee and has lived on or near the reservation his whole life. Brandon is a College of Menominee Nation 2020 graduate in Natural Resources and is a continuing student in CMN’s new Sustainable Agricultural program. Brandon was previously the captain of the CMN Knowledge bowl team for two years in a row where he led his team to victory, taking first place both years. He has also previously served as the secretary for the student council for a year. This is Brandon’s third year working on the Sustainable Development Institute’s Indigenous Agricultural research program and his second year being the Lead Intern.
Dolly Potts is an enrolled Prairie Band Potawatomi from Kansas. She has lived on the Menominee Reservation for sixteen years. Dolly has a Bachelor Arts degree in First Nation Studies from UWGB (University of Wisconsin Green Bay) 2020 and her Associates degree from CMN (College of Menominee Nation) in 2018. She has returned to SDI as a Community Elder sharing traditional approaches to learning. Dolly’s greatest interest in SDI is in bringing Traditional teaching into the Sustainability and Diversity aspect of sharing Indigenous culture. Her hope is that these teachings become a part of the Sustainable Development Institute in the future.
Sasanehseah (Sasan) Shawanokasic is a returning intern to SDI’s Indigenous Agricultural Research team. She has previously worked with the agricultural team last year with Brandon and Dulce. Sasan decided to come back because this internship helped her to expand her knowledge on the subject and she had such a great time last year. Sasan is an enrolled member of the Menominee Tribe and is currently studying biology at Dominican University with the dream of becoming a pathologist.
Allison Bailey is a 31-years-old mother who has a 4-year-old son named Xaiden Waukau. She’s working for the Sustainable Development Institute and learning about agriculture. Allison loves nature and enjoys being outdoors. She loves Mother Earth and strives to do all she can to take care of her. Allison enjoys taking care of her son and showing and teaching him new things in the best way that she can. Allison’s goals are to learn more about agriculture and her hobbies include reading and coloring.
Jeffery Vele Jr. is an enrolled member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans Community. He just finished his first year at the College of Menominee Nation, double majoring in Business Administration and Sustainable Agriculture. Jeff lives on his reservation with his dog, Kilo. Jeff enjoys being outdoors, gardening, swimming, fishing, cooking, and walking in the woods.
Jocquin Boyd is a member of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin. His internship is a part of the Agricultural research team with SDI. Jocquin is excited to learn more of the ancestral gardening found throughout the reservation and Menominee lands. He is currently a junior at Shawano Community High School and has lived in the Shawano/Keshena area all his life. After high school he plans to continue on to College of Menominee Nation in the Electrical program. Jocquin likes playing football, gaming, drawing, and fictional writing.
Caitlyn Katchenago graduated from Shawano Community High School in May 2022. This will be her first year as an intern for the Sustainability Leadership Cohort, but it will be her fifth year being involved with the program. Caitlyn is enrolled in the Menominee Nation, and she is also a descendant of the Ottawa tribe. She will be going to Colorado State University in the Fall of 2022. She will be earning her bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources, along with minoring in Art. Caitlyn has a love for nature and she hopes to have a career that involves the environment. During her free time, she likes to draw, paint, sing, and act.
This is Rylee Maulson’s first year as an intern for the SDI’s Sustainable Leadership Cohort. She just graduated from Shawano Community High School this May. She is an enrolled member of the Menominee Tribe. She will be furthering her education at UW Oshkosh where she hopes to earn her bachelor’s degree in education and psychology. She then later plans on transferring to Michigan to then earn her master’s and PhD as well in education and psychology, in hopes to one day become a college professor for psychology. Rylee enjoys being outdoors and interacting with nature. She is a hands-on learner and likes to learn new things, and she also enjoys reading and watching TV in her free time. She hopes to learn some teaching skills from being an intern this year, allowing her to have experience for her profession.
My name is Mark Lyons, I am a mentor in the SLC geoscience internship. I am from the Menominee Indian Reservation, I also teach at Menominee Tribal School full time during the school year, I teach K-5th grade. I have two daughters. Avy’ana Dess and Avayda Lyons, who I love to spend time with and talk Menominee with.
Claude Sanapaw is an enrolled member of The Menominee Nation and has also grown up on the reservation. He graduated from Chemawa Indian Boarding school located in Oregon. Claude enjoys time with his family of three and friends across the country. Today, Claude continues his education as a full-time student at the College of Menominee Nation, pursuing a degree in business administration. Claude also made the Dean’s list for the first time this semester. This is Claude’s first year working for the Geoscience internship with the interest of trying and learning new things this summer. In this Internship, Claude has been able to work with staff and students to understand more about local geosciences as well as offer a helping hand to anyone who needs one.
Cedar Fernandez is a member of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and is also of Mexican and European descent. She is currently the Cultural Professional Development Intern- International at the College of Menominee Nation Sustainable Development Institute. Throughout high school they were a part of the Menikanaehkem-Community Rebuilders youth cohort, where she gained many cultural learning experiences. After high school, she worked as the Librarian Assistant at College of Menominee Nation, where she continues to host D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) Cedar. Working with the library had motivated her to take classes at CMN in 2022. Throughout time, Cedar has gained experiences with travel, intercultural learning and interactions, social justice, activism, Menominee cultural practices, and the visual and musical arts. In her free time, Cedar enjoys spending time with loved ones, hanging out in the woods and by water, traveling, dancing, playing music, and eating.
Courtney Behrendt is a returning student here at the College of Menominee Nation. She graduated in the Spring of 2016 with her associate degree in Liberal Studies. Courtney is currently enrolled in the Substance Abuse/AODA Program and will graduate in Spring 2023. After graduation, she plans on continuing her education and getting her master's degree in mental health counseling. This is Courtney's second year as an intern at the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI). One of her main projects this summer has been working on the last few months is developing a Three Sisters Garden, which includes corn, beans, and squash, which she planted at the Green Bay Campus.
Jeremiah Moses Jr. (TJ) graduated from high school in 2020. He is proud to be a descendant of the Menominee Nation as well as the Oneida and Stockbridge-Munsee Nations. He is currently pursuing an associate degree in liberal studies at CMN and intends to transfer for his four year degree. One of his goals after college is to become fluent in the Menominee language.
He is interning at the SDI as the Menominee Cultural Professional Development Intern. During his free time, Jeremiah enjoys studying languages, playing music, spending time with his parents, younger brothers, and friends, and exploring the woods of the Menominee Reservation.
Posoh Netaenawemakanak, Tanam eneq aeswihseyan.
Hello, all my relatives, Tanam (She has Something) is my name.
My English name is Melissa Wescott. I am an enrolled member of the Menominee Nation. My 5 children, fiancé, our family dog, and I all reside in Keshena, Wisconsin. I was born and raised in a Traditional manner in Keshena. I am 35 years old. I currently go to our community College at the College of the Menominee Nation. I am currently seeking my Substance and Alcohol Abuse degree as I see a high need for this in not only my community, but within many others as well. I would like to help those in my community who need my help and support. I would also like to offer traditional services for those who may be trying to find their way back to their original roots. I believe the gift I was given is to help others and that’s exactly what I plan to do. It brings me joy and satisfaction knowing I am doing good in helping others. I plan to obtain my current degree, then continue my educational journey. I would like to get my master’s in Psychology and in social work.