Brett Kirk grew up in the small village of Noatak, where he showed signs of leadership and an interest in giving back to his community at an early age. In 2011, Brett figured out how to channel his drive for making a difference and enrolled at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in pursuit of a dual degree in civil engineering and rural development. Brett is now on the fast track to graduation with plenty of work experience under his belt due to several internship opportunities through ANSEP.
“I want to be an engineer so I can ultimately help with the infrastructure, safety and efficiency of operable airports in rural communities,” Brett said. “ANSEP has given me the opportunity and encouragement to apply for several internships that have helped me gain knowledge in this area as well as the tools needed to be successful within them.”
Brett’s ANSEP journey began in 2012, when he participated in his first University Success internship at North Pole Quality Construction. Over the next three years, Brett expanded his career experience through a variety of internships, including a highway design engineering internship with WHPacific Inc., an engineering internship with NANA WorleyParsons, an aviation engineering internship with the State of Alaska Department of Transportation as well as a drill blast engineering internship with Teck Alaska Incorporated at the Red Dog Mine.
Not only is Brett an advocate for the professional opportunities ANSEP offers but also for the support system the program creates for other budding professionals. That’s why he continues to give back and recently gave a presentation to his peers about his work at the Red Dog Mine.
“I care about my ANSEP peers. We are all really close and like family,” Brett said. “I presented them with my experience at the Red Dog Mine because I wanted my friends to know about the opportunities that exist for them. There is never any tension or competition among ANSEP students. We all help each other out, and I wanted to play my part.”
What’s up next for Brett? Right now, he says he’s looking forward to graduation and going straight into the workforce as an engineer in rural Alaska.