How Alaska’s internships show students they can be whoever they want to be

Summer 2019 interns at a picnic where they met Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden. (Photo by Tina Hong-Sandmel)

During her junior year of high school, Kamia Bradley had the fleeting thought of becoming an airline pilot. She didn’t know where to start but thought it seemed like a cool job.

Growing up in Denver, sometimes with no heat or having to sleep on the floor, it was tough to see a better horizon. Until one day, through a leadership program at her high school, Bradley had her first flying experience in the seat of a helicopter. The pilot flew over her neighborhood, a place she describes as uninviting and neglected but something changed when she was up there.

“Seeing my home from above, and how it connected to the rest of the city and beautiful scenery, gave me a new perspective of the world,” Bradley said. “Being up there made me feel like I could do anything.”

Kamia Bradley with Alaska Airlines First Officer Kim Ford. (Photo courtesy of Kamia Bradley)

Bradley learned about a local flight program and the Amelia Earhart Foundation, which, with her hard work, helped her obtain her private pilot’s license. Bradley is now a senior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, where she studies aeronautical science and recently spent her summer in Seattle as a flight operations intern at Alaska Airlines.

Before interning at Alaska, Bradley discovered Alaska’s pledge to increase our African American female pilots by 2025 and support the path to inspire more young women to become pilots.

Alaska Airlines Base Chief Pilot Ronald Limes and Flight Operations intern Kamia Bradley. (Photo courtesy of Kamia Bradley)

“I thought it was pretty awesome that a company was looking for people just like me,” Bradley said.

Interns at Alaska join teams throughout different departments such as Maintenance and Engineering, Marketing and so on. Interns work on visible projects that impact our guests and business. Beyond hands-on experience, interns also get the opportunity to network with employees and company leaders. Learn more about our internship opportunities. The application window for 2020 internships opens Friday, Oct. 11.

This summer, 34 college interns were hired at Alaska and Horizon Air to work in Portland and Seattle.

“We’re committed to developing future leaders in aviation and beyond. Our internship program is a great way we get to connect with young people from all backgrounds and look forward to offering them a firsthand experience in the aerospace world. We look forward to adding fresh thinking, big ideas and eagerness to learn to our Alaska family,” said Andy Schneider, Alaska Airlines senior vice president of people.

During Bradley’s internship, she spent time with Captain Tara Wright, who made history alongside three other female pilots who were part of Alaska’s first all-female, African American pilot crew.

Over the summer, Bradley flew on a flight piloted by Wright from Los Angeles to Seattle and met up afterward for dinner.

Alaska Flight Operations intern Kamia Bradley with her mentor, Captain Tara Wright, at Alaska Airlines. (Photo courtesy of Kamia Bradley)

“That was the first time seeing a black woman fly other than myself,” said Bradley. “It was one of the best experiences ever.”

In addition to creating meaningful connections this summer, Bradley visited 17 destinations where we fly, spanning from Bristol Bay, Alaska to Washington D.C.

Interns are able to fly unlimited using standby travel on Alaska Airlines during their internship. That means many weekends are filled with jet setting across the country.

Lauren Hardwood, an Alaska Airlines summer 2019 technology training intern and University of Washington student, says her favorite trip was traveling with her sister to San Francisco.

Lauren Hardwood, Alaska Airlines summer 2019 technology training intern at the end of her internship on presentation day with her mentor Quinton Rosencrans, loyalty analyst at Alaska Airlines. (Photo by Tina Hong-Sandmel)

“We just went for a day, and it was super fun just to fly in,” she said. “We walked around, and went to Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, biked up to the Golden Gate Bridge, had a picnic at Painted Ladies and then took a flight home that night.”

While in her internship, Hardwood planned and coordinated technology classes and events like a Microsoft 365 training for all Alaska employees and a women in technology event.

Harwood says it was a great learning experience.

“There’s so much that goes into a flight from start to finish, and you don’t really realize that until you’re here,” she said. “Every day you learn something new.”

Apply for a summer 2020 internship:
  • Paid college internships are open to undergraduate students with an expected graduation date between December 2020 and June 2021
  • Internships are 12 weeks in Seattle or Portland, Oregon; interns work full time (40 hours/week) and start their internship between late May and mid-June
  • The application window for summer 2020 internships is open Oct. 11 through Oct. 21 at alaskaair.jobs
  • Check out alaskaair.jobs for current opportunities at Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air.
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