Hawai‘i Space Science Interns to Present Projects

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Maunakea telescopes. Courtesy photo.

The Akamai Workforce Initiative’s Internship Program will hold its Student Internship Symposiums in Hilo and Waimea on Monday, Aug. 7.

The public is invited to attend the symposia, where Hawai‘i college interns will present their summer projects with a follow-up question-and-answer period.

The Hilo symposium will include Akamai student interns working at the Institute for Astronomy, Subaru Telescope, Gemini Observatory and Smithsonian Submillimeter Array. The Hilo event will run from 9 a.m. to noon at the Subaru Telescope Office at 650 North Aohoku Place.


The Waimea event will feature interns representing the Canada-France Telescope, W.M. Keck Observatory and Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority. The Waimea event will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the W.M. Keck Hualalai Learning Theatre at 65-1120 Māmalahoa Highway.

The events are open to the public, but an online RSVP is requested.

The Akamai Workforce Initiative is in its 15th year in providing college students with summer projects at observatories and other high-tech companies in Hawai‘i. The goal of the program is to advance Hawai‘i college students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce and increase underrepresented groups.


Twenty-nine interns participated in this year’s program.

Each student is matched with a mentor and is integrated as a member of the mentor’s group with daily guidance. Akamai mentors are prepared to provide an experience that will support their intern’s persistence in STEM, while they complete a real project valued by their host organization, through a unique mentor workshop offered in May. The careful attention to mentoring, the preparatory course and an ongoing communication course are all important elements of the program and have been key to the program’s success.

Since launching in 2003, more than 350 college students have participated in the Akamai program and at least 150 alumni are now working in science and technology jobs, with nearly two-thirds of them working in Hawai‘i and contributing to the local STEM workforce.


Akamai accepts college students from Hawai‘i (80% graduated from a Hawai‘i high school or were born in Hawai‘i), and a key objective is to increase the participation of underrepresented and underserved populations in STEM.

So far, the Akamai Workforce Initiative alumni demographics include 36% women, 25% Native Hawaiian, and 47% underrepresented minorities.

To learn more about the summer internship program, go to

The Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory has become Akamai’s cornerstone supporter and continues as the program’s largest funding source in 2017. This year, funding is also provided by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, National Solar Observatory, Hawaii STEM Learning Partnership at Hawaii Community Foundation (with support from multiple sources, including the THINK Fund and the Maunakea Fund) and the National Science Foundation. Akamai is managed by the Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators at University of California, Santa Cruz.

About TMT
The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Project has been developed as collaboration among Caltech, the University of California (UC), the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), and the national institutes of Japan, China, and India with the goal to design, develop, construct, and operate a thirty-meter class telescope and observatory on Mauna Kea in cooperation with the University of Hawai‘i (TMT Project). The TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO), a non-profit organization, was established in May 2014 to carry out the construction and operation phases of the TMT Project. The Members of TIO are Caltech, UC, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Department of Science and Technology of India, and the National Research Council (Canada); the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a TIO Associate. The Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation has provided major funding.

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