Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Sciences (PIPES)

University of Hawaiʻi-Hawaiian Internship Program (UH-HIP) Mentoring

How to Request a UH-HIP Intern

To officially request an intern, see information and link here.

Linnea Heu (lheu@hawaii.edu)
Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science (PIPES)
200 W. Kawili St., Hilo, HI 96720
Fax: (808) 932-7940

If you have any questions, please contact us at (808) 932-7984

What is the history of UH-HIP?

UH-HIP began in 1997 as a collaborative effort of UH Hilo, UH Sea Grant Extension Service, and the Hawaiian Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Program and associated host agencies. USGS Biological Resources Discipline, the USDA Forest Service Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry (IPIF), the then Secretariat for Conservation Biology (now Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) of Hawaiʻi joined in the effort in 1998. In 2003, UH-HIP assumed its current home at the Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center (PACRC) at UH Hilo and continues to work with many collaborators each year to implement the program. Since its beginning in 1997, the program has been successful in connecting 89 undergraduate participants with 120 first and second time internships.

What is the vision of the UH-HIP Program?

The UH-HIP program is designed to connect kamaʻāina undergraduate students, especially those of Native Hawaiian ancestry, to internship opportunities with agencies and organizations responsible for research, management, and education relating to environmental issues in Hawaiʻi. Our vision is that after an experience with the UH-HIP program, more Native Hawaiian and local students will enter into fields of study and ultimately careers related to the natural resources of this state and region.

How does UH-HIP work?

This program involves matching qualified intern applicants interested in the conservation of natural resources to appropriate summer internship opportunities with host agencies and organizations in Hawaiʻi. All UH-HIP internships are full-time, paid summer opportunities that run for ten weeks. Prior to recruiting interns, host agencies work with UH-HIP to design project-based internship experiences for an intern that will assist their offices with their on-going efforts and programs and will include specific components for which the intern is responsible for completing over the term of the internship.

The program contains several structured components to assist and guide the intern during his/her internship experience to ensure that both the intern and host agency benefit from the experience. Prior to the internship, the intern works with the host agency mentor to write a project proposal so that an intern begins the internship experience with a base knowledge of the project and the mentor’s expectations. A four-day orientation in Hilo (off-island interns will be flown in) occurs just before the interns start their internships, and includes sessions on expectations, research and surveying techniques, problem solving, professional ethics, project documentation, health and safety considerations, and internship strategies. Throughout the internship, interns are responsible for submitting biweekly reports to UH-HIP on their work and participate in meetings with the other interns to discuss their activities and experiences. At the end of the internships, interns are required to complete a final report and give a presentation at an intern symposium. In addition, in the fall semester the UH-HIP Office works with the students and their university/college academic advisors to arrange for credit, where possible, for their internship experiences.

What are some examples of past intern projects?

Some past examples are:

  • The viability of Miconia calvescens seed banks in Hawaiʻi
  • Evaluating density and distribution of Christmasberry at Manukā Natural Area Reserve
  • Studying the effects of mangroves on management and restoration of Hawaiian fishponds
  • Mapping of invasive species on Kamehameha parcels included in the Olaʻa Kīlauea Partnership Program
  • Researching Hawaiian legends and cultural history of Hanauma Bay and the vicinity
  • Resource mapping in the Waipā Ahupuaʻa on Kauaʻi.

What are the host agency requirements?

Host agencies will be expected to work with the PIPES Office to:

  • Identify a project and assist the student intern with the development of a project proposal
  • Hire the student for the summer for 10-weeks at a suggested rate of $11/hour (Alternative arrangements may be possible if you are unable to provide financial support. For funding assistance, contact the PIPES Office as soon as possible.)
  • Incorporate the intern into regular office activities during the summer internship
  • Mentor and guide the intern’s progress on the project and participation in office activities
  • Facilitate the intern’s participation in UH-HIP meetings and the Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference
  • Provide support necessary for completion of the project, such as travel, equipment, and supplies.

What is the process for selecting UH-HIP interns?

  1. Applicants apply to the UH-HIP program
  2. Program Coordinators review applicants for program eligibility
  3. Program Coordinators & Selection Committee interview eligible applicants
    Interview serves the following purposes:
    1. Determines if candidates qualify for program & available projects
    2. Helps to identify applicants strengths: skills, abilities & interests, as well as the kind of experience they would like to gain during the summer
  4. Program Coordinators recommend applicants to Host Agencies & Mentors
  5. Project mentors review candidates for their project. Then, inform the Program Coordinators who they would like to interview or who would work for the project based on their application packet (mentors do not need to interview applicants, but can if they would like)
  6. Program Coordinators work with Project Mentors to finalize the intern placement.
    1. Note: Since the HIP program’s goal is to place all qualified applicants with the best suited projects, in some cases Mentors will not get their preferred applicant. Please let Program Coordinators know if for some reason an applicant will not work for your project’s needs.

What is the hiring process for a UH-HIP intern?

If the agency plans to directly hire an intern the mentor/host agency must do the following:

  • UH-HIP will need to be informed of your agency’s hiring protocol & regulations for temporary hires
  • The intern’s mentor will have to sit and discuss the timeframe for the first pay check (in the past we have had a lack of clarity regarding when the first pay check would be available for interns)

UH-HIP will hire the intern for the host agency provided the following is understood:

  • The host agency must give UH-HIP the funds to hire the intern at full-time status (minimum pay is $11/hour) for the duration of the internship (10 weeks preferred), plus an additional 20% for University overhead costs.
  • UH-HIP will need the funds at least two months prior to the intern’s hire
  • The intern will be a volunteer for the host agency and actually be hired by the University to work on the agencies project—meaning the host agency is responsible for taking the student on as a volunteer.Page content