UH Hilo students from South Pacific and Timor-Leste gain experience through DC internships

The students are studying at UH Hilo with scholarships from the U.S. Department of State.

Group gathers for photo at the base of statue at Lincoln Memorial.
At the Lincoln Memorial.

Eight students from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo are wrapping up six-week internships in Washington, DC, where they are gaining professional experience and expanding their understanding of American society. A ninth student in the cohort is from UH Mānoa. Each of the students hails from a Pacific island nation or Timor-Leste.

The students are pursuing degrees at UH under scholarships funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the East-West Center at UH Mānoa. The internships are being coordinated by the Osgood Center for International Studies.

“The USSP and USTL scholarships* hold a special place among the East-West Center’s educational offerings because of the unique island cultures that the participants come from,” says Mary Hammond, interim director of education at the East-West Center. “We’re pleased to have been able to offer these internships in Washington as part of the scholarships, which have given the students a wonderful opportunity to gain confidence and grow professionally, as well as to gain personal experience and insight into American life.”

Group gathers for photo in front of White House.
Student pose in front of the White House.

The nine students were each provided a six-week internship for a professional appointment in Washington, D.C., or surrounding area, in an agency that is engaged in work related to their major field of study and career interests. During the internships, the students are taking part in cultural enrichment activities to expand their understanding of American society. (See photo gallery.)

Conference room, large table, delegation sits around the table posing for photo.
The UH scholars sit at a table for a meeting at the State Department in DC. Click to enlarge.

The students and their internship sites are:

  • Nellie Kati (Papua New Guinea ), Political Science, UH Hilo. Internship: Osgood Center for International Studies.
  • Ada Hildegard Madleah Kettner (Vanuatu), Marine Science, UH Hilo. Internship: Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD).
  • Pelenatete Leilua (Sāmoa), Business Administration, UH Hilo. Internship: International Franchise Association (IFA).
  • Peter Psalm Ramofolo (Solomon Islands), Communication, UH Hilo. Internship: IFA.
  • Imelda Auxiliadora Da Conceicao Carlos (Timor-Leste), Geography, UH Hilo. Internship: IGSD.
  • Agostinho Maia (Timor-Leste), Business Administration, UH Hilo. Internship: U.S. Small Business Administration.
  • Helio Miguel Arcanjo Oliveira De Araujo (Timor-Leste), Communication, UH Hilo. Internship: Voice of America.
  • Teresinha Santos Da Costa (Timor-Leste), Communication, UH Hilo. Internship: Vital Voices.
  • Deveraux Kolosefilo Palemia Talagi (Niue), Economics, UH Mānoa. Internship: Osgood Center.

*About the USSP and USTL Scholarship programs

The U.S.–Timor-Leste (USTL) and U.S.–South Pacific (USSP) Scholarship Programs provide higher education opportunities for academically talented individuals from Timor-Leste and the independent South Pacific island countries of Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Scholarship recipients pursue bachelor’s or master’s degree study at the University of Hawai‘i in fields that are directly relevant to the development needs of their nations. These scholarship programs are also intended to provide participants opportunities to obtain a broader understanding of the United States. USTL and USSP aim to develop a corps of leaders who will contribute to political, economic, and social progress in their home countries, and help strengthen their nations’ understanding of and relations with the United States.

Fields of Study: Agricultural or environmental science, business, communications, economics, education, international relations, political science, psychology and sociology for Timor-Leste students, and the additional fields of study for South Pacific students of public administration; public health; science, technology, engineering and mathematics(STEM); NGO management; gender studies, and journalism.

-Adapted from East-West Center news release.