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UH Hilo environmental internships provide opportunities to explore science

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Date: Friday, July 22, 2005
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Thirty-seven undergraduate interns from across the state are participating in the University of Hawaii at Hilo Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science (PIPES) program. The PIPES program and its collaborating partners have been working since 1997 to increase the involvement of underrepresented minorities in science and conservation biology. A significant part of the program focuses on local interns, especially those of Native Hawaiian ancestry.

PIPES’ goal is to strengthen the state’s efforts in protecting and managing its natural resources by connecting researchers and partner agencies to young people as part of the overall effort to train the next generation of scientists.

This partnership program, administered by UH Hilo’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Collaborative Research (EPSCoR) program and the Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center (PACRC), includes several Pacific-wide internship programs: the University of Hawai`i Hawaiian Internship Program (UH-HIP); the NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program and the Research Experience for Teachers (RET); and the Micronesia and America Samoa Student Internship Program (MASSIP).

After a four-day orientation program in Hilo, which provides interns the opportunity to come together to learn about conservation issues in Hawai`i, conservation research methods through hands-on activities and keys for successful internships, participants reported to their respective sites to begin nine-week internships with host agency researchers, resource managers, and educators from the University, federal and state government and non-profit organizations. All interns write project proposals, work with their agencies on a directed project or program, complete a final project report and give a final presentation at the end of the summer. Most will also attend the Hawai`i Conservation Conference in late July in Honolulu.

PIPES partners and collaborating agencies include: UH Hilo EPSCoR; the UH Hilo Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center (PACRC); Kamehameha Schools; the U.S. Geological Survey’s Biological Resources Division Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center (PIERC); the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Institute of Pacific Island Forestry; the Nature Conservancy; Alu Like, Inc.; Hawai`i Chapter of the Wildlife Society; the Hawai`i Conservation Alliance and the many agencies who host interns each summer.

For more information about the programs, call Carmen Perez-Frayne or Sharon Ziegler-Chong at (808) 933-0706.

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