Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science (PIPES)

Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science

A large group of PIPES participants

Welina mai kākou!

The Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science (PIPES) is an undergraduate internship program housed within the Office of Research & Community Partnerships at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

Our Vision

PIPES offers programs that are designed to connect under-represented undergraduate students, especially those who are Native Hawaiian or kamaʻāina, to internship opportunities with agencies and organizations responsible for research, management, and education relating to environmental issues in Hawaiʻi and throughout the Pacific region. Our vision is to help create a diverse and representative workforce that embodies and integrates mālama ʻāina innovations into ways of knowing, relationships, actions, and professions.

Our Mission

Cultivate experiences and relationships that foster self-exploration and mentored learning by immersing students in the values and practices of mālama ʻāina.

View the 2022 PIPES Symposium

PIPES wins 2019 Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance Outstanding Leadership Award!

We were extremely humbled by this award and the alumni who presented us with lei and love at the 2019 Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference in July 2019. The lei created and presented were given as symbols of the program characteristics and this manaʻo is woven across our program:

  • Koaiʻa form symbolic relationships, they fix nitrogen, making nutrients available to support growth of other plant species. We can also think of them as ko’a iʻa. A place for fish (interns) to find refuge, to feed, and to grow.
  • ʻAʻaliʻi takes on any challenge and does not waiver, does not backdown. ʻAʻa and liʻi, they fostered our little roots, that have since grown deeper and deeper.
  • Kukui PIPES has served as a beacon for many of us, a bright spot on the horizon showing us the path forward to a better ‘āina and a better self. The program, like kukui has thrived in spaces where many others haven’t, growing that space and cultivating it to become abundant. This cultivation has occurred both within each intern personally as well as the many organizations and landscapes their reach has touched.
  • Lāʻī versatile and has many functions. This lei is symbolic of the versatility that PIPES has afforded its participants through the diverse experiences that we have gained. To hilo lāʻī is to make it stronger than any one leaf on its own, and is symbolic of our collective strength that is critical to our practice of aloha ‘āina.
  • Kupukupu is the first growth on a new landscape, creates fertility for new life.
  • Palaʻā/pāʻū o palaʻe has nurturing characteristics like a mama bear. Creating the gentle mat that welcomes the growth of others.
  • Pohinahina for the reflections of intern to mentor, mentor to intern.
  • Uala represents the nurturing that PIPES has provided to numerous cohorts of Hawaiian, kamaʻaiana and visiting students, rooting us in place, the growth spreads while the hua ripens.
  • Naupaka like us, spreading far and wide, resilient as it is preserved in the salt of our kūpuna.

Author: Natalie Kurashima

(Want to explore these words more deeply? is a great resource!)

PIPES staff receiving award. PC - Franz Schmutzer
PIPES staff receiving award. PC - F. Schmutzer
PIPES staff at the HCA awards ceremony PC - Franz Schmutzer
PIPES staff at the HCA awards ceremony. PC - F. Schmutzer