Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science (PIPES)

Incoming Interns (Eligibility)

Our summer program will run from May 30th to August 4th, 2023. Program activities and internships will be held on Hawaiʻi Island only.

Participants without current housing on Hawaiʻi Island, or housing via family or friends on Hawaiʻi Island will be assisted with housing arrangements. Approximate housing costs are $1,300/summer. Costs for housing may be covered by the program.

What the program looks like

PIPES is a 10-week internship program focusing on fields of conservation research, natural resource management and environmental education. Interns work with mentors across various entities including those from the university, Federal, State, and Counties agencies, as well as non-profit organizations.

During the 10-week internship program, interns are expected to:

  • Participate in a 4-day orientation
  • Work full-time (40 hours/week) throughout the duration of the internship with the designated host organization
  • Attend Friday Huakaʻi (field trips) throughout Hawaiʻi Island
  • Submit regular progress reports to PIPES Office
  • Attend the Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference (host organization and/or PIPES program to cover all costs)
  • Complete a final paper
  • Participate in the end of summer symposium

To qualify for PIPES you must be

  • An undergraduate student (Note: For REU program eligibility, students must be enrolled in the Fall semester after the internship);
  • A U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident;
  • Be in good academic standing (have at minimum an overall GPA of 2.0); and
  • Interested in pursuing a career related to conservation research, natural resource management, or environmental education

The following students are strongly encouraged to apply:

  • First generation college students (neither parent has a bachelor's degree)
  • Students of Hawaiian or Pacific Islander ancestry
  • Students from Micronesia and American Samoa
  • Kamaʻāina students who have graduated from a high school in Hawaiʻi
  • Students with demonstrated interest in working collaboratively with communities
  • Students with a strong connection to place and interest in giving back to that place
  • Students with minimal research experience, attending a school with limited research opportunities
  • Students attending a two-year college who plan to attend a four-year institution following the internship

Kaʻao Framework

In 2012, the University of Hawaiʻi committed to transforming its ten-campus system into a leading indigenous-serving institution of higher education to address the higher education needs of our indigenous Hawaiʻi. This strategic imperative is named Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao (Hawaiʻi foundation of enlightenment) honoring Hawaiʻi’s cosmogonic origins.

Hawaii Papa O Ke Ao comprises three thematic goals: 1) leadership development, 2) community engagement and 3) Hawaiian language and culture parity. In consortium, the ten University of Hawaiʻi campuses position Kaʻao (Hawaiʻi’s traditional myth culture) as a transformative framework to strategically advance the objectives of Hawaiʻi Papa o Ke Ao.

The ka’ao framework articulates the transformative process found in traditional stories of Hawai’i. It identifies 4 iterative stages (hua, ha’alele, huaka’i, ho’ina) that encompass an individual's journey. We utilize this framework to guide interns throughout their internship and cohort experience to transform their understanding of academic, career, and life pathways.

Interns benefit by

  • Gaining employment, research experience & skills related to natural resource management and/or tropical conservation science;
  • Making contacts in Hawaiʻi's conservation field as well as interacting with many other environmental sectors;
  • Working with a host mentor on a specific project related to tropical conservation science, environmental education, and/or resource management;
  • Understanding how their internship experience and studies relate to local needs and identifying potential careers;
  • Developing strong and long-lasting networks of professional contacts for future career searches, through university mentors, agency partners and fellow cohort members;
  • Exposure to the broad range of career pathways avaialble to students interested in aloha ʻāina careers
  • In some cases, earning academic credit for their internship experience and final report

Note: Students who have graduated within six months of the program start date may also apply. Preference will be given to candidates who plan to pursue a career in Hawaiʻi and who have a strong dedication to Hawaiʻi culture and environment.