Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science (PIPES)

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The PIPES Internship Experience

Our Moʻo ʻĀina Program Framework implores PIPES to elevate the baseline for work experiences in conservation projects in Hawaiʻi specifically by emphasizing the importance of relationship building for community and natural resource well-being. Regardless of the program interns are placed in/have applied for, the cohort experience as a whole is equally immersive and engaging. While the 10-week paid aloha ʻāina work is rigorous, PIPES provides multiple opportunities for interns, staff and community members to gather in fellowship with each other, ultimately building deeper connections with one another. As interns go through their day-to-day internship, they also engage as a cohort in weekly capacity building workshops and huakaʻi to special places on Hawaiʻi Island for service learning and connection building.

Our Programs

The three programs described below are collectively held under the umbrella of, and called, the Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science (PIPES). Since it started, PIPES has provided over 900 meaningful undergraduate internships at more than 150 agencies and organizations across Hawaiʻi and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands. All three programs focus on providing hands-on professional experience for undergraduates in the fields of conservation research, natural resource management and environmental education. These fields range broadly from applied research to community engagement. All internships are paid experiences.

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program, developed in 2004, is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded internship program. Each summer, 10 student interns participate in a 4-day orientation and a 10-week research focused internship experience focused on tropical ecology, evolution, climate change and natural resources management. Interns work on mentored research projects with university and local agency researchers. The focus of this program is to give those students who have limited or no research background the opportunity to gain invaluable experience in the exciting field of conservation biology. The program goal is to connect under-represented undergraduates, especially kamaʻāina (born and raised in Hawaiʻi) and those of Native Hawaiian ancestry, to internship opportunities to explore the scientific research process and to explore career and graduate school opportunities for the future.

University of Hawaiʻi Hawaiian Internship Program (UH-HIP)

The University of Hawaiʻi Hawaiian Internship Program (UH-HIP) was developed in 1997 in response to the observed lack of local representation within Hawaiʻi's conservation workforce, in particular a lack of Native Hawaiians. The program goal is to connect undergraduates who are kamaʻāina, especially those of Native Hawaiian ancestry, to internship opportunities with organizations responsible for research, management and education relating to environmental issues in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific region. Our vision is that more Native Hawaiian and local students will enter into fields of study and ultimately careers related to the natural resources across the Pacific. Through UH-HIP, interns work with host mentor organizations for the duration of the summer program, supported by funding from partners such as Kamehameha Schools, the Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation, and many other collaborators.

Micronesia and American Samoa Student Internship Program (MASSIP)

In 1994 the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo worked with partners to develop a summer internship program for undergraduates from the U.S.-affiliated Pacific islands. The goal of the program was to encourage more Pacific island students to explore environmentally related careers through this internship opportunity. The program was developed to address a growing concern in the region regarding the limited number of students from Pacific islands entering into environmental fields and returning to their home islands to pursue related positions. Students from U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands work on project-based internship mentored by agency researchers and host organizations who are connecte to the Pacific. MASSIP opportunities vary each summer. Please contact program staff for more information on current projects.