Applicants sought for Akamai Summer Internship Program

  • Courtesy photo

    TMT mentors Amir Sadjadpour, Hiroshi Terada, Magnolia Ycasas, 2014 Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama graduate Keoki Massad, 2016 Waiakea High School valedictorian Olivia Murray, 2017 Kihei Charter High School graduate Erica Sawczynec, TMT mentor John Miles and Warren Skidmore, TMT scientist, pose for this photo at the TMT Project Office in Pasadena, Calif.

The Akamai Workforce Initiative, a program that seeks to develop a skilled STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workforce to meet the needs of Hawaii’s growing high-tech industry, is now seeking applications for the Akamai Summer Internship Program.

The summer internship program offers college students from Hawaii an opportunity to gain work experience at an observatory, company or scientific/technical facility on Hawaii Island and Maui throughout an eight-week program from June 16-Aug. 16.


The Akamai internship program is one of the main components of the Thirty Meter Telescope’s Workforce Pipeline Program whose primary objective is to train Hawaii Island residents to be ready for the high-paying, high-tech jobs of the 21st century economy.

TMT is the primary funder, with $320,000 committed for the 2019 summer program. TMT also provides staff in Hilo and Pasadena, Calif., to mentor interns. TMT has supported the Akamai program since 2009 and contributed a total of nearly $1 million toward developing a skilled Hawaii STEM workforce.

The Hawaii Community Foundation Career Connected Learning program, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on Maui also provide financial support to the program. Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and the University of Hawaii at Hilo also provide in-kind support.

The Akamai Workforce Initiative premise is that Hawaii’s STEM workforce needs are attainable through a modest increase in retaining STEM undergraduates and broadening participation to include more Native Hawaiians, women and other underrepresented groups in STEM.

Upon acceptance into the program, interns are carefully matched with a project and a mentor who supervises them throughout the project and integrates them into the work environment. All Akamai interns complete a one-week intensive residency preparatory course in Hilo, during which they gain the skills needed to be successful in the workplace and meet other interns, Akamai staff and mentors.

Throughout the program the interns are coached on communication skills. They also do a presentation about their project at the end of the summer during a public symposium. Interns receive credit from University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Interns are paid a $3,200 stipend and provided with housing, if needed, and travel to and from their home island to an internship site. Interns complete projects with a mentor at a company or observatory on Maui, Hawaii Island or with the TMT International Observatory at its headquarters in Pasadena or with one of TMT’s instrument teams.

Interns in recent years have been placed at many Hawaii Island firms including Akabotics, Big Island Abalone, CFHT, Cellana, Hawaii Electric Light Co., Gemini North Observatory, Liquid Robotics, Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority, Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, Smithsonian Submillimeter Array, Academia Sinica Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Subaru Telescope, University of Hawaii at Hilo, University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy and W. M. Keck Observatory.

Since launching in 2002, nearly 400 college students have participated in the Akamai program and at least 140 alumni are now working in science and technology jobs, with nearly two-thirds of them working in Hawaii and contributing to the local STEM workforce.

To learn more about the internship program, visit


Applications are due Feb. 14, and are available at

The Akamai Workforce Initiative is part of the Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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