Maui News

14 Students Named To High Tech Internships on Maui

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The Akamai Workforce Initiative, a local program dedicated to advancing Hawai‘i college students into science and technology careers, has announced the latest class of students for its 2016 summer internship program.

With lead funding from the Thirty Meter Telescope, the Akamai Internship Program provides community college students and undergraduates with summer projects at observatories and other high tech companies in Hawaiʻi.

This year’s internship placements on Maui include:

Maveric Abella – Hnu Photonics, Maui
Jaren Ashcraft – Institute for Astronomy, Maui
Gregory Balinbin – Integrity Applications Incorporated, Maui
Joey Hashimoto – Institute for Astronomy, Maui
Alexander Hedglen – Air Force Research Laboratory, Maui
Zachary Ifo – Air Force Research Laboratory, Maui
Christopher Kim – Akimeka LLC, Maui
Kari Noe – Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, Maui
Brialyn Onodera – Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, Maui
Keanu Paikai – Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, Maui
Pauleen Pante – Akimeka LLC, Maui
Christine Joy Rioca – Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, Maui
Derrick Torricer – Maui High Performance Computing Center, Maui
Kyle Yoshida – Hnu Photonics, Maui

Internship placements on Hawaiʻi Island include the following:


Dutch Akana – University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Hawai‘i Island
Daryl Albano – Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope, Hawai‘i Island
Christiana Bisquera – Subaru Telescope, Hawai‘i Island
Katelyn Chagami – W.M. Keck Observatory, Hawai‘i Island
Austin Corotan – Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority, Hawai‘i Island
Jordan Enos – Gemini North Observatory, Hawai‘i Island
Kaimi Kahihikolo – Gemini North Observatory, Hawai‘i Island
Kully Kekaula-Basque – Cellana, Hawai‘i Island
Justin Kunimune – Subaru Telescope, Hawai‘i Island
Colleen Lau – Gemini North Observatory, Hawai‘i Island
Cheyenne Maio-Silva – W.M. Keck Observatory, Hawai‘i Island
Jason Mar – Submillimeter Array, Hawai‘i Island
Kyle Mauri – Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope, Hawai‘i Island
Eric Paopao – Institute for Astronomy Hilo, Hawai‘i Island
Nicole Tabac – Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope, Hawai‘i Island
Travis Thieme – Submillimeter Array, Hawai‘i Island

All 30 students are from Hawaiʻi or enrolled at a University of Hawaiʻi campus, and nearly half are of native Hawaiian ancestry. The students receive credit from University of Hawaiʻi, Hilo, and begin on June 13, 2016 with a preparatory course taught by Akamai instructors. They will then complete a seven-week project at various observatories and facilities on Hawaiʻi Island and Maui.

The Akamai Workforce Initiative is designed to build tomorrow’s high-tech workforce by providing support to local college students over a broad range of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Each student is matched with a mentor and is integrated as a member of the mentor’s group with daily guidance. Akamai mentors are prepared to provide an experience that will support their intern’s persistence in STEM, while they complete a real project valued by their host organization, through a unique workshop offered in May. The careful attention to mentoring, the preparatory course, and an ongoing communication course, are all important elements of the program and have been attributed to the program’s success.


Since launching in 2002, nearly 330 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 Hawaiʻi contributing to the local STEM workforce.

Akamai accepts college students from Hawaii (80% graduated from a Hawaiʻi high school or were born in Hawaiʻi), and a key objective is to increase the participation of underrepresented and underserved populations in STEM. So far, the Akamai Workforce Initiative alumni demographics include 36% women, 25% Native Hawaiian, and 47% underrepresented minorities.

The Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory has become Akamai’s cornerstone funder, and continues as the program’s largest funding source in 2016. This year, funding is also provided by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Hawaiʻi STEM Learning Partnership at Hawaiʻi Community Foundation (with support from nine funders, including the THINK Fund and the Maunakea Fund), Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, National Solar Observatory, and the National Science Foundation.

Akamai is managed by the Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators at University of California, Santa Cruz.


The Thirty Meter Telescope Project has been developed as collaboration among Caltech, UC, the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy, and the national institutes of Japan, China, and India with the goal to design, develop, construct, and operate a thirty-meter class telescope and observatory on Mauna Kea in cooperation with the University of Hawaiʻi.

The TMT International Observatory LLC, a non-profit organization, was established in May 2014 to carry out the construction and operation phases of the TMT Project.

Members of TIO are Caltech, UC, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Department of Science and Technology of India, and the National Research Council; the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy is a TIO Associate.


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