August 10, 2017
Akamai Summer Internship Symposiums in Hilo, Waimea, Maui and Pasadena
The Akamai Workforce Initiative's Internship Program held its Student Internship Symposiums on Hawaii Island in Hilo and Waimea and on Maui this week with Hawaii college students presenting their summer internship projects to public audiences at all of the venues.
The Hilo symposia at Subaru Telescope included Akamai student interns working at the Institute for Astronomy, Subaru Telescope, Gemini Observatory and Smithsonian Submillimeter Array. The Waimea event at W. M. Keck Observatory featured interns representing the Canada-France Telescope, W.M. Keck Observatory and Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority. A student symposium occurred on Maui earlier this week and another one is slated for next week at the Thirty Meter Telescope project office in Pasadena, California. 
The Akamai Workforce Initiative is in its 15th year in providing college students with summer projects at observatories and other high tech companies in Hawaii. The goal of the program is to advance Hawaii college students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce and increase underrepresented groups. Twenty-nine interns are participating this year.

Since launching in 2003, more than 350 college students have participated in the Akamai program and at least 150 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. Akamai accepts college students from Hawaii (80% graduated from a Hawaii high school or were born in Hawaii), 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 supporter, and continues as the program's largest funding source in 2017.  
Funding is also provided by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, National Solar Observatory, Hawaii STEM Learning Partnership at Hawaii Community Foundation with support from multiple sources, including the THINK Fund at HCF and the Maunakea Fund (funded by Maunakea Observatories), 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 (ACURA), 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 Hawaii (TMT Project). The TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO), a non-profit organization, was established in May 2014 to carry out the construction and operation phases of the TMT Project. The 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 (Canada); the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a TIO Associate. Major funding has been provided by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation.

For more information about the TMT project, visit, or follow @TMTHawaii.


Sandra Dawson

TMT Manager, Hawaii Community Affairs