TMT became a cornerstone supporter of the Akamai Workforce Initiative, which provides college students with summer internships at observatories and other high-tech companies in Hawaii. The goal of the program is to advance Hawaii college students in STEM and increase underrepresented groups.
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 mentor workshop. The careful attention to mentoring, the preparatory course, and an ongoing communication course, are important elements of the program and have been key to the program’s success.
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. To learn more about the summer internship program, go to www.akamaihawaii.org.
In addition to TMT International Observatory, funding has been 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 and the Maunakea Fund), and the National Science Foundation. Akamai is managed by the Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators at University of California, Santa Cruz.
The Akamai Workforce Initiative alumni demographics include:
25% Native Hawaiian
47% underrepresented minorities