“It was fun commuting by boat each morning to the research station. Once I learned about the types of research that the scientists were doing I led tours for student groups visiting the island. I also helped with event planning and reservations in the main office as we get top scientists coming through. I also got a chance to help a reef ecologist with her coral project. It was great seeing all sides of the work done on the island.”
IGS and the University of Hawaii are teaming up to provide an opportunity to intern at one of the premier marine research locations in the world. Based on an island just 100 meters off the coast of Oahu, leading marine scientists operate laboratories and conduct experiments on reef fish, sharks, and coral species. The island sees over 4000 visitors per year that participate in overnight marine camps, science projects, and island tours. Waikiki is a short twenty-five-minute drive and students have a chance to explore the island on weekends and evenings.
The internship is primarily assisting the marine education department. Your first week will be spent learning about the different research taking place on the island. You will become familiar with native fish species endemic to Hawaii; the types of reef sharks that patrol nearby waters; and the threats that Hawaii’s coral community faces.
With that knowledge in hand, you can successfully assist the education department handle the many visitors that come through. One day you may be stationed next to a sensitive reef and educate visitors on the proper ways to interact with the coral and marine etiquette. Other days you may assist in the office with event planning for the arrival of a school group. And you may be asked to use your skills with social media to communicate with the community and put the word out island happenings.
Students that have a passion for marine research may be paired with a scientist on the island to assist with lab or field work. This is usually a side-job that is completed when your duties with the education office are complete.
The most common tour of the island that you will facilitate is a two hour visit that includes a boat ride to Moku o Lo’e, guided discovery of the island’s natural and human history, stops at the shark ponds, touch pool, and other areas, and an introduction to the cutting edge research taking place. This program is for individuals as well as community and school groups.