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Mentoring Pacific Island Students for Conservation

Author(s): Noelani Puniwai-Ganoot1, Sharon Ziegler-Chong2, Rebecca Ostertag3, Moana Ulu Ching4, Linnea Heu2, Cherie Kauahi2

1. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2. University of Hawaii at Hilo 3. University of Hawaii At Hilo 4. Conservation International

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This undergraduate internship program focuses on mentoring Pacific Island Students into conservation careers through development of skills, networks and sense of self, while being grounded in values important to target audience.


The Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science (PIPES) is a suite of undergraduate internship programs at the University of Hawaii at Hilo that has been developed over the last 25 years by a group of dedicated educators committed to mentoring Pacific islanders into conservation studies, careers and networks. PIPES mentors the next generation of scientists, educators, and managers for Hawaiʻi and the Pacific through formal and informal educational frameworks focused on deepening a sense of kuleana (responsibility) and provides opportunities for engagement in research and conservation practices in a higher education setting. Each summer, 30 to 40 students participate in an intensive, full-time, paid internship program for 10 weeks; over 600 undergraduates have completed over 740 immersive experiences in science, natural resource management, environmental education. The model of PIPES bases its efforts in cultural values important to these students, specifically kuleana--doing work that is meaningful and useful to your community, that is a part of your connection and sense of reciprocity to your place and community. This poster is an adaptation of a publication: Puniwai-Ganoot, N., Ziegler-Chong, S., Ostertag, R., & Ching, M. U. (2018). Mentoring Pacific Island Students for Conservation Careers. Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research, 1(4), 25-32.

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