Aspiring high school engineers share their summer revelations

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Myhraliza Aala, (808) 956-0776
STEM Marketing & Public Affairs Officer, College of Engineering
Posted: Jul 29, 2015

Engineering student interns on a site visit to Hawaiian Electricís CIP Generating Station.
Engineering student interns on a site visit to Hawaiian Electricís CIP Generating Station.

While most kids were at the beach this summer, 19 Hawaiʻi high school students received hands-on learning and mentorship from engineering professionals and professors. For the last six weeks, the interns attended workshops, visited worksites, chatted with executives and practiced what they have learned.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Engineering Summer High School Internship Program, in partnership with Hawai‘i P-20, and sponsored by the Hawaiian Electric Companies, will hold its closing presentation and reception Friday, July 31, at 4:30 p.m. in Bilger Hall 152.

The student interns will deliver oral presentations covering their summer experiences and will discuss topics critical to Hawaiʻi’s future, ranging from professional development to math and programming. The interns developed a comprehensive understanding of the various professional environments found in engineering by participating in exclusive industry site visits to active offices, stations, hangars and refineries otherwise restricted to the general public.

The interns put their experiences to work in the College of Engineering labs, where each student was assigned a faculty mentor and received assignments to work alongside graduate students on research tasks specific to their chosen engineering specialty.

The summer internship program and Engineering Student Ambassador Program are sponsored by the Hawaiian Electric Companies through a $15,000 grant to the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation. “Such programs are critical to promoting STEM education, providing valuable hands-on learning experiences, and reaching students in local communities,” said Scott Seu, Hawaiian Electric vice president, System Operation, who also serves on the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council. “These programs are in line with our companies’ commitment to educational excellence and career success for Hawaiʻi’s students, who will become our future leaders and technology innovators.” As part of the program, in mid-July the summer interns visited Hawaiian Electric’s Campbell Industrial Park Generating Station in West Oʻahu for a tour of the company’s 110-MW generator fueled exclusively with sustainable biodiesel. The facility includes a solar parking shade, solar rooftop, energy storage battery, and PV test platform.

Industry site visits included the Campbell Industrial Park (CIP) Generating Station, SunEdison, Chevron Refinery and SSFM International.

Talk story sessions with engineers were held with Dr. Sheryl Nojima (Gray, Hong, Nojima & Associates); Jon Young (Hawaiʻi Asphalt Paving Industry); Emi Kiyoi (Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard); Kyle Yumumoto (R.M. Towill Corporation); and Ty Dempsey (Dempsey Pacific).

Started in 1999, the High School Internship Program provides a unique opportunity to experience a higher level of academics at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa through hands-on engineering experiences. High school juniors going into their senior year apply to participate in the program and are selected by committee. 

For event details or more information, contact Dr. Myhraliza Aala, STEM Marketing & Public Affairs Officer, College of Engineering, at or (808) 956-0776.