Image: Student interns and volunteers conducted stellar work with PISCES in 2014.

As part of PISCES’ workforce development initiative and promotion of STEM learning among students, the agency is now recruiting a new round of interns for the summer of 2015, as well as spearheading a cooperative work-study program with the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

The 10-week internship program is set to begin June 1 and will employ six to ten college-level students studying mechanical and electrical engineering, geology, physics, volcanology, computer science, and construction.  Three projects will immerse the students in hands-on experience including robotics, planetary analogue test site surveys, and “space” construction – utilizing volcanic basalt to build a 10-meter lunar landing pad.

PISCES employed eight interns and volunteers last summer on two individual projects.  Five students worked on the Planetary Analogue Test Site characterization team, conducting geological surveys of Hawaii‘s volcanic terrain to find suitable representatives for lunar and Martian landscapes.  The additional three students worked on the Helelani planetary rover programming software and hardware systems to advance the robot’s remote and sensory capabilities.

PISCES’ cooperative education program with the University of Hawaii at Hilo will offer real-world work experience to supplement students’ classroom learning.  The initiative encompasses computer science, engineering, and physics and astronomy fields, and offers full-time paid work to participating students in an alternating semester-on/semester-off cycle.  PISCES is currently in the process of finalizing and selecting a participant to launch the program beginning in the fall of 2015.