Hands-on Work Experience

Are you a kamaʻāina student who is interested in aerospace research or space exploration? Do you want to land a career in one of these fields some day? We offer paid and credit-based internships to help you open new doors and make connections in the space community.

Accepted students choose between one of two learning tracks and work to complete specific project goals. Students can also propose their own project idea. Our former interns have gone on to land prestigious internships and employment at major tech companies and space agencies. 

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Majoring in a STEM-related field
  • Originally from Hawaiʻi or attending a University of Hawaiʻi school
  • 3.5 GPA or higher


Internship Tracks

planetary rover on rough terrain

Planetary Robotics

Our robotics track offers hands-on learning with our planetary rover, Helelani. Students develop the rover's sensors and systems while honing skills in coding, electronics, and engineering. Choose an assigned project or get creative and propose your own.

sintered basalt tile

Materials Science

Our materials science track offers experience in planetary geology and volcanic basalt research for additive manufacturing. Using locally sourced basalt, you will learn how to create sustainable construction materials for Earth and space.

Former Interns

Since 2013, we have employed more than 50 undergraduate students based in Hawaiʻi. Some have gone on to work for NASA, Google, and Taos.  Meet some of the outstanding alumni whose experiences at PISCES have helped further their education and career paths. 

Kyla Edison

Kyla Edison

Kyla is a UH Hilo alumna and Kauaʻi native who worked on a number of PISCES projects over the course of three years. As an intern, she learned how to conduct field surveys, analyze the geological makeup of other planets, and develop techniques for basalt sintering. Her dedication and hard work earned her a full-time position as our resident geology and materials science technician. In 2021, Kyla left Hawaiʻi to pursue a doctorate at the Colorado School of Mines.

Aaron Roth

Aaron Roth

Aaron is a Waiākea High School graduate who studied computer science at Arizona State University. During his internship, he successfully created  a stereoscopic (3D) imaging system for the Helelani rover. After interning as an undergraduate at Jim Bell’s rover imaging lab at ASU and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he landed a position on one of the Mars rover teams at JPL.

Lily Leyva

Lily Leyva

Lily Leyva is a Keaʻau High School graduate who attended our STARS program and was inspired to pursue a career in aerospace engineering. As a materials science intern, she created a new planetary building block design for basalt sintering. She also programmed our Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Heʻe Manu, for a County of Hawaiʻi R&D project. Lily is now studying Aerospace Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder.