Four days will never be a sufficient amount of time to spend on my second favorite island in this incredible archipelago, but it was a perfect amount of time to participate in yet another orientation. The program that Iʻve been privileged to be a part of, PIPES (Pacific Internships in Programs Exploring Science), required all forty of us interns to attend this orientation held at the Kīlauea Military Camp in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, over the past few days.
No offense to the wonderful people at Kualoa Ranch, but this orientation blew them out of the water by miles.
Our main reason for being at Volcano was to conduct mini projects that were based upon finding correlations between native and non-native birds in the park and another variable. The project goes in deep details, but thatʻs the general idea of what our mission was, to give ourselves a taste of the applied science we will encounter at our respective intern-sites. In the picture above, my team and I are laying out transects in our survey method, that incorporated tree height into our hypotheses.
Every single person, I learned only hours into our first encountering, is doing a different internship in a different place, in and outside of Hawaiʻi. A man will be surveying and maintaining watersheds in Kohala, while a woman will be studying ʻopae ʻula (small red freshwater shrimps) in twelve streams on the big island, looking at the ecological effect they have. A man will be creating sustainability plans and executing ecological action plans in Hāʻena (Kauaʻi), while a woman and man head to American Sāmoa to do their own internships… The list is not endless, but the opportunities I and my fellow interns have, are very much so. And the places that we have been matched with, Iʻm sure will be heavily impacted with only positive outcomes by our kakoʻo (help).
Each individual is unique, some are vegans and some grew up in poverty in Waiʻanae, but they all have the same similarity: they LOVE science.
I was never good at math, throughout grade school and high school, and science only interested me to the extent of going outside of the classroom once in a while for labs; Iʻve never seen people this ecstatic about such a tedious, headache-inducing, field of study. However, theyʻve got me hooked. I know my career and my interests are going to be outside in the natural environment, and these guys proved to me that thereʻs no way around science, and itʻs not as scary as I used to think so.
The coolest part of this program thus far: everyone is older than me. People nearly began to call me the “baby” of the group, as I am around three to five years younger than 95% of the interns who attended. I donʻt mind the nickname at all. Itʻs extremely humbling to be in their presence, some of whom have already graduated and are literally beginning careers in their fields of passion… watching them so far, has been a blessing. I feel really small and inexperienced, and itʻs challenging to adapt to the scientific lingo and the expectations embedded in that, but the challenge feels good, from the top of my head to the tip of my toes.
My next step is Monday, June 3rd, 2013. First day of work. First day of loving science. First day of new self-expectations. First day of the rest of my life, one could say. And Iʻm excited. No laila…mahalo ke akua no kēia manawa kūpono a nā mea ā pau.