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The sanctuary encourages students to get involved and gain valuable experience through internships.  Over the years, many students have completed internship projects for the sanctuary and many have also continued on to work in the field of marine conservation.  Please see the information below on internship programs that may be available.

Please note that the sanctuary is not able to provide room and/or board for interns.  The majority of sanctuary internships are unpaid and interns are responsible for their own transportation to and from the sanctuary work site.

Internship Programs

Marine Option Program

Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program
University of Hawai‘i Hawaiian Internship Program
Other Internships

Marine Option Program
The University of Hawaii’s Marine Option Programicon link will leave site (MOP) provides invaluable marine-oriented education to undergraduates in any field of study who have an interest in the ocean. MOP provides a clearinghouse for marine-oriented education and employment opportunities, as well as a chance for students to network with professionals and fellow students who are involved with the ocean.  MOP focuses on undergraduates and is available throughout the ten campus UH system. Classified graduate students, unclassified graduate students, and professional students are also welcome to join.  A MOP certificate (similar to a minor) is awarded to students who successfully complete 12-16 credit hours of marine-related courses, as well as a unique MOP skill project in which students design and conduct a personal marine or aquatic project related to their educational goals.  Past projects have included scientific research to endeavors in the arts.

Sanctuary Ocean Count Internship – O`ahu

The Marine Option Program has worked with the sanctuary to place students in internships related to the Sanctuary Ocean Count Project on O`ahu.  Students gain an understanding of the level of management and coordination that is required to successfully conduct a large-scale public outreach project and have the opportunity to take part in a variety of other sanctuary projects during whale season. Interns gain valuable work experience while completing their MOP project with the sanctuary.  This internship requires a commitment of 20 hours per week at the O`ahu sanctuary office.  An application and interview process is used to select the best candidate(s) for the internship which typically begins in November.  Stipends are available for those selected for this project. 

Other Projects – Statewide

Other MOP internship opportunities may also be available with the sanctuary. 

For more information contact:
Marine Option Program
E-mail: mop(at)
Telephone: (808) 956-8433

Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings (Hollings) scholarship program is designed to: (1) increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, research, technology, and education and foster multidisciplinary training opportunities; (2) increase public understanding and support for stewardship of the ocean and atmosphere and improve environmental literacy; (3) recruit and prepare students for public service careers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other natural resource and science agencies at the federal, state and local levels of government; and (4) recruit and prepare students for careers as teachers and educators in oceanic and atmospheric science and to improve scientific and environmental education in the United States.

Eligible undergraduates studying oceanic, environmental, biological, and atmospheric sciences, mathematics, engineering, remote sensing technology, physical and social sciences including geography, physics, hydrology, geomatics, or teacher education that support NOAA's programs and mission are encouraged to apply. 

Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholars may be considered for a variety of internships with the sanctuary once selected. Find out moreicon link will leave site about this exciting opportunity. 

University of Hawai‘i Hawaiian Internship Program
The University of Hawai‘i Hawaiian Internship Programicon link will leave site (UH-HIP) was developed in 1997 in response to the observed lack of local representation within Hawai‘i’s conservation workforce, in particular a lack of Native Hawaiian descendants. The program goal is to connect undergraduates who are kama’aina, especially those of Native Hawaiian ancestry, to internship opportunities with agencies and organizations responsible for research, management, and education relating to environmental issues in Hawai‘i and the Pacific region. The program’s vision is that more Native Hawaiian and local students will enter into fields of study and ultimately careers related to the natural resources of this state. By working with partners, the program coordinates 10-week project-based summer internships for successful applicants with host agencies throughout the state.

The sanctuary has worked with a variety of interns from UH-HIP. Opportunities vary each year.

Other Internships
Other unpaid internships may be made available on occasion.  Please download the Internship Request Form and submit your request to

The Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) Student Intern
Program or PSIP

Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship

NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program

Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Internships

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