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High School Internship Programs

TDI offers high school internship programs for enthusiastic, mature and hard working juniors and seniors with good academic records who are interested in marine mammal science. Our Maui program provides opportunities for students to work alongside TDI researchers in the field studying the humpback whales off West Maui. Students help study the whales aboard TDI boats and from TDI's shore station. Our Oahu internship program provides opportunities for students to actively process and analyze real whale data and uncover the life histories of indivdual whales at our Marine Mammal Research and Education Center at Ko Olina. Both programs are part of the Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations (ECHO) Project.  The ECHO Act, established by Congress, is part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and supports culturally based education of students from Hawaii, Alaska, and Massachusetts.  The Hawai‘i ECHO project includes cultural and biological understanding of whales. TDI's participation in the ECHO project is through a grant from Hawaii's Bishop Museum. There is no cost for the program.  Details on these programs are presented below:

Maui High School Internship Program in Whale Field Research

Each spring, 10 high school students from Maui are provided with the opportunity to participate in TDI’s whale research for a 3-day intensive program alongside seasoned scientists.  Students will learn about the history of whaling and understand the need for generating information about whale biology and behavior.  They will also understand how hypotheses are generated to inform about whales, learn the methods to study whales, and record and help process data involved in contemporary whale research.   From TDI’s research vessel, Kohola, students will help spot whales, photograph their natural identifying marks, and record behavioral data. 

TDI 2005 Maui interns record whale behaviors and film
codes aboard Kohola II.

From TDI’s shore station overlooking Maui’s waters, students will help study how whale distribution, pod composition, and behavior change daily and seasonally. Students must be recommended by a teacher for this internship program. If you are a junior or senior and would like to apply for the program or learn more about it, or if you are teacher who would like to present this exciting opportunity to your students, please contact Dr. Adam Pack at 808-679-3690 or by email at pack(AT)hawaii.edu for application forms and internship dates.

Oahu High School Internship Program in Whale Data Processing and Analysis

Each summer and fall, 10 students from Oahu are provided with the opportunity to discover new findings of humpback whales along seasoned scientists through the processing and analysis of real data on humpback whales gathered during past winters when the whales take up residence in Hawaiian waters.  Students will learn about the history of whaling and understand the need for generating information about whale biology and behavior.  They will also understand how hypotheses are generated to inform about whales, learn the methods to study whales, and help reveal the life histories of whales by processing digital photographs of whale tail flukes (their “fingerprints”) and matching recent photographs to TDI’s catalog of over 4400 individuals.

TDI 2006 Oahu interns from Kapolei High School matching
photographs of whale tail flukes and tracing individual life
histories

The internship takes place at TDI's Marine Mammal Research and Education Center at Ko Olina after school from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM two days a week for a 6-week period. If you are a junior or senior and would like to apply for this internship program, or if you are a teacher who would like to learn more about the program, please contact TDI education coordinator Aliza Milette at 808-679-3690 or by email at pack@hawaii.edu for application forms. Student applicants must be recommended by one of their teachers.

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