Through the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) STEMworks™ Ag Business & Technology Internship program, students in grades 9-12 and college undergraduates have the opportunity to gain experience in multiple industries within the agriculture sector of the economy to find their interests, build their resume, and become career ready.
“During this time, our STEMworks interns are busy using industry-standard technologies to develop a service-learning project to improve their community,” said Britney James, STEMworks Agriculture Program Specialist. “The program is designed to prepare students with real-world, hands-on career exposure, college and employability skill-building opportunities, and industry networking experiences. Along the way, interns worked tirelessly on creative and critical thinking as well as their professional and software skills.”
James added, “The students who participated in the recent Internship Program gained many workforce readiness skills, including time management, having to balance full-time school and the internship. Some of them even had a second job! They are all exceptional individuals and I am excited to say that many of them now plan to pursue careers in agriculture after participating in this internship.”
“The showcase featured 11 interns from seven host companies with eight mentors,” explained Aileen Kim, Baldwin High School 9th grader. “I interned at WaiPono Farm at the University of Hawaii Maui College Sustainable Living Institute where I learned aquaponics and hydroponics greenhouse. During this time, I was able to raise tilapia fish and grow community resources, while also learning about the systems which help create a healthy life for both our fish and plants. Our greenhouse grows community resources such as bok choy, lettuce, tomatoes and zucchini, and shares these resources with others.”
Lei’ohu Turley, Seabury Hall 11th grader, reflected on her experience, “My internship was at Noho’ana Farm, an energy self-sufficient, family-run farm situated on two acres of kuleana (privileged responsibility) land. Along with kalo, other important Hawaiian crops are cultivated at the farm using traditional, sustainable, and organic farming practices. I learned about irrigation and water resource management, using farm equipment, and planting and harvesting crops. Now, I also have a deeper appreciation for cultural values and environmental issues.”
I hope to continue my internship. Mahalo to STEMworks and Noho’ana Farm for this opportunity! Lei’ohu Turley, Seabury Hall student