(all from Hawaii)
Akamai Interns (n=328)Discussion


Most Akamai interns are engineering majors, fields in which women typically make up only 19% of students, both nationally and locally at UH Manoa.
Underrepresented minorities


Most Akamai interns are engineering majors, fields in which underrepresented minorities make up ~17.5% of students.
Native Hawaiians


At the UH Manoa College of Engineering, ~13% of students are Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander, whereas Native Hawaiians make up ~23% of Hawai‘i’s overall population.
Community college students


It is typical for competitive summer research internship experiences to serve students from 4-year institutions.
Lower-division students


Often “REU”-style summer experiences serve students at the ~junior level; however, studies indicate that early college research opportunities lead to persistence in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM)
Akamai 2003-2012 alumni 3+ years after internship
(n=222, all from Hawaii)
Persistence rate of the 182 (82%) located
Now in STEM workforce


Enrolled in undergrad or grad STEM program


Total on STEM pathway


  • Women


  • Native Hawaiians / Pacific Islanders


  • All underrepresented minorities


  • Started Akamai after freshman or sophomore year


ISEE StudyMentoring and Persistence Findings
Hawai‘i Workforce Skills Survey

  • STEM practices are highly valued in the workplace; many are related to explaining

Tools for Supporting Explanations

  • Tools (such as a framework of key elements of explanations) help interns learn this valued STEM practice, and help Project Mentors teach the practice to interns

  • “Defining requirements” is a particularly challenging aspect of problem-solving and explaining solutions

Study of CfAO/Akamai Internship Program

  • A carefully designed curriculum can be an important bridge between the college experience and the workplace

  • Mentoring in the PREP course prepares students for success in their internship project

  • Strategic communication assignments affect interns’ engagement in explaining and taking initiative

  • The way a student’s project is designed, and on-the-fly mentor moves can either promote or constrain

Longitudinal study of interns’ persistence in STEM

  • Effective mentoring can lead to ~80% persistence rates in STEM for students of all backgrounds

  • Traditionally-regarded indicators of success (e.g. GPA) do not necessarily predict persistence when students have carefully designed STEM experiences

  • Interns’ perception of being challenged by their project correlates with persistence

Technical report that includes more details and references