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Portraits Of JESSE 23 Interns Next To Photo Of Gate Of Hope Sculpture

Engineering internship kicks off a summer of research, exploration

On June 6, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Engineering welcomed 16 rising high school seniors to its campus as part of the Junior Engineers Summer STEM Experience (JESSE) program.

The students, selected for the program earlier this spring after an application process that yielded dozens of qualified applicants, will spend six weeks at the UH campus working in engineering labs conducting meaningful research under the guidance of graduate lab mentors and JESSE program staff including the College’s Engineering Student Ambassadors.

In addition to spending regular hours in their lab, interns will participate in cultural programming, professional development workshops, and other enrichment activities, as well as attend weekly site visits to engineering employers including Island Energy, Hawaiian Electric Company, SSFM International, Burns & McDonnell, Booz Allen Hamilton, KAI Hawaii, and NIWC Pacific.

The 2023 JESSE cohort is comprised of students hailing from a wide range of public and private schools around O’ahu: Assets High Schoo (Aren Karr), Damien Memorial School (KayLee Nihoa), Farrington High School (Lovely Molina), Hawaii Baptist Academy (Ryan Wong), Henry J. Kaiser High School (Henry Ho), Kalaheo High School (Oliver Upton), Kalani High School (Stephanie Lee), Mid-Pacific Institute (Dylan Hey and Ian Nishikawa), Mililani High School (Hayden Harai), Myron B. Thompson Academy (Zoey Daida), Pearl City High School (Theodore Sepulveda), Punahou School (Gabriel Canevari, Benjamin Chung, and Samantha Miyashiro), and Roosevelt High School (Akira Lux).

Participating College of Engineering labs hosting interns include the Geotechnical Testing Lab, the Hawai’i Space Flight Lab, Ray Research Group, Robotic Space Exploration Lab (RoSE), and the Water Resources Lab.

Kimberly Perez Hults, Director of Marketing and Outreach Relations for the College and the program’s staff supervisor, said, “JESSE provides high school students with an interest in STEM the unique opportunity to further their exploration of engineering and discover where their passions truly lie. The program, which culminates in a research symposium in which interns present to their UH mentors and family and friends, challenges students to engage at a high level and synthesize the knowledge they gain over the course of six weeks.”

To learn more about JESSE, visit

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