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Hawaii Island Akamai Observatory Internship Program

June 1 - July 25, 2008

2008 Poster

What is Adaptive Optics?
Adaptive Optics (AO) is a method to sharpen the images produced by optical systems such as telescopes, cameras and the human eye. AO works by removing the distortions that blur these images. With AO, ground based telescopes can produce images that are as sharp as those produced from space and images of the eye can be produced that are sharper than any seen before.

Adaptive optics senses and corrects for distortions that produce the blurring seen in images. This blurring is due to distortions in the optical beam that are produced by the optics, and by the environment the optical system is in. In the case of astronomical telescopes, these distortions are produced by turbulence in the atmosphere and in the case of the human eye, they are produced by imperfections in the lens and fluid of the eye. While we can create perfect optical systems, we have not been able to compensate for distortions produced by the environment until the advent of adaptive optics.

What is the Center for Adaptive Optics?
The Center for Adaptive Optics (CfAO) is one of the Science and Technology Centers funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). The center is comprised of 11 institutions across the U.S. and its mission is to bring adaptive optics to maturity. Some scientists within the CfAO develop new astronomical techniques and instruments such as actuators and spectrographs, other focus on adaptive optics applications in vision science.

What is the Hawaii Island Akamai Observatory Internship Program?
The Center for Adaptive Optics (CfAO) Akamai Internship Program offers community college students and undergraduates that are attending college in Hawaii or that are Hawaii residents that are studying on the Mainland an opportunity to get involved in research at the Mauna Kea Observatories. Each student is matched with a research advisor and is integrated as a member of the advisor’s research group with daily guidance by a research supervisor.

This program is a collaboration between the Center for Adaptive Optics and Mauna Kea Observatories. It is an intensive eight-week introduction to research method and tools with an emphasis on adaptive optics science. The program provides opportunities at various sites over the summer, with additional activities that will provide support and opportunities during the academic year. The interns will start with a 5-day short-course in general optical principles and adaptive optics. Upon completions of the internship program, participants will be better prepared to pursue their educational and research career goals.

Where is it?
Past internship opportunities have been available at:

*2008 Intern Profiles and Projects*

Will I get paid?
YES! The CfAO will pay interns $3200 for an 8 week full time commitment. Transportation and other support services may be available.

Who is eligible?
This program is designed for all community college and university undergraduates in Hawaii –- and kama`aina studying on the mainland – who are interested in pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) fields and have had to overcome barriers to achieve their educational and/or career goals. All students must be U.S. Citizens or permanent residents, and be at least 18 years old on 05-15-08. The CfAO is committed to increasing diversity in the sciences. Underrepresented groups (African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, women and persons with disabilities) are strongly encouraged to apply.

What is the program expectation?
Participants are required to complete the entire eight-week program and require full-time student commitment. At the end of the program each participant is required to give an oral presentation. Participants must attend all scheduled activities. Participants will also be invited to present their research at the SACNAS National Student Conference in October.

How can I apply?
The application deadline for summer 2008 was Feb. 14, 2008.

If you have any questions about the application or the internship program please contact:

CfAO Coordinator:
Hilary O'Bryan

Hawaii Island Internship Coordinator:
Sarah Anderson

Last Modified: Aug 14, 2008 

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