Since June 3, five college students have been working with the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) as part of the 2019 PICRC Summer Internship Program. This program, sponsored by Blue Bay Petroleum Inc., provides hands on research experience for Palau’s youth. After an intensive six weeks of background research, fieldwork, data analysis, and report writing, the 2019 Summer Interns have completed their projects and written their reports. On Thursday, July 11, they presented their final projects to PICRC staff and Blue Bay Petroleum representatives.
The research projects vary year-to-year, depending on the current work being done at PICRC. Every year, each intern is paired with a mentor who helps them complete a thorough research project, step by step. This year, Mira E. Mariur from University of Hawaii at Hilo, worked with Victor Nestor to study the response of corals to heat stress; Maikani O. Andres from University of Hawaii at Hilo, worked with Lincy L. Marino to assess the abundance of commercially important fish around Palau; Masasinge T. Hideos, also from the University of Hawaii at Hilo, worked with E. Ikelau Otto to study Palau’s water chemistry – with a focus on local ocean acidification levels; and Tristen Isaac, from Palau Community College, worked with Marine Gouezo to monitor chronic small-scale coral bleaching events and seawater temperatures on the shallow inner bay reefs of Palau. Katherine McMahon, from Central Michigan University, worked with Shirley Koshiba to assess the ecological status and trends of Ngerkebesang Marine Protected Area.
Internships are important components in the process of career development. They provide students with a chance to experience real-life work environments, build professional relationships, and learn discipline and work ethic – all while being part of something bigger. During PICRC’s internship program, interns are provided a chance to explore additional career paths and opportunities relating to conservation work in Palau. PICRC hopes that by extending support and opportunities to college students, they are inspired to pursue careers in conservation, especially here in Palau. PICRC would like to recognize and give an enormous thank you to Blue Bay Petroleum Incorporated for making this summer internship program possible.