Education & Workforce Development
The process of science is not complete until its discoveries are shared with others.
Each year, the W. M. Keck Observatory participates in and sponsors dozens of educational events for Hawaii Island families, educators, students, and hobbyists, as well as visitors to the Big Island, to foster a greater appreciation of science and its influence in society.
Through field trips to our headquarters, stargazing programs and classroom visits, Keck Observatory’s education team provides an engaging and inspiring set of activities and technical expertise to more than 1,000 K-12 students each year.
- Journey Through the Universe (JTTU): Keck Observatory is an active participant in JTTU, the Maunakea Observatories flagship education and outreach program for students in Pre-K to 12th grade on Hawaii Island. In 2017, its 13th year, more than 70 observatory professionals and astronomy educators visited over 8,800 students in 300 classrooms, and held a workshop for 40 teachers with follow-up visits to the summit.
- Triple Whammy: Keck Observatory opens the doors of its Waimea headquarters to Hawaii Island schools four times a year. Elementary and middle school students experience a “triple whammy” of fun, science-rich activities. The three interactive stations vary from solar viewing, star tracking, an infrared camera demonstration, a mirror segment activity, and more.
Keck Observatory staff also donates their talents to benefit Hawaii Island projects, including high school science fair competitions, the regional R.O.V. Underwater Competition, BotBall, Hawaii Electric Car Competition, and Girls in Engineering, Math and Science, or GEMS. Keck Observatory’s workforce development program also engages students through employment, internships and mentorships to cultivate the next generation of scientists and engineers.
High School Student Employment Program: Keck Observatory hires high school student assistants who are interested in gaining real-life work experience. The students work directly with Keck Observatory staff who not only serve as their managers, but their mentors as well.
Akamai Workforce Initiative: In an effort to advance Hawaii college students into STEM jobs, Keck Observatory offers summer college internships through the Akamai Workforce Initiative. Keck Observatory has been participating in this eight-week program since 2003, and has offered the most internships with 42 placements to date (2003-2017).
- Maunakea Scholars: Keck Observatory participates in Maunakea Scholars, an innovative program designed to bring Hawaii’s aspiring young astronomers into the observatory community by competitively allocating observing time on world-class telescopes to local high school students.
For the broader public, Keck Observatory’ss monthly Astronomy Talk Series and Open House events encourage the public to learn in depth about the research done using Keck Observatory’s 10-meter telescopes on Maunakea. Other public events, such as science nights at the libraries and Solar System Walks in Waimea, offer individuals of all ages learning activities in astronomy, science and engineering. These outreach events, coupled with Keck Observatory’s other educational programs, reach more than 50,000 people annually.
- Maunakea Astronomy Jobs: For employment, internship, and volunteer job listings in the fields of astronomy science, engineering, administration and support services at the observatories and organizations operating on Maunakea on the Big Island of Hawaii, click HERE. Listings include astronomy jobs on the summit as well as at observatory headquarters located in Hilo and Waimea.
Keck Observatory is also building a virtual on-line and international community called Keck Nation. Powered with world-class content, more than 12,000 members are the first to receive news from the frontier science and innovation of the Keck Observatory.
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To learn more about Keck Observatory’s programs, contact us to let us celebrate the power of learning with you.