Keck Visiting Scholars Program


At W. M. Keck Observatory, we believe in sharing the astronomical knowledge learned from Maunakea. The Keck Visiting Scholars Program (KVSP) is among the ways we strive to do just that; by providing early career scientists hands-on work experience at our observatory, we hope to help them prepare for their professional journey, build upon their research, and most importantly, become just as inspired by the universe as we are every time we look up at the night sky.


KVSP aims to inspire and develop the next generation of scientists and instrumentalists. Graduate and postdoctoral students gain valuable experience in observational astronomy, hardware, and software, working directly under the mentorship of scientists at Keck Observatory in Hawaii, home of the world’s most scientifically productive ground-based optical/infrared telescopes on Earth.


  • Work alongside Keck Observatory support astronomers who will serve as mentors on data collection and real-time problem solving
  • Get hands-on experience with Keck Observatory’s hardware/software telescope instrument operations


  • Gain real-world work experience in observational astronomy
  • Sharpen skills in specialized areas such as adaptive optics, planetary science, and astronomical instrumentation
  • Opportunity to submit a report to an astronomical or technical journal on your KVSP experience


6-8 applicants are selected every year to work at Keck Observatory for 1-3 months. Though the internship is unpaid, travel and accommodations are covered. Contact Josh Walawender, W. M. Keck Observatory Staff Astronomer, at to learn more.

Dr. Emily Martin hugging W. M. Keck Observatory’s Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSPEC), which she helped upgrade as part of her project under the Keck Visiting Scholars Program.


The Keck Visiting Scholars program is made possible thanks to our generous donors: Roy and Frances Simperman and major contributors: the M. R. and Evelyn Hudson Foundation; the W. M. Keck Foundation; the Edge of Space Inc.; Tom Blackburn; John and Ann Broadbent; Bent and Candee Forbes; Carl and Marsha Hewitt; Doug Johnson and Valerie Gordon-Johnson; Andy and Worth Ludwick; Tom McIntyre; and Jeff Steele and Rebecca Miller Steele.

If you would like to support KVSP, please contact Ed Harris, W. M. Keck Observatory Chief Development Officer, at