• Keck Observatory Welcomes Akamai Interns

    July 21, 2022
    Waimea (Kamuela), Hawaiʻi – We are excited to welcome our 2022 cohort of Akamai Workforce Initiative interns! Samuel Adair, Preston Ito, Cole Jamila, Hopena Paekukui, and Taylor Wong are working this summer with our experienced mentors to come up with solutions for a number of hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) projects at W. M. Keck Observatory.
    The Akamai Internship Program is a workforce development initiative offering local college students the opportunity to develop real-world science and technology skills. Keck Observatory is honored to support kamaʻāina students in this valuable program since its inception 19 years ago. 

    Read on to learn about our latest cohort and their projects:

    Born in Japan and raised in Minnesota, Samuel Adair is a University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo student pursuing a Bachelor's in astronomy. His Akamai internship at Keck Observatory involves studying archival observational data from neighboring galaxy M33 to pinpoint Cepheid variables—stars that help measure distance. In his spare time, Sam enjoys watching movies and playing spike ball with friends.

    Preston Ito was born and raised on Maui and studies physics at Davidson College in North Carolina. He loves using math and science to model and solve real-world problems. Preston is creating software that will modify the existing telescope simulator in the Keck I Telescope Adaptive Optics system as part of the Keck All-sky Precision Adaptive Optics project. After graduating, he plans to earn a Master’s in aerospace engineering. 
    Cole Jamila is from Oʻahu and is majoring in mechanical engineering at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He is drafting a new design for Keck Observatory's telescope surface platform so it can accommodate new instrumentation. Cole is also creating a calculation tool for rebalancing the telescopes as their weight shifts. In his free time, Cole enjoys old-school film photography and 3D printing.

    Hopena Paekukui of Oʻahu studies mechanical engineering at Grand Canyon University. He's designing a versatile cart that can hold and transport most, if not all, of Keck Observatory's instruments when they need to be moved for upgrades or repairs. Hopena's goal is to inspire people to do good by creating machines that make meaningful contributions to humanity - especially in Hawaiʻi

    Taylor Wong of Oʻahu has a Bachelor’s in marketing. He fell in love with statistics and is now pursuing a second degree in computer science. Taylor is improving software for the audio system that monitors abnormal sounds in our telescope domes like drips from melting ice. He aspires to grow his knowledge and passions through practical applications that improve society.
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