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Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Young Scientist Opportunity

PYSO internships offer professional scientific research experience and formal training opportunities for undergraduate college students.


The Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Young Scientist Opportunity (PYSO) is a collaborative program with the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. This program offers professional scientific research experience and formal training opportunities for qualified participants tailored to meet their educational and professional goals and interests.

The Young Scientists Opportunity enables participants to work under the guidance of talented staff at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center who will provide challenging work opportunities and one-on-one mentoring in the participant's field of study.

Participants will have the opportunity to work with a mentor on a project that draws from a variety of topics including fish ecology, protected species, oceanography, fishery economics, stock assessment, coral reef ecology, ecosystem studies, climate studies, marine ecology, environmental monitoring, and social sciences. One participant will be selected for each project: Research Projects for Summer 2021.

Program Benefits

The Young Scientist Opportunity will provide each participant with:

  • An in-depth perspective on how NOAA Fisheries and the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research serve the community and the nation as a whole.
  • The opportunity to acquire specific skills needed to pursue their professional goals and aspirations.
  • The opportunity for hands-on research experience in their field of study.
  • The opportunity to build relationships with professionals in their field of study.

The Young Scientists Opportunity will also benefit the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research by facilitating staff development of skills in leadership, teaching, and coaching and by building productive relationships with academic partners and institutions.

Program Components

The Young Scientist Opportunity is a paid, summer program (8–12 weeks) that combines on-the-job training, mentoring, and scientific research experience. No additional travel or housing funding is provided. New internship research projects are developed every year.

Program components include:

  • Performance plans to establish goals and timelines for the participant's work assignments with mentors.
  • Periodic meetings between participants and mentors to check on progress, including a mid-point review and final review.
  • Staff activities including all-hands meetings, division meetings, trainings, intern networking opportunities, and other special activities.
  • Final presentation to present work and accomplishments at an intern symposium for NOAA staff at the end of the summer.
  • Program evaluation to provide feedback that will help PIFSC and JIMAR improve the structure of the program.

Participant Eligibility Requirements

  • United States citizens, nationals, and Lawful Permanent Residents. Employer-sponsored/petitioned work visas/employment authorizations will not be provided.
  • Full-time status as a degree-seeking undergraduate student with no fewer than 24 credit hours earned at an accredited college or university, and who will not be graduating until after fall quarter/semester 2020 (sophomores, juniors, and non-graduating seniors).
  • Cumulative and semester/quarter GPA of 3.0 (based on a 4.0 scale) in all completed undergraduate courses and in the major field of study.
  • Majoring in a discipline or study area related to marine or atmospheric science, research, technology, or education, and supportive of NOAA and the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research programs and mission (for example, biological, social or physical sciences; mathematics; engineering; computer and information sciences; and teacher education).
  • Ability to obtain security clearance (upon selection) to work in a federal facility including fingerprinting and background check.


*Please note Summer 2021 internships will be held virtually

Participants will work at NOAA's Inouye Regional Center (IRC) in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. The IRC is located on Ford Island, which is part of the U.S. military base Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Participants must be eligible and able to pass a security clearance to work in a federal facility on a military base. The IRC is home to several NOAA line offices and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities.

We recommend that applicants research housing and commuting options on Oahu prior to submitting an application. There are limited temporary housing options close to the IRC. However, the City and County of Honolulu has a bus system on O‘ahu. Please see available transit directions and times at Selected participants are responsible for arranging their own daily transportation. The IRC is an approximately 30-minute drive by car, or a 1-hour bus ride from either Waikiki or the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. A shuttle service is provided for staff from nearby bus stops to the IRC.

Application Instructions

Prospective participants are required to submit the following materials via email to by February 28, 2021. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The application should be a single PDF file attached to the email with the following items in this order:

  1. Coversheet.
  2. Statement of interest describing applicant's experience, research interests, and goals with specific reference to a research project listed on the PYSO Projects page.
  3. Resume.
  4. Academic transcripts (reflecting student status at time of application; unofficial copies accepted). Please make sure the transcripts do not include your social security number or date of birth.
  5. Letter of recommendation from a professor (if preferred, this can be transmitted directly by email from the professor, but the name of the applicant must be in the subject line of the email).

Applications that include a social security number or date of birth will be deleted immediately.

Questions? Please contact