PIFSC Young Scientist Opportunity

The application period for the 2014 PIFSC Young Scientist Opportunity closed as of February 28, 2014 11:59pm HST.

Applicants for the 2014 program will be notified of their standings by mid-April 2014.

Please check back in early January next year for details on the 2015 program.

The PIFSC Young Scientist Opportunity (PYSO) is a collaborative program between PIFSC and the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. This program offers qualified participants professional scientific research experience and formal training opportunities tailored to meet their educational and professional goals and interests.

PYSO enables participants to work under the guidance of talented staff of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (including JIMAR staff at PIFSC) who will provide challenging work opportunities and one-to-one mentoring in the participant's field of study.

Participants will be matched with a mentor and project drawing from a variety of topics including but not limited to: fish ecology, protected species, oceanography, fishery economics, stock assessment, coral reef ecology, ecosystem studies, climate studies, marine biology/ecology, environmental monitoring, social sciences, etc.

Program Benefits:

PYSO will provide each participant with:

  • an in-depth perspective on how NOAA Fisheries and JIMAR 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

PYSO will also benefit PIFSC and JIMAR by facilitating staff development of skills in leadership, teaching, and coaching and by building productive relationships with academic partners and institutions.

Program Components

The PYSO is a paid, summer-long (8-12 week) program that combines on-the-job training, formal research experience, one-to-one mentoring, and developmental assignments. Opportunities will be established in specific PIFSC and JIMAR projects. No additional travel or housing funding is provided.

Program components include:

  • Performance Plans to establish goals and timelines for the participant's work assignments (established in meetings between participant and mentor)
  • Periodic meetings between participant and mentor to check on progress (includes a mid-point review and final review)
  • Inclusion of participant in PIFSC/JIMAR staff activities (division meetings, all-hands meetings, training, and other activities)
  • In addition to the individual and group mentoring by PIFSC/JIMAR staff, the PYSO participants (3 targeted for 2014) will be encouraged to synergize with each other and with undergraduate and graduate interns (Hollings, EPP, NOAA/HIMB, etc.) at PIFSC/JIMAR.
  • Program wrap up: Participants and mentors hold a final meeting to review final products and discuss the participant's experience
  • Evaluations: Participants and mentors complete a program evaluation to provide feedback that will help PIFSC/JIMAR improve the structure of the program

Participant Eligibility Requirements

  • Employment (I9) Authorization to work in the United States. (Employer-sponsored/petitioned work visas/employment authorizations will not be provided.)
  • Full-time status as a degree-seeking college student with no fewer than 24 credit hours earned at an accredited college or university, preferably just completing their sophomore or junior years
  • 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/JIMAR's programs and mission (for example, biological, social or physical sciences; mathematics; engineering; computer and information sciences; and teacher education)
  • Ability to obtain post-job offer security clearance to work in a federal facility including fingerprinting and background check.

2014 Application Instructions

Prospective participants are required to submit the following materials via email to pifsc.pyso@noaa.gov at any time during February 1–28, 2014. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Prior contact with prospective mentors is highly recommended but not required. The application should be a single PDF file attached to the email composed of the following elements in this order:

  • 1-page coversheet, click here to download coversheet (0.4 MB PDF)
  • Statement of interest which includes a description of the participant's experience, research interests, and goals with specific reference to a research project listed on the PYSO projects page
  • Resume
  • Academic transcripts (reflecting student status at time of application, unofficial copies accepted)
  • One letter of recommendation from a professor (this can be transmitted directly by email from professor if preferred)


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