Akamai Internship FAQ

The Akamai Internship Program is for students from Hawaii or enrolled in University of Hawaii (any campus, including both 4-year and 2-year institutions). Additional information about eligibility and other questions are below.

Internship Eligibility

Who is eligible for the Akamai program? see details below
I am not yet 18 years old, am I eligible to apply?

You must be enrolled in an undergraduate institution at the time of application, and you must be 18 before the internship program starts (which is typically mid-june each year).

What are the Hawaii residency requirements?

The goal of the Akamai Internship Program is to help local students get local jobs in Hawaii. To be eligible for the program, applicants must be:

1) from Hawaii;

or 2) currently living in Hawaii and enrolled at a University of Hawaii campus.

The application asks questions about dates you have lived in Hawaii and the high school you graduated from, in addition to where you are enrolled now, to learn about your connection to Hawaii.

I’ve already graduated from college. Can I apply?

Yes, if you graduated within the last year you are still eligible.

If you graduated longer than a year ago you may still apply, however your placement priority will probably be lower than a recent college graduate.

If you are currently enrolled as a graduate student, you are not eligible for the Akamai program.  

I’m not a U.S. citizen, am I still eligible?

Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for Akamai. Some internship sites require U.S. citizenship for eligibility.

I’ve already done Akamai, can I apply again?

Yes. Akamai alumni are encouraged to apply for a second internship, and in some cases alumni may want to try a different site or type of project. Selection priority given to alumni applicants varies, and at times a higher priority may be given to a new applicant.

Note: Applicants are strongly encouraged to get a reference report from their Akamai mentor from their first internship.

I’ve had a few low grades, is that a problem?
There is not a minimum GPA for Akamai, and poor grades do not necessarily disqualify applicants. Selection committee members review transcripts and look at trends. For example, steadily improving grades are looked upon favorably. Also, the committee understands that students may have life circumstances that result in lower grades for a semester or year. It is important for applicants to provide an explanation for poor grades, so that committee members can consider reasons for deficient performance in light of the entire application. It is also important to note that Akamai considers many factors when selecting applicants, and is seeking hard-working, motivated interns – that is, those that really want it, and do what it takes to get the job done. Grades are not necessarily indicators of these qualities, so Akamai gives strong consideration to applicants with a wide range of GPAs.
I don’t have a lot of job skills. Do I have a chance of getting selected?
Akamai works closely with mentors to outline intern projects and the skills needed to complete the project, and then during the selection process the committee matches applicants to projects, carefully considering the applicants skill set. Akamai program staff work intently each winter to identify a wide range of projects, so that applicants from a broad range of majors and levels can be placed with projects. Mentors expect that interns will need to learn many new skills during the internship, and don’t anticipate interns to arrive fully trained. However, in some cases, interns may need proficiency with one or more skills to have a productive internship, so some experience may be necessary.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The application includes a section that asks about your proficiency with various skills. There are many skills on this list due to the diversity of projects within Akamai; it is common for an applicant to just have experience with a few of these skills. Applicants should not feel discouraged when they just check a few – we know you want to gain skills and that’s why you’re applying to an internship program!

Do I need health insurance to be eligible?

Before starting your internship, we require all interns to be enrolled in a health insurance plan (coverage through parents or personal coverage are both fine) that covers the “10 essential health benefits” covered by all Marketplace plans: https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/what-marketplace-plans-cover/.  Please shop around if you are not currently covered and find an option that covers these benefits at a cost in your range. You are not required by us to be covered at the time of application, but will need to be covered during the entire internship.

Application and Supporting Materials

What is needed for the application? What supporting materials are required? see details below
Are reference reports really required?

Yes. Reference reports are given very strong consideration by the selection committee.

Applications without any reference reports will not be considered.

Applications with only one reference report will be considered, but are not as strong as applications that have two reference reports.

See example questions for reference writers

Who should I name in the application as the contacts to get references from?

Applicants should identify people to provide a reference that can directly comment on the candidate’s performance and capabilities in a technical/scientific environment. Two examples of people that might be good references:

1) college faculty member/instructor of an applicant’s recent science, engineering or technology course;

2) an engineer/STEM manager from industry who has mentored/supervised the applicant during a job, capstone project or another internship.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to identify college instructors as their reference person, rather than high school teachers.

References from people who are not able to comment directly on the applicant’s performance and abilities (people who have not had the student in a course or directly supervised their technical work) can be accepted but will make the application less competitive.

Recommended: forward the example questions for reference writers to your reference contact when you inform them you are applying to the Akamai internship program.

How can I check if my reference submitted a reference report on my behalf?

From your application portal, you can check the status of your application materials, such as reference reports submitted, the number of transcripts uploaded, and if there are required actions needed.

Do I need to get certified transcripts?
No. Unofficial transcripts are all that is needed, and can usually be obtained online for free at your college or university.
Do I need to include all transcripts?
Yes. Transcripts from all institutions you have attended should be submitted with your application. This includes any institution that you enrolled in, regardless of whether you earned a degree or not.
How should I submit my transcripts?
The preferred method of submission is to upload your transcripts as a PDF within the application, though please note there may be a size limit on large files. If there are difficulties with online submissions, please contact us.
What questions can I expect to answer on the application?
How formal should I be in responding to questions on the application?
Applicants should write in complete sentences with correct spelling and punctuation, and avoid using the casual style made popular with phones and social media (e.g. all lower case, no punctuation, abbreviations, etc.). The selection committee wants to get to know the applicant, so it is important to be honest and show who you are, especially in relation to what has shaped your education and career goals and interests. For example, what you’ve learned from any past challenges, scientific or technical areas you’re really interested in or passionate about, or experiences you’ve had that have shaped your interests. The committee is also looking for an indication that you will be a team player, and how you will use the internship experience to further your education and career goals.

The Akamai PREP Course

What is the “Akamai PREP Course”? see details below
What is involved in the “Akamai PREP Course”?

The Akamai PREP Course is a 4-day preparatory workshop. It is a successful catalyst to the summer internship program and is an important part of the overall experience in Akamai.

The course takes place in Hilo, Hawai‘i Island or Kahului, Maui and all interns are required to stay in the provided accommodations (usually double-occupancy), getting to know the entire intern cohort for that summer.

During the course, interns work in teams to solve problems, and get a lot of practice working on first-time challenges (like they’ll likely tackle during their internship) and justifying their solutions.

The course is taught by a team that has been trained to teach engaging, effective laboratory-like activities and is very hands-on.

Interns get a chance to make friends with other interns, instructors, and program staff, giving them a strong support network that lasts throughout the summer and beyond. The PREP Course is hard work and a lot of fun!

I live in the location of the PREP course, can I just stay at home during the PREP Course?
During the preparatory course, Akamai has reserved everyone housing to encourage all able interns to stay together, with the main objective to guarantee your ability to participate in the long, full days of PREP and also to build community with your fellow interns. While staying there is not required and you are able to return home after all Akamai events have concluded for the day, we really hope you are able to participate in social gatherings with the other interns during PREP week and make sure that you arrive on time every morning for the start of the PREP course.

Placement, Housing, Transportation, Meals and Accessibility information:

What should I know about housing, project location and transportation work? See details below
What should applicants consider in relation to accessibility during the program?

The Akamai program includes participation in a hands-on preparatory course and a 7-week project in the STEM workplace.

The preparatory course is a set of lab activities in which participants manipulate materials such as lenses and optics rails and visually identify light phenomena. Some aspects of the course are in low-light conditions, and the entire course involves working in small teams to discuss and work through problems.

The 7-week projects vary widely, from working in a computer to lab work to outdoor work at altitude (see where intern do their projects and kinds of projects interns do).

During the entire program, interns interact with instructors and complete assignments online through shared documents and slides, and during the 7-week project through weekly meetings carried out by video (e.g. zoom).

In addition, if interns need housing, they are typically placed double-occupancy with a person of the same gender identity and prepare their own meals in a shared kitchen. 

Transportation between housing and internship site also varies, from using public transportation to walking a short distance to carpooling with other interns.

If you have questions please send an email addressed to Akamai Director at akamai@ucsc.edu.

If I get accepted, when do I know where I am placed?

Akamai sends out acceptances in early March. An acceptance is an offer to the applicant to join the program, which includes the placement offered to the applicant (site and type of project). Applicants then have a few weeks to formally accept or reject Akamai’s offer.

See Placement sites for more info.

Does Akamai provide housing?

We provide housing for all interns who need it in order to work at their internship site. For example, if you live on Maui and your internship site is in Hilo (on the Big Island), we will provide you with housing in Hilo.

We also provide housing if you will have a long driving commute to get to your internship site.

See map of project locations for more info.

Part B of the application (which will be sent to you in early 2021) includes questions about where you will need housing.

The housing provided is generally double-occupancy; you will most likely share a room with another intern. All accommodations include kitchens, allowing you to to make your own meals. Interns are expected to cover the costs of their own meals during their internship (except during the PREP course when all meals are provided at the UH Hilo dining hall).

During the PREP course, all interns stay together (first 4 days of the internship program), and we cover the cost of rooms and meals.

Does Akamai provide transportation?

In most cases, interns are provided housing that is within walking distance of their internship site. However, there are some exceptions where housing is not available near an internship site (e.g. NELHA in Kona).

In some situations we are able to provide a stipend to cover transportation costs when walking to the internship site is not possible, and this is arranged on a case-by-case basis.

Part B of the application (which will be sent to you in early 2021) includes a place for applicants to indicate any sites where transportation would be needed.

The application includes a place for applicants to indicate any sites where transportation would be needed.

Interns are provided transportation during the PREP course, including a ride from the airport to the provided housing.

Applicants should not let a lack of transportation get in the way of applying; we are almost always able to figure out a way to manage it.

See the project placements page to get an idea of possible internship locations.


Information below on how Akamai adjusting the program due to the ongoing pandemic.
Will COVID-19 affect the Akamai Program?

The Akamai Internship Program will run in Summer 2022, using contingency plans for adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, which could include in the worst case scenario of remote-only participation.

Akamai is implementing a two-part application that includes our regular application, and a “Part B” that will be available in early 2022 and includes questions related to constraints imposed by COVID-19.

See the COVID-19 information page for contingency planning and the most recent information about how Akamai is being adapted in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the “Part B Questionnaire” of the application and when will it be available?

The Akamai application will be in two parts: Part A: the regular application; and Part B, a supplemental questionnaire collecting information related to housing and other details.

Part A of the application will open in November following the typical schedule for the program.

Part B will be available early in the new program year, when the format of the program has been established based on the status of COVID-19 or other factors at that time. Part B will collect information related to applicants’ ability to adapt to the format of the program and safety precautions required by federal, state and local guidelines in relation to COVID-19.

My studies were impacted due to the pandemic, how will that affect my chances of acceptance into the program?

We understand that everyone’s life has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, in ways that we all have in common, and in unique ways for each individual. We know that many college students decided to take time off, or may have had their studies disrupted in a number of other ways due to COVID-19. We will approach our selection process with that in mind. The selection committee will consider the full picture and avoid looking disfavorably on applicants who took time off due to, or were otherwise impacted by, COVID-19. 

If you would like to share anything with the selection committee, please include that in the transcripts section of the application. For example, if your grades suffered, you could not take classes you had planned, or took a leave, you are invited share that information. However you do not need to share personal or sensitive information. You do not need to give a detailed justification; simply state something like “due to COVID-19, I…”. 

If you have questions please send an email addressed to Akamai Director at akamai@ucsc.edu.

Click to go to the COVID-19 information page.

Click to return to the main Akamai internship page.