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University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa students are learning about career opportunities in national security thanks to a new collaboration between UH Mānoa and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM). In the spring 2021 semester, 15 students were selected to participate in the first “INDOPACOMUHM Mentoring Program for Intelligence,” through a UH Mānoa internship course.

The idea went from concept to execution in just three weeks between December 2020 and January 2021. Leadership teams from UH Mānoa and INDOPACOM developed the co-instructed, internship course that provides interested students an opportunity to prepare for a possible career in national security, while being academically anchored and earning 400-level college credits.

“We are proud and honored to strengthen our relationship with the talented and promising student population and leaders at UH,” said Rear Admiral Mike Studeman, director of intelligence for INDOPACOM. “This program offers deep insights from intelligence professionals that can help open up a pathway to rewarding careers in national security here in Hawaii and beyond, depending on the interests and desires of individual students.”

Mentoring program

Thirty intelligence community mentors are participating in the program, which consists of regular, virtual seminar sessions with guest speakers from INDOPACOM and seven national intelligence agencies. Students are required to write a paper on an intelligence topic and present their assessment to senior executive government leaders to simulate the intelligence-informed executive decision-making process.

“Hearing these incredibly experienced mentors and speakers objectively acknowledge the faults and shortcomings of past U.S. policies and actions while actively working to influence and improve new ones, gives me hope for a brighter future,” said Dong-Lee Huang, a UH Mānoa student and course participant. “After taking the course, I feel like it’s possible for me to become involved in the intelligence community.”

The next course will be offered in fall 2021 and is planned to continue as a regular fall course while a larger certificate program is developed. An information session is planned for April 6, 2021, and will be announced through the Office of Veteran Student Services and the Provost’s Office.

Long-term goal

The long-term goal is to develop a multi-faceted intelligence fellowship program comprised of multiple courses and an Asia field study, applied learning country immersion trip. The fellowship program is meant to inspire students to serve their country, develop intelligence-related skills, and make them highly competitive for a variety of well paying national security jobs accompanied by outstanding benefits with career options in the Department of Defense and the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Hawaiʻi, and therefore UH, is uniquely positioned to be the bridge between East and West as our state has played a key national security role for decades and will continue to do so,” UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno said. “Our deepening partnership with the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is creating unique opportunities for our students who are interested in federal service and intelligence careers, right here in Hawaiʻi.”

This effort is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF) and Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), two of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

For more information, contact John Doyle at john.doyle@pacom.mil or Michael Spencer at michael.spencer@dodiis.mil.