Invest In Interns To Build Hawaii’s Future

Contrary to what local folks may think, local talent is of a very high quality.

Op-ed by Oceanit CEO Pat Sullivan for Civil Beat. Originally published at Civil Beat on 12/28/2020, full link at the bottom.

2019 interns with Ken Cheung, Oceanit’s science and technology director (far left), CEO Patrick Sullivan (right), and Linda Kawamura, Oceanit’s HR director (far right).

I’ve been accused of being an optimist. I’m guilty as charged — but for good reason.

Like most, I follow the news and realize that there are many valid reasons to be pessimistic: Hawaii’s cargo cult tourist economy. The ALICE report, detailing the struggles of those who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed. Incomplete or absent government policies. Outmigration. The global pandemic. And so on.

However, my guess is that most readers have heard this all before. So, at the risk of sounding contrarian, I would like to share why, despite all of these issues, I’m still optimistic about the future of Hawaii.

Over the last 30-plus years, we have conducted a summer intern program at Oceanit, the “mind to market” company I run, where we begin with ideas and bring them to life in the world.

The majority of our interns are from Hawaii and are working on their undergraduate or graduate college educations. We build cohorts of people from diverse backgrounds — some students from public schools, some from private schools, some from economically or socially challenged upbringings, others with unique life experiences.

When we started this program, we hoped to make a small contribution to building Hawaii’s future. Each year we are overwhelmed by the number of qualified applicants. So far, we have hosted over 700 paid summer interns, investing many millions of dollars.

Read the full piece at Civil Beat.



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Oceanit is a ‘Mind to Market’ company that employs a unique discipline called Intellectual Anarchy to move scientific breakthroughs from the lab to the market.