Students invited to compete for Mahi Pono internship to address real-world challenges

Mahi Pono signage 10.20.21

Mahi Pono, a Maui-based farming company, has partnered with STEMworks Hawaiʻi to present the February 2022 STEMworks Solutions Challenge. The challenge is open to all Hawaiʻi high school and undergraduate college students, and winners will receive a paid summer internship with Mahi Pono and a $500 cash prize. The STEMworks Solutions Challenge is open for applications now, and the deadline to apply is Jan. 26, 2022.

The STEMworks Solutions Challenge presents Hawaiʻi high school and undergraduate students with a STEM-related problem to solve. Students can participate as individuals or in teams of up to four.

For Mahi Pono’s challenge, students will be asked to address the problem of overcoming the effects of wind on citrus trees, including damage, erosion and dust production. Students will be asked to come up with solutions for how to keep fruit trees upright with little to no windbreak, and how to mitigate dust clouds from lack of ground cover.

The challenge kicks off on Feb. 1, 2022 where students will attend weekly professional development meetings. Short presentations from Mahi Pono experts will help the students explore careers in the agriculture industry. After being briefed on the goal of the challenge, students will submit their designed solutions via a PowerPoint presentation accompanied by a recorded video presentation. Final design submissions will be due on Feb. 28, 2022. 

The winning individual or team will receive a paid internship with Mahi Pono and a cash prize of $500. The new interns will implement their proposed solution, and through research and trials, will have the opportunity to improve their design. 

“As a company committed to a more sustainable and secure future for Maui, getting the next generation involved is critical, and this is one way we are able to do that,” said Shan Tsutsui, chief operating officer with Mahi Pono. “These are real-world challenges we deal with in local agriculture, so we are excited to see what our participating students come up with.”

To apply for the STEMworks Solutions Challenge, visit this link. For more information, contact Jayson Watts, director of external affairs at

Mahi Pono owns and operates approximately 41,000 acres of agricultural land in Central Maui. It was created in 2018 in a joint venture between Pomona Farming LLC, a California-based agricultural group, and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), one of Canada’s largest pension investment managers.

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