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ʻĀkoʻakoʻa Foundation

Contributing to ʻĀkoʻakoʻa Foundation supports ground-breaking research while also giving back to our global community. ʻĀkoʻakoʻa Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Our mission at ʻĀkoʻakoʻa Foundation is multifaceted. We aim to foster diversity, inclusion, and representation within the dive community in Hawai'i, particularly addressing barriers faced by aspiring marine scientists of color. In addition, we support natural disaster-affected areas with dive communities, recognizing their importance in maintaining the health of surrounding waterways, ocean ecosystems, and reef systems. By assisting local dive communities in rebuilding and recovering from such events, we empower them to make a positive impact on their environment once again. Our focus on eco-tourism and tourism for good ensures that the benefits of diving extend beyond recreation to conservation and community resilience. Through advocacy, education, and innovative initiatives, we strive to ensure equal opportunities for all individuals interested in pursuing scientific diving, enriching the marine science field with diverse perspectives and talents while addressing pressing conservation needs.

Learn more about ʻĀkoʻakoʻa Foundation at


Akoakoa Foundation
Application for Student Diving Training

SCUBA Scholarship

Summer, 2024

A’koa’koa Foundation, a non-profit (501c3) organization located on the Big Island, is soliciting applications for Summer 2024 internships/scholarships that will enable high school students to obtain a PADI Open Water SCUBA Certification.

The A’koa’koa Foundation expects to fund up to three scholarships for Summer 2024. Completion of the program will yield fully-qualified certification by PADI, the largest diving certification agency in the world.

Students will have options to continue their study for more advanced certifications (e.g., Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver, etc.) beyond this program.

A PADI Open Water certification opens potential careers to students who wish to progress to PADI Divemaster or Instructor certifications and is a valuable adjunct to careers in marine sciences, ecology, and tourism. It also opens up the world’s ocean ecosystems for exploration.


Qualifications and Requirements:

  1. Ability to swim and comfort in the marine environment

  2. Hawaiian heritage, if applicable. 

  3. Enrollment in Grades 9-12 in a Big Island-based high school

  4. Positive personal attributes and desire to learn

  5. No medical conditions that would prevent students from success

  6. Parental or Guardian permission

The A’koa’koa Foundation will solicit applications in May and June of 2024 and will select three students for its summer program. The schedule will not be full-time but will be designed to work around students’ summer schedules.

The three components of a PADI Open Water program will include:

  1. Completion of a self-directed online PADI-sponsored training program (about 10 hours)

  2. Completion of an in-pool session to learn basic SCUBA skills (5 hours) with a PADI instructor

  3. Completion of four dives in the ocean supervised by a certified PADI instructor (12 hours)


Sound easy? Are you interested? To apply, please send the following information to Dr. Neil Forsberg at by June 15, 2024 (either answer in an email or fill out on the reverse and respond to the same email):

  • Name:

  • Age (including birthdate):

  • Hawaiian connection, if applicable:

  • Current high school:

  • Planned career (not essential it be marine-related):

  • Swimming/marine-related experience:

  • Dates or availability during Summer 2024:

  • Name of parent or guardian with their contact information (phone, email):

  • Name of one teacher or other person with whom you have worked (reference) with contact info:

Applications will be assessed on the “quality” of responses, contact with referee/teacher, and parent/guardian support.

The Ocean Belongs to Everyone

A’koa’koa Scholarship Application 

Please complete the form to apply for a position with us.

Thanks for submitting!

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