Education News

Three New Fall Earth Institute Internships Announced

2008-10-02

Each semester, The Earth Institute offers a variety of research assistant and intern opportunities for Columbia students. Please see below for three internship descriptions. More internships will be announced in the coming weeks.

1. Global Roads Data Project
2. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Data Distribution Centre (DCC) at CIESIN-SEDAC
3. Impact Evaluation for Development Projects


1. Project Title: Global Roads Data Project

Location: Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), Geosciences Building, Lamont  Campus

Brief description of anticipated intern tasks: The intern will be working on the compilation of a global roads data set by first cataloging and evaluating existing national-level roads data sets, and then stitching together these roads data sets using a consistent data model. This work is conducted under the auspices of the CODATA Global Roads Data Development Working Group (http://www.codata.org/taskgroups/WGglobalroads/), of which the intern supervisor serves as a co-chair.

Skills Required: Basic GIS and data management skills are required. Advances GIS skills, particularly in the use of ESRI products (ArcGIS 9.x), preferred.

Type of student desired: undergraduate, graduate or PhD.

Internship start date: as soon as possible.

Internship end date: December 19, 2008.

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests and abilities and a resume. Only full-time students of Columbia University are eligible for this program. 

Please submit application materials to Betsy Ness-Edelstein at betsy@ei.columbia.edu by noon on Friday, October 10th.


2. Project Title: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Data Distribution Centre (DCC) at CIESIN-SEDAC

Location: Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), Geosciences Building, Lamont Campus

Brief description of anticipated intern tasks: Assessments of climate change impact require the establishment of some baseline period against which changes will be measured. Baseline data are required for the relevant climate variables and also for non-climatic information (for example, carbon dioxide concentration, soil characteristics, population, income levels, etc). Ideally, these various baseline data sets should all refer to the same time period, e.g., whether 1961-90 averages or the 1990 value. Current IPCC Socioeconomic Baseline Data Set distributed on the IPCC DDC was collated from a variety of sources such as the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The country and regional-level indicators of socioeconomic and resource variables were estimated at the beginning of the 1990s. They are badly out of date now. CIESIN-SEDAC has been working with IPCC TGICA on various strategies to update the data set.

Tasks: examine socioeconomic baseline data in the climate change impact assessments, research the current status of the IPCC Socioeconomic Baseline Data Set at IPCC DDC at http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/ddc/baseline/index.html, analyze the usage of the data set since its publication on the DDC, track all the variables/indicators in the current data set from the original or other data sources, and analyze permission issues of downloading and redistribution, download and compile the data to the standard format for distribution on the DDC, update other climate change-related data sets including observed impacts, scenario-based projected vulnerability and distribution, and modeling data such as from COSMIC 2.

Skills required: Web-based research skills, familiarity with MS Office (particularly Word and Excel), general background or interest in socioeconomic data and climate change issues. Knowledge of HTML preferred.

Type of student desired: undergraduate or graduate.

Internship start date: as soon as possible.

Internship end date: December 19, 2008.

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests and abilities and a resume. Only full-time students of Columbia University are eligible for this program. 

Please submit application materials to Betsy Ness-Edelstein at betsy@ei.columbia.edu by noon on Friday, October 10th.


3. Project Title: Impact Evaluation for Development Projects

Location: International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), Monell 222, Lamont Campus
Brief description of anticipated intern tasks: The intern supervisor is organizing a seminar series that will introduce scientists at the Earth Institute (EI) to the methods of impact evaluation. Expanding the practice of impact evaluations of projects carried out at EI is critical in order to translate the vast experience available at EI into recommendations for best practices in promoting sustainable development which can be communicated to others. The seminar series will be followed by a workshop designed to initiate research on innovations in methods needed in order to assess impacts of policies on progress toward sustainable development. The supervisor will focus particularly on using the seminar series and workshop to develop impact evaluations of interventions designed to improve climate risk management carried out at IRI.

The student would help the intern supervisor organize the seminar series and workshop. She would document the discussions that take place during the seminars, noting questions that arise from scientists at the EI and IRI. She would write up a record of these discussions and post them on the seminar website. The records would then be used to follow up on further information that people need. She would help the supervisor put together a list of references and perhaps summaries of literature to help address some questions. She would also help the supervisor put together an agenda for the workshop and organize the workshop. If she is interested, she could also become involved in planning impact evaluation projects the supervisor is currently developing or which will arise from the seminar series and more generally in developing an impact evaluation agenda for the IRI.

Specific tasks: attend seminars, document seminar discussions, write summaries, follow up to clarify questions, do literature searches, help with planning seminars and workshop, help with arrangements for and receiving visiting speakers.

Skills required: 1) good verbal and written communication skills, organizational skills, and attention to detail; 2) interest in climate risk management and development policy; 3) a background in statistics would be very helpful.

Type of student desired: undergraduate, graduate or PhD.

Internship start date: immediately.

Internship end date: April 2009

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests and abilities and a resume. Only full-time students of Columbia University are eligible for this program. 

Please submit application materials to Betsy Ness-Edelstein at betsy@ei.columbia.edu by noon on Friday, October 10th.