Education News

Spring Climate Change Adaptation Internships Announcement

2009-01-07

This spring the Earth Institute is offering Columbia students opportunities to work both on campus and throughout the city on climate change adaptation projects focusing on the New York Tri-State Region through the Earth Institute Climate Change Adaptation Initiative. Please see below for thirteen (13) internship opportunities. All positions pay $15 per hour and are typically 10 hours per week. Start and end dates are flexible. Please submit application materials to Robin DeJong, robin@ei.columbia.edu, by noon (12:00 pm) on Wednesday, January 28. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

  1. New York City Panel on Climate Change & New York State Adaptation Strategies
  2. Coping with the risk of hurricane landfall in the NYC area
  3. Urban Securities/Congestion Pricing Impact Study
  4. Anthropogenic and Natural Carbon in Our Atmosphere: NYC Air Quality in our Changing Climate
  5. Urban Forest Restoration Planning
  6. Urban Forest Restoration Ecology Assessment
  7. Wetland and stream resources in NYC: monitoring, protection and management priorities in the face of land use and climate change
  8. Assessing Climate Change on Infrastructure and a Green-Collar Workforce
  9. Precipitation extremes and flood potential under climate change
  10. Health vulnerabilities and Adaptations to Climate Change in New York State
  11. Program in Climate and Health
  12. Research Assistant to the Earth Institute Executive Director
  13. Green Jobs Research Survey

1. New York City Panel on Climate Change & New York State Adaptation Strategies

Organization:   Center for Climate Systems Research (CCSR)
Office Location:  Armstrong Hall, 2880 Broadway

Brief description of anticipated intern tasks: The team at CCSR is currently involved in several city, state, federal and global projects surrounding climate change adaptation. We research climate change science and impacts, and work to ensure sound adaptation planning using the latest scientific data. We work closely with other researchers; policymakers; and public, non-profit and private stakeholders.

Currently our work is centered around several city and state level adaptation projects, including facilitating the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC), a team of climate change and adaptation experts advising the City's Climate Change Adaptation Task Force formed around the first climate change initiative of New York City's PlaNYC; leading a state-wide integrated assessment on the effectiveness of climate change adaptation strategies coordinated by NYSERDA; conducting a sea-level rise impacts and adaptation assessment study with the Long Island Nature Conservancy; and working on other key studies in the region. We work with all sectors, but focus primarily on coastal zones, infrastructure, and water resources.

An intern at CCSR would be integral in improving the coordinating mechanisms between these various projects to ensure consistency in data use and planning across all sectors and at all levels. Work will include: providing support to CCSR's Project Manager; finalizing report documents; preparing for key meetings; communicating and interacting with key partners, including the City's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, Environmental Research division at NYSERDA, Coastal Program at the Nature Conservancy, other academic institutions, and the private sector. Coordination with interns at the Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability would be essential to facilitate our close work on the NPCC and NYSERDA projects.

Skills Required:
- Graduate level
- 2-3 years minimum of work experience
- Exhibit excellent written and oral communication skills
- Hold a strong knowledge of climate change science, and the current New york City and State policy environment
- Work effectively in a fast-paced environment 

Type of Student desired: Graduate     

Internship start date:   February 2, 2009
Internship end date:     April 30, 2009

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests, abilities, student enrollment status and graduation date, along with a writing sample and a resume.

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2. Coping with the risk of hurricane landfall in the NYC area

Organization:   Departments of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Office Location:  217 Mudd (Morningside), 204 Oceanography (LDEO)

Brief description of anticipated research assistant tasks: Research NYC and surrounding region's emergency and mitigation planning for hurricane events. Determine policy gaps and opportunities for additional support, particularly in the context of recent scientific advances. Assess the needs of policy makers and planners in mitigating hurricane impacts and, if possible, develop basic tools to address those needs. If appropriate, work might emphasize particular sector(s) (e.g. water, energy, transportation, health services, etc.) based on student's interest and experience.

Skills Required: Understanding of basic statistics and applications for policy analysis. Ability to work with data on computers. Basic quantitative skills. Interest in the impacts of climate and weather on society. Knowledge of emergency, environmental and/or local planning or policy an advantage.

Type of Student desired: Undergraduate or Graduate

Research Assistantship start date:   February 2, 2009
Research Assistantship end date:     May 15, 2009

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests, abilities, student enrollment status and graduation date, along with a resume.

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3. Urban Securities/Congestion Pricing Impact Study

Organization:   Urban Design Lab  
Office Location:  2910 Broadway, Hogan Hall 

Brief description of anticipated research assistant tasks: The Urban Design Lab is the organization within the Earth Institute that connects the University’s experts in a number of fields with dedicated students and communities in New York City and elsewhere. The Urban Design Lab conducts projects for community-based and other stakeholder organizations attempting to shape development in their home neighborhoods. The Research Assistant will work on several projects in the preliminary stages of development. The RA will conduct research and coordinate with the Lab’s partners to move these projects forward. One project entails study of urban redevelopment in Upper Manhattan; another climate and health-related issues in East Harlem. The project Urban Securities is investigating ways in which urban areas in general must respond to challenges of growth and globalization. Through a series of multidisciplinary forums and publications Urban Securities will outline practical solutions at the policy and community levels.

Skills Required: Apart from web and library-based research skills, the applicant should possess excellent writing skills and be able to manage English-language editing and copy-editing tasks related to project work. At the end of the spring term the candidate will have the possibility to summarize his/her experience in a conference.

Type of Student desired: Graduate     

Research Assistantship start date:   February 2, 2009
Research Assistantship end date:     May 15, 2009

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests, abilities, student enrollment status and graduation date, along with a writing sample and a resume.

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4. NYC Air Quality

Organization:   Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering
Office Location:  401 Comer, Palisades, NY 10964/905E Mudd

Brief description of anticipated research assistant tasks: The Earth Institute at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has a research Program to make Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Observation. This is a research project on atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) using climate monitoring stations. The network provides real time and archived CO2 and meteorological data for researchers, students, the general public, and policy makers. The present climate is used to understand how CO2 levels in New York City and the surrounding suburbs and rural areas are controlled by three major factors: trees, people, and the weather. This project would look at the effects of climate change, human behavior and the natural ecosystem on sources, sinks and fate of air quality and greenhouse gasses in NYC and its surrounding regions. This knowledge will help develop our understanding on changes in the health of our environment in the future. Instrument use, field work and data collection would be a component of this project.

Skills Required: Data Entry & Processing, Report Writing

Type of Student desired: Undergraduate or Graduate

Research Assistantship start date:   February 2, 2009
Research Assistantship end date:     May 15, 2009 with possibility of extension

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests, abilities, student enrollment status and graduation date, along with a resume.

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5. Urban Forest Restoration Planning

Organization:   Natural Resources Group, NYC Dept of Parks & Recreation
Office Location:  Arsenal North, 1234 5th Ave (at 104th Street), NY, NY, 10029

PlaNYC Reforestation is one of 127 initiatives launched by Mayor Bloomberg on Earth Day 2007 to make New York City greener and greater by 2030. The reforestation initiative builds on the forest restoration work that NYC Dept of Parks and Recreation Natural Resources Group (NRG) has been conducting since 1984. PlaNYC Reforestation has increased the scale and scope of forest restoration in New York City, committing the City to forest 2,000 acres of public land by 2017. Expanding forested areas within New York City will help to improve environmental quality within the city today, and help us adapt to climate change in the future. Some of the expected benefits of reforestation include reduction of the urban heat island effect, improvement of air quality, reduction of stormwater surges, and improvement of species diversity and habitat quality within the City.

Brief description of anticipated intern tasks: The Earth Institute intern would assist with planning and evaluation of the PlaNYC Reforestation initiative by evaluating GIS data on parks and open space across New York City. The intern would work on evaluating data on existing and potential forest restoration sites in GIS, as well as going into the field to evaluate potential forest restoration sites. The responsibilities of the intern would include:
• Conduct a literature review of urban forest restoration projects and corresponding research in cities around the world;
• Assist with reviewing GIS data collected on 2,300 acres with potential for forest restoration;
• Contribute to the MillionTreesNYC research and evaluation subcommittee;
• Assist NRG in evaluating potential reforestation sites, including site visits to potential forest restoration sites, and evaluation of data in GIS; and
• Collect baseline data on the ecology of recently planted sites.

Skills Required:
• Undergraduate studies in ecology, forestry, botany, conservation biology, or a related subject
• Knowledge and experience working with ESRI ArcInfo GIS
• Coursework or work experience in field data collection, study design, or monitoring
• Strong interest in urban ecology
• Ability to work independently
 
Type of Student desired: Graduate     

Internship start date:   February 2, 2009
Internship end date:     May 15, 2009

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests, abilities, student enrollment status and graduation date, along with a resume.

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6. Urban Forest Restoration Ecology Assessment

Organization:   Natural Resources Group, NYC Dept of Parks & Recreation
Office Location:  Arsenal North, 1234 5th Ave (at 104th Street), NY, NY, 10029

PlaNYC Reforestation is one of 127 initiatives launched by Mayor Bloomberg on Earth Day 2007 to make New York City greener and greater by 2030. The reforestation initiative builds on the forest restoration work that NYC Dept of Parks and Recreation Natural Resources Group (NRG) has been conducting since 1984. PlaNYC Reforestation has increased the scale and scope of forest restoration in New York City, committing the City to forest 2,000 acres of public land by 2017. Expanding forested areas within New York City will help to improve environmental quality within the city today, and help us adapt to climate change in the future. Some of the expected benefits of reforestation include reduction of the urban heat island effect, improvement of air quality, reduction of stormwater surges, and improvement of species diversity and habitat quality within the City.

Brief description of anticipated intern tasks: The Earth Institute intern would assist with research and evaluation of urban forest restoration by collecting data on two large scale forest restoration sites in Queens. Starting in spring 2009, two large scale forest restoration projects will begin in Flushing Meadows Corona Park and Kissena Corridor. The intern would assist in evaluating this ecological restoration. The intern may also research and collect data on the carbon sequestration capacity of soils and woody plants in urban forests, and the impact of urban forest restoration on mitigating climate change. There is a possibility of extending the internship into the summer.

The responsibilities of the intern would include:
• Conduct a literature review of urban forest restoration research and mitigation of climate change;
• Collect field data on species diversity, particularly of various plant communities, and environmental quality in and around the forest restoration site;
• Work with Parks NRG and academic partners in developing research questions and a research method to evaluate the impact of two reforestation projects in Queens.

Skills Required:
• Undergraduate studies in ecology, forestry, botany, conservation biology, or a related subject
• Coursework or work experience in field data collection, study design, or monitoring
• Strong interest in urban ecology
• Excellent writing skills
• Ability to work independently
 
Type of Student desired: Graduate     

Internship start date:   February 2, 2009
Internship end date:     May 15, 2009 with possibility of extension

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests, abilities, student enrollment status and graduation date, along with a resume.

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7. Wetland and Stream Resources in NYC: monitoring, protection and management priorities in the face of land use and climate change

Organization:   Natural Resources Group, NYC Dept of Parks & Recreation and the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology
Office Location:  Arsenal North, 1234 5th Ave (at 104th Street), NY, NY, 10029

Brief description of anticipated intern tasks: The Natural Resources Group's (NRG) mission is to conserve New York City's natural resources for the benefit of ecosystem and public health through acquisition, management, restoration, and advocacy using a scientifically supported and sustainable research.  NRG is currently developing a riparian and freshwater wetlands monitoring and assessment program with funding from the U.S. EPA. The goals of this project include: characterizing the functions, conditions of and threats to urban freshwater wetland resources, prioritizing wetlands for protection, identifying management and protection strategies, and establishing baseline monitoring in wetlands to assess adjacent land use and management and potential climate change impacts.

The Earth Institute intern would help evaluate the methodologies used, data collected, and GIS layers developed to date and help develop and verify the protection and restoration recommendations for the wetlands being studied. At NRG, they will work for the project manager and ecologist, and receive research guidance as appropriate from Matt Palmer at Columbia.  The intern(s) will have the opportunity to work on one of two different components of the project, depending on their skills and research interests. 

For the landscape level component, the intern would help develop a GIS-based analysis of past and future land use impacts to wetlands. This analysis could look at land cover types, drainage infrastructure, development patterns, potential climate change impacts including those from stormwater runoff, and future protection and restoration opportunities, including the adoption of low impact development.   

Alternatively, for the local field scale project component, the intern would help develop and implement baseline riparian and wetland monitoring protocols that would be used to assess ecological conditions and answer specific research or management questions citywide.  The intern would have the possibility of continuing this research during the summer of 2009 as a research assistant funded by the EPA grant. 

Skills Required:
• Coursework in ecology, conservation biology, hydrology, geology, planning OR related subjects
• experience with ESRI ArcInfo GIS (if applying for GIS aspect of project)
• coursework or work experience in field data collection, study design, or monitoring (if applying for field work component of project)
• strong analytic,  organizational and writing skills
• strong interest in urban wetland and stream conservation
• ability to work independently
 
Type of Student desired: Undergraduate or Graduate     

Internship start date:   February 2, 2009
Internship end date:     May 15, 2009 with possibility of extension

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests, abilities, student enrollment status and graduation date, along with a writing sample and a resume.

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8. Assessing Climate Change on Infrastructure and a Green-Collar Workforce

Organization:   Sustainable South Bronx
Office Location:  890 Garrison Ave., 4th Ave, Bronx, NY 10474

Brief description of anticipated research assistant tasks: The Research Assistant will analyze the ability to implement climate change adaptation infrastructure as consistent with PlaNYC and community-based planning processes. The RA will research how funding behind major development projects, including the proposed South Bronx Jail and Yankee Stadium, could alternatively be used to promote the implementation of climate change adaptation strategies. To this end, the RA will first review existing information around the financing of the South Bronx Jail and Yankee Stadium. Second, the RA will review potential green jobs opportunities that could create pathways out of poverty for the South Bronx as consistent with PLANYC and community-based planning processes, including brownfield remediation, vegetated stormwater management, energy efficiency/retrofitting, solid waste management, related job training and education, and other environmental infrastructure that mitigates climate change and improves public health. The research may integrate with a Health Impact Assessment that may be performed by Sustainable South Bronx and partners.

Skills Required: Knowledge of finance, social enterprise, cost-benefit analysis, public policy, economics, law, land use planning, or real estate are preferable.

Type of Student desired: Undergraduate or Graduate

Research Assistantship start date:   February 2, 2009
Research Assistantship end date:     May 15, 2009

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests, abilities, student enrollment status and graduation date, along with a resume.

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9. Precipitation Extremes and Flood Potential Under Climate Change

Organization:   Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Office Location:  Palisades, NY

Brief description of anticipated research assistant tasks: Climate change projections indicate high likelihood for increase in precipitation extremes (more intense rainfall) and therefore floods. Focusing on the future change in the Northeast we will apply various statistical analysis techniques to determine the distribution of extreme events and their link to so-called "large scale" climate indices. Work of the RA will be focused on analysis of available precipitation and streamflow records in the Northeast US and on climate model output.

Skills Required: Use of computer and data analysis software tools such as MATLAB or at least Excel. Some knowledge of statistics or prior experience in analyzing data should be helpful.

Type of Student desired: Undergraduate or Graduate     

Research Assistantship start date:   February 2, 2009
Research Assistantship end date:     May 15, 2009 with possibility of extension

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests, abilities, student enrollment status and graduation date, along with a resume.

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10. Health Vulnerabilities and Adaptations to Climate Change in New York State

Organization:   Climate and Health Program, Mailman School of Public Health
Office Location:  60 Haven Ave.

Brief description of anticipated research assistant tasks: Research Assistant will assist in the development of vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans for the public health sector in New York State related to climate change. RA will assist in literature reviews, data gathering, and case study development. RA will be responsible for organizing meetings of the project team with interested stakeholders from the government, academia, private sector, and NGO communities in NYS. RA will assist with report development.

Skills Required: Analytical and writing skills will be valuable. Ability to work independently with regular but limited supervision. Ability to meet project deadlines.

Type of Student desired: Undergraduate (preferred) or Graduate

Research Assistantship start date:   February 2, 2009
Research Assistantship end date:     May 15, 2009 with possibility of extension

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests, abilities, student enrollment status and graduation date, along with a writing sample and a resume.

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11. Program in Climate and Health

Organization:   Climate and Health Program, Mailman School of Public Health
Office Location:  60 Haven Ave.

Brief description of anticipated intern tasks: Intern will work with Dr. Patrick Kinney to develop the launch strategy for the Program in Climate and Health at Mailman School of Public Health. Tasks for which the intern will take responsibility may include: event planning and marketing, coordination of visiting lectures, website content development, graphic design, writing of communications materials, and outreach to stakeholder organizations.

Skills Required: Strong writing and verbal skills. Ability to work independently with regular but limited supervision. Ability to meet project deadlines. Graphic design experience a plus.

Type of Student desired: Graduate

Internship start date:   February 2, 2009
Internship end date:     May 15, 2009 with possibility of extension

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests, abilities, student enrollment status and graduation date, along with a writing sample and a resume.

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12. Research Assistant to the Earth Institute Executive Director

Organization:   Earth Institute
Office Location:  1408 IAB

Brief description of anticipated research assistant tasks: The Executive Director of the Earth Institute is seeking a graduate research assistant with a strong background in reporting, research and journalism. The RA will assist the Executive Director with:
 
- Literature reviews
- Research for papers and books
- Copy editing
- Fact checking
- Feature stories for mainstream media outlets

Skills Required: The ideal candidate must have experience in journalism, reporting and communication skills, attention to detail, extensive research experience and the ability to meet deadlines.

Type of Student desired: Graduate (MPA student preferred)

Research Assistantship start date:   February 2, 2009
Research Assistantship end date:     August 2009

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests, abilities, student enrollment status and graduation date, along with a writing sample of no more than two pages and a resume.

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13. Green Jobs Research Survey

Organization:   WE ACT for Environmental Justice
Office Location:  271 W. 125th Street, Suite 308, New York, NY 10027

Brief description of anticipated intern tasks: A comprehensive survey of efforts that are being advanced nationwide around green jobs. Cataloguing what organizations are engaged in the green jobs dialogue through creating programs or advocating for policy; what legislation is being crafted at the state and national level of green jobs. Survey definitions for green jobs through analyzing what workforces are engaged in the dialogue on green jobs and what jobs have been included in green job advocacy efforts and draft legislation. Identify and analyze gaps in green job training and infrastructure mapping.

Skills Required:
-Good understanding of government structure and interaction between state/city governments and regulatory agencies
-Knowledge of economics and workforce development
-Solid research skills
-Clear, effective writer
-Knowledge of climate change and climate science
-Interest in public health would be helpful
-Good public speaking skills or interest in developing those skills

Type of Student desired:   Undergraduate or Graduate     

Internship start date: February 2, 2009
Internship end date: May 15, 2009

To apply, students must provide a cover letter stating their interests, abilities, student enrollment status and graduation date, along with a resume.

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Please submit application materials to Robin DeJong at robin@ei.columbia.edu by noon (12:00pm) on Wednesday, January 28th. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.