Education News

Summer Internship Announcement

2010-04-13

The Earth Institute Office of Academic and Research Programs is pleased to announce this year’s Earth Institute Summer Internship Program positions. Through the program, students can apply for full-time summer internships within one of the many divisions of the Earth Institute. Internships are available for both undergraduate and graduate students, and all positions are paid. 

Please note that only current students of Columbia University and Barnard College are eligible. See below for descriptions of 13 internship opportunities. All positions pay $15 per hour and are typically 35 hours per week for 10 weeks.

Applicants should submit a resume that details their relevant work and educational experiences and a cover letter stating their interests, qualifications and the internship for which they are applying. All applicants must state the name of the internship in the subject line of the email.

Please submit all application materials to Annemarie Eimicke at aeimicke@ei.columbia.edu by noon on Monday, April 26. Please note that applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

  1. Student Intern, Funding Initiatives
  2. Climate Matters Blogger
  3. Reconstructing Deglacial Shifts in the Pacific ITCZ
  4. Extractive Industries, Poverty Reduction and Sustainable
  5. Determining Changes in Riverine and Eolian Sedimentation on the Northwest African Coast Over the Last 15,000 Years
  6. MDG7: Assessing the Relation Between Environmental Sustainability and Poverty Alleviation
  7. Deriving Environmental Indicators From Satellite Data
  8. Laboratory investigation of Deformation of Viscoelastic Materials From the Fluid Emplacement Below
  9. Director’s Office Intern
  10. Haiti Regeneration Initiative: Land Degradation Surveillance Framework
  11. Haiti Regeneration Initiative: Erosion and Engineering
  12. Urban Design Lab Internship
  13. Water Management/Rivers and Estuaries

1. Project Title: Student Intern, Funding Initiatives

Department/Center: Office of Funding Initiatives
Internship Start Date: Mid-May
Internship End Date: Mid-August
Student Education Level: Undergraduate or Graduate

The student intern will assist with annual fund, major donor, corporate and foundation fundraising activities. The intern’s time will be split between managing a specific project or two, performing routine organizational tasks, and helping to staff events. Tasks include but are not limited to: mailing list and database cleaning and updating, prospect research, and other administrative and research duties as needed. Work is based in our offices in Hogan Hall; some off-site work is possible.

The ideal candidate is pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in a field related to the Earth Institute’s mission, or has a strong interest in Earth Institute activities. The candidate is required to have knowledge of Microsoft Word/Excel and comfort with database software. The ideal candidate is creative, highly detail-oriented and able to multitask. He or she must also possess strong interpersonal, writing and proofreading skills, and the ability to organize information for effective presentation. Strong project management skills and the ability to work independently with little supervision are essential. Interest or experience in fundraising is also a plus.

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2. Project Title: Climate Matters Blogger

Department/Center: Columbia Climate Center
Internship Start Date: Mid-May
Internship End Date: Mid-August
Student Education Level: Undergraduate or Graduate

The Columbia Climate Center is looking for an intern to contribute to our blog. The intern will research, write and get credit for each piece they contribute. Blog topics are up to the writer—everything from climate science to policy to health to energy efficiency and more is fair game. The intern will do the bulk of the work during set hours here in our offices. There are several research projects in which the intern could take part, but the intern’s primary task will be to produce blog posts, which involves research, critical thinking and writing skills, and will also deepen the intern’s climate knowledge in specific topics.

Skills Required:
Excellent writing and communication skills; an interest or experience in climate science, environmental science, climate and energy policy, and communication.

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3. Project Title: Reconstructing Deglacial Shifts in the Pacific ITCZ

Department/Center: Lamont-Doherty
Internship Start Date: June 1, 2010
Internship End Date: August 30, 2010
Student Education Level: Undergraduate

The Reconstructing Deglacial Shifts in the Pacific ITCZ project will use Mg/Ca and d180 analyses of planktonic foraminfers in deep-sea sediment cores from the equatorial Pacific to reconstruct past changes in ocean temperature and salinity gradients along a north-south transect spanning 15N to 15S. The work will determine how far the ITCZ moved away from its current position near the equator during the early Holocene (9K) and last glacial maximum (21K).

The student will be responsible for sampling approximately 7 to 10 sediment cores over the 0 to 25 ka BP interval (upper 100cm) at 2cm resolution. These raw samples will be washed, sieved and picked for the planktonic foram G. rubber, a surface ocean dwelling species.

The position requires a very careful, detail-oriented person for shell-picking work. Ideally, the student will have some prior lab and chemistry background, such as one year of basic chemistry, and some prior class work in paleoclimate or climate change, though this is not required. The project requires a focused student capable of managing multiple tasks.

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4. Project Title: Extractive Industries, Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development

Department/Center: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
Internship Start Date: Flexible
Internship End Date: Flexible
Student Education Level: Graduate or Ph.D.

In 2010, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment is primarily focusing on the formulation of a sustainable investment framework for the extractive industry that promotes sustainable economic development and the mutual trust needed for long-term investments. The framework will focus on challenges of governance (e.g. fair and efficient negotiations, contracts, policy framework, official capacity, anticorruption and transparency) and poverty reduction (e.g. community health, education, business development, infrastructure, and promoting economic development and human rights at the community and country levels).

The VCC is seeking student researchers to assist with the preparation of materials and tools for promoting sustainability in the extractive sector and for creating a framework for extractive industry investments in sustainable development. The student researchers will be involved in all stages of the research project, including an extensive literature review, expert and stakeholder consultations, mapping of mining sites and poverty indicators, and drafting of materials. Students will have the opportunity to continue working on the project during the fall of 2010.

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5. Project Title: Determining Changes in Riverine and Eolian Sedimentation on the Northwest African Coast Over the Last 15,000 Years

Department/Center: Lamont-Doherty
Internship Start Date: May 17, 2010 (flexible)
Internship End Date: August 13, 2010 (flexible)
Student Education Level: Undergraduate

The intern will conduct grain size measurements to determine the relative proportions of riverine and wind-borne sediments in two sediment cores from the African coast. These results will be used to determine changes in precipitation, wind and vegetation patterns in North Africa over the last 15,000 years. The work will involve a series of chemical procedures to remove carbonates, opal and organic carbon from each sample, followed by the use of a Sedigraph particle size analyzer to measure the grain size distribution of the sediments. Student must exhibit willingness to learn laboratory procedures and conduct them carefully; some background in chemistry and/or earth science is a plus. Students must also have basic knowledge of Microsoft Excel.

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6. Project Title: MDG7: Assessing the Relation Between Environmental Sustainability and Poverty Alleviation

Department/Center: Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment Program, Millennium Villages Project
Internship Start Date: June 1, 2010
Internship End Date: August 30, 2010
Student Education Level: Undergraduate, Graduate or Ph.D.

In 2005, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment concluded that better management of biodiversity and ecosystem services (BDES) has the potential to contribute significantly to alleviation of rural poverty. The mechanisms that make this the case, however, are neither well understood nor outlined in Millennium Development Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability. The intern will assist in analyzing the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services and the improvement of rural livelihoods using social and environmental data collected in the Millennium Villages project over the last five years. Specifically, he or she will map and quantify the availability of current and past biodiversity and ecosystem services. The maps and analysis of the relationship between poverty and other indicators of human well-being, biodiversity and ecosystem services will be used to build predictive models and management tools.

The student should be familiar with Microsoft Access, R, Stata, ArcGIS and remote sensing analysis. It is also desirable that the student demonstrates interest in the environment and development.

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7. Project Title: Deriving Environmental Indicators From Satellite Data

Department/Center: CIESIN
Internship Start Date: Mid-May
Internship End Date: Mid-August
Student Education Level: Undergraduate or Graduate

The intern will be responsible for processing time series (composite) satellite remote sensing data from different instruments to produce national-level indicators of changes in coastal water quality (from SeaWiFS data) and biomass burning (from MODIS data) in order to produce national level indicators of state and change for these two variables. This work is in support of a NASA Decisions Grant on Satellite Indicators and will yield indicators of use to national-level decision makers, aid agencies such as the World Bank and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and for reports such as the Yale/CIESIN-Columbia Environmental Performance Index

Skills Required:
Quick learner with moderate to advanced GIS skills (ArcGIS 9.X only).
Familiarity with remote sensing methods and tools (e.g. ENVI or IDL), remote sensing data, and environmental indicators preferred but not required.

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8. Project Title: Laboratory investigation of Deformation of Viscoelastic Materials From the Fluid Emplacement Below

Department/Center: Oceanography, Lamont-Doherty
Internship Start Date: Mid-May
Internship End Date: Mid-August
Student Education Level: Undergraduate or Graduate

This project aims to quantify the heat transfer from water to ice using simple laboratory experiments in turbulent water flow. The student will be responsible for setting up the experiments, collecting data and interpreting data. We anticipate using a forward-looking infrared camera and other digital cameras to look at boundary layer structure via thermal profiling and particle velocimetry. The broader implications include understanding the heat lost or gained as water flows through or beneath glaciers.

Skills Required:
The student should be familiar with spreadsheets. Familiarity with MATLAB is desirable. A background in physics, math, mechanical or civil engineering, or applied environmental science is essential.

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9. Project Title: Director’s Office Intern

Department/Center: Director’s Office
Internship Start Date: Start of semester
Internship End Date: End of semester
Student Education Level: Undergraduate or Graduate

The Director’s Office intern will be responsible for writing, editing and producing print and online communication materials. She or he will provide support on new Director’s Office Initiatives such as assisting in organizing high level meetings, drafting materials and presentations, researching, etc. In addition, the internship will involve significant day-to-day administrative and office support.

Specific Responsibilities Include:

  1. Overall maintenance of CGHED’s website
  2. Providing research and editorial support on grant reports and proposals
  3. General support of special projects and new initiatives for the Director’s Office
  4. Help to develop and package Standard Operating Procedures related to Columbia Administration. Finance/Funding Initiatives; work directly with CGHED and DO teams to educate staff on new processes
  5. Lead effort to generate content for the Earth Institute’s blog and newsletter on special initiatives of the Director’s Office
  6. Administrative work and office support

The position requires that the student be an organized, creative, positive and outgoing self-starter and team-player. The candidate must exhibit strong writing, editing and design skills. The candidate should have prior experience working in a professional office environment and an interest in international development or global public health.

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10. Project Title: Haiti Regeneration Initiative: Land Degradation Surveillance Framework

Department/Center: Lamont-Doherty
Internship Start Date: May 15, 2010
Internship End Date: September 1, 2010
Student Education Level: Undergraduate, Graduate or Ph.D.

The Haiti Regeneration Initiative is seeking an intern to support the cleaning, processing and analysis of soils and vegetative cover data from the Land Degradation Surveillance Framework survey. The LDSF will be carried out throughout the Port-à-Piment watershed, located in the southwestern part of Haiti. This is part of a broader effort for creating a long-term strategy and concept design for the Haiti Regeneration Initiative, a joint project between the Earth Institute and the United Nations. The initiative is a 20-year effort that seeks to build and support a national movement in Haiti, integrating technical and comprehensive understanding of underlying environmental vulnerabilities.

The intern will work directly with researchers from the Center on Tropical Agriculture and CIESIN to analyze the results from soil samples and vegetative cover from the Port-à-Piment watershed. The student will begin by finalizing data cleaning and becoming familiar with LDSF’s methodology. Subsequently the intern will combine statistical with spatial analysis and mapping of the above-mentioned data. The expected output will be a report and comprehensive analysis of findings from the field research that outlines main recommendations for planning, strategies, and prioritization for local development within the watershed.

The candidate should have a major or minor in earth sciences, environmental science or a relevant discipline, with understanding of social science research methods. The candidate should exhibit strong quantitative and qualitative data analysis skills, including familiarity with statistical software package and content analysis programs, including strong GIS mapping skills. The student should have skills in French, with Haitian Creole a plus. The student should have strong writing and interpersonal skills with a flexibility to adapt to the project’s needs.

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11. Project Title: Haiti Regeneration Initiative: Erosion and Engineering

Department/Center: Lamont-Doherty
Internship Start Date: May 15, 2010
Internship End Date: September 1, 2010
Student Education Level: Undergraduate, Graduate or Ph.D.

The Haiti Regeneration Initiative is looking for an intern to support new research and analysis on methods for preventing erosion in Haiti’s predominately steep slopes. This is part of a broader effort for creating a long-term strategy and concept design for the Haiti Regeneration Initiative, a joint project between the Earth Institute and the United Nations. The initiative is a 20-year effort that seeks to build and support a national movement in Haiti, integrating technical and comprehensive understanding of underlying environmental vulnerabilities.

The intern will work directly with researchers from Lamont-Doherty, CIESIN and the Water Center to compile a report comparing techniques for stemming erosion on steep slopes. They will create a report on best practices internationally and a second report as an inventory on natural vegetation and natural erosion barriers as well as human construction potential. The second phase of the internship will integrate the data from the LDSF survey, spatial data and environmental resource planning. The objective of the position is to integrate conservation and engineering solutions with broader environmental restoration concepts.

The ideal candidate will have strong GIS and spatial analysis skills, environmental engineering coursework or training, and knowledge of ecosystem restoration and/or ecosystem services. The candidate should possess strong writing and interpersonal skills and the flexibility to adapt to project needs. The student should be proficient in French.

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12. Project Title: Urban Design Lab Internship

Department/Center: Urban Design Lab
Internship Start Date: May 15, 2010
Internship End Date: September 1, 2010
Student Education Level: Undergraduate, Graduate or Ph.D.

The Urban Design Lab is seeking a candidate with a design or engineering background who displays strong verbal and writing skills and is able to aid in public presentations. The candidate will assist in preparing materials and research data. Knowledge of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Adobe Creative Suite, Word and PowerPoint PC software is preferred. Experience with performing systems life-cycle analyses preferred. Selected candidates will be asked to present a portfolio of previous work for the interview.

The candidate will be working on several projects including Sustainable Urban Agriculture: Confirming Viable Scenarios for Production and Climate Change as it Relates to the New York City Neighborhoods in Upper Manhattan.

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13. Project Title: Water Management/Rivers and Estuaries

Department/Center: Rivers and Estuaries/Columbia Green Roof Consortium
Internship Start Date: May 15, 2010
Internship End Date: September 1, 2010
Student Education Level: Undergraduate, Graduate or Ph.D.

The internship will involve the study of water management/rivers and estuaries, with a focus on field and lab work. One potential project is below:

Human populations are intimately tied to water resources, which provide numerous ecosystem services. Balancing the health, economic and recreational pressures of waterfront/watershed development is challenging, especially with predicted population expansion of major urban centers and the uncertainties presented by global climate change. The interconnected waterways of northern Manhattan, consisting of the Harlem, East and Hudson Rivers, surround a complex mixture of industrial, commercial, urban and rural residential development.

Brief Description of Anticipated Intern Tasks:
Water chemical analysis, field work in aquatic systems, data analysis and presentation

Skills Required:
Lab or field experience, data analysis and synthesis

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