Education News

Summer 2011 Announcement: Internship Positions

2011-05-20

This summer the Earth Institute, Columbia University is offering Columbia students opportunities to intern within various departments and research centers at the Earth Institute. All full-time Columbia and Barnard students are eligible to apply for internships. These internships are funded at a rate of $15/hr for 35 hours per week and up to a maximum of 420 hrs for summer 2011. Please see below for the descriptions of two internship opportunities.

To apply:
Please note the different application procedures and type of student requested for each internship.  While you may apply for more than one position, you must submit separate applications. Decisions will be made shortly after the deadline.

  1. Haiti Regeneration Initiative: Monitoring and Evaluation
  2. The ULTRA-Ex: Exploring Linkages between Ecosystem Services, Public Health and the Green Area Factor in New York City

Please note that students who are awarded internships will be expected to participate in the Earth Institute Student Research Showcase, which takes place in the spring.

1. Haiti Regeneration Initiative (HRI): Monitoring and Evaluation

Department/Center: CIESIN

Project summary:
The Haiti Regeneration Initiative (HRI) aims to reduce poverty and vulnerability to natural disasters through the restoration of ecosystems and livelihoods based on sustainable natural resource management. Some thematic intervention areas include agriculture and forestry sustainability, land use management, sustainable energy alternatives, improved access to health services, improved access to education systems, improved disaster risk reduction programs, environmental awareness and behavior, to name a few. This initiative is being strengthened by strong synergies among multiple Earth Institute’s departments, the United Nations Environment Programme, and local, regional and national Haitian agencies and NGOs. The geographic focus area of the initiative is the southwestern coast of Haiti.

Brief description of anticipated intern tasks:
During the summer, the Haiti Regeneration Initiative will conduct a household baseline study in the southwestern part of Haiti. This study aims to be representative of the agro-ecological zones as well as the prevailing socioeconomic conditions of the region.  The Haiti Regeneration Initiative seeks a summer intern to assist during the planning and preparation processes of the socioeconomic household survey, as well as with data editing and management of the multi-sector facilities inventory in Haiti. The intern will be directly exposed to the design and preparation processes of a socioeconomic study, which incorporates a broad array of sectors and actors within the Earth Institute. He/she will provide valuable support during the coordination/sharing and preparation of training material and field-testing of tools. The internship offers the opportunity of hands on experience of data collection using an ODK and online sharing platform for android phones. At the end of the internship, the student will be familiar with the use of innovative mechanisms and tools during the data collection and management processes.
Field work in Haiti is possible, but not guaranteed.

Specific tasks could potentially include:

  • Conduct research tasks to incorporate Haitian standards during the development of the socio-economic household tool.
  • Participate in the development of the socio-economic household xform, to be uploaded into android phones.
  • Participate during the testing and adjustment process of household xforms, using android phones.
  • Data cleaning of tabular data collected during the cross-sector facilities inventory.
  • Data cleaning and editing of GIS data sets collected during the facilities inventory.
  • Support during the development of indicators, based on previously cleaned data sets.
  • Participate in the incorporation of indicators into the Haiti Information System, to be shared with partners in Haiti.

Skills required:
The student should be skillful in both GIS software and statistical software. ArcGIS and STATA (respectively) are preferred. Previous experience with any/some of the following processes is required: data entry, data cleaning, data processing, data analysis or development of indicators. The ideal intern is a detailed oriented person, with creative skills as to solve potential problems. He/she is able to meet deadlines and work under a fast-paced environment.

Skills preferred:
The preferred intern will have previous experience working in integrated, multi-sectoral research and/or development related projects. Although fluency in French and/or Creole is not required, the ability to understand some of it will facilitate the work, to some extent.

Type of student desired:  Graduate or Ph.D

Internship start date: As soon as possible

Internship end date: August 2011

To Apply:
To apply for this position, please complete the online application available here:
http://fs21.formsite.com/earthinstitute/form19/index.html

Student must provide a cover letter stating their interests and abilities, a resume and application by May 20th, 2011 at 5PM.  All full-time Columbia and Barnard students are eligible to apply for this internship.

2. The ULTRA-Ex: Exploring Linkages between Ecosystem Services, Public Health and the Green Area Factor in New York City

Department/Center: Urban Design Lab and CRED

Project summary:
“The ULTRA-Ex: Exploring Linkages Between Ecosystem Services, Public Health and the Green Area Factor in New York City” is the product of a long term collaboration between (i) Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), (ii) School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), (iii) Urban Design Laboratory (UDL), (iv) Center for Climate Systems Research (CSSR), (v) Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology (EEEB), (vi) Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) and (vii) Office of Environmental Stewardship (OES). The ULTRA-Ex community partners will include Sustainable South Bronx, Go Green East Harlem, Friends of Morningside Park, Riverkeeper and the Central Park Conservatory. 

This ULTRA-Ex project will form a new interdisciplinary team of scientists, community groups and practitioners that will explore the role of the Green Area Factor in advancing ecosystem and public health in a dense urban environment. A combination of monitoring and analyses will generate new knowledge on the performance metrics of natural and engineering ecosystem services in three New York City neighborhoods, while numerous survey instruments will determine the public interaction with, and perceived value of, such services. The new research findings generated by this project will be used to develop a tool that uses the concept of a Green Area Factor to optimize opportunistic planning decisions that can support multiple goals of urban sustainability.

The Green (or Biotope) Area Factor program was introduced by the City of Berlin in 1994. The program is based on the principle that modest, incremental and decentralized green infrastructure can have a significant cumulative effect in the improvement of urban ecological services [Ahern, 2007]. Under the program, each parcel of urban land must mitigate its adverse environmental impacts on-site. A primary goal of the program is to counteract “creeping impermeability” by mandating that new or renovated buildings achieve a prescribed green factor rating.

Brief description of anticipated intern tasks:

  • Assistance with the study of NYC urban ecology, ecosystem services, public health, the built environment, and "green area factor" and their perceptions among residents in northern Manhattan
  • Literature review
  • Spatial data review
  • Help with development of survey materials and potentially assisting with conducting focus groups or interviews, depending on schedule

Skills required:

  • Basic data analysis skills
  • GIS experience preferred 
  • Major in urban studies, urban planning, urban design, sustainable development, anthropology, sociology, psychology, or related discipline
  • Basic background in environmental/climate science preferred
  • Trained in, or interest in learning about, qualitative research methods (focus groups, interviews)

Type of student desired:   Undergraduate or Graduate

Internship start date:  As soon as possible

Internship end date:  August 2011

To Apply:
To apply for this position, please complete the online application available here:
http://fs21.formsite.com/earthinstitute/form19/index.html

Student must provide a cover letter stating their interests and abilities, a resume and application by May 20th, 2011 at 5PM.  All full-time Columbia and Barnard students are eligible to apply for this internship.