Education News

Fall 2011 Internships

2011-09-16

This fall semester, 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/hour for 10 hours per week, and up to a maximum of 120 hours for the fall 2011 semester. Please see below for descriptions of the ten internship opportunities.

  1. The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP): Assessment of Vulnerability, Capacity, and Preparatory Activities related to Food Security in AgMIP Regions
  2. Communications and Outreach for Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy Projects
  3. Supporting the Millennium Cities Initiative
  4. Facilitating the Combined Heat and Power Project in New York City
  5. Consideration of Climate Change in Environmental Impact Statements
  6. Communications, Research, Writing, and Event-Planning Intern for The Earth Institute's Director's Office
  7. Earth Institute Funding Initiatives Intern
  8. Global Climate Change and Human Health: Exploring Impacts in the Classroom Using Innovative Technologies
  9. Global Health and Economic Development: Monitoring and Evaluation Team Internship
  10. Environmental Geochemistry Lab and Exposure Assessment Facility Core for the NIEHS Center for Environmental Health

To Apply

To apply for these positions, please complete the online application available here, by  September 22, 2011 at 11:59PM.  While you may apply for more than one position, you must submit separate applications.  Decisions will be made shortly after the deadline.

Please note that students who are awarded research assistantships will be expected to participate in the Earth Institute Student Research Showcase, which takes place in spring 2012.
Please contact us at ei-students@ei.columbia.edu with any questions.


1. The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP): Assessment of Vulnerability, Capacity, and Preparatory Activities related to Food Security in AgMIP Regions

Department/Center: Earth Institute CCSR and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
 
Project description:
Food security in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are two primary focus regions for the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP; see www.agmip.org). AgMIP is committed to assessing food security risks under a variety of climate change scenarios and building scientific capacity in these developing regions, but a first step is to assess the current state of capacity and recognition of food security vulnerability.

Intern tasks:
- Examine the National Programme of Adaptation (NAPA) for countries in this region, focusing on the agricultural sector
- Help to build a baseline database of existing adaptation plans, capacity, and ongoing activities
- Create reports on: (i) NAPAs for Sub-Saharan Africa; broken down by Eastern, Southern, and West Africa (ii) NAPAs for South Asia; (iii) noteworthy partners and activities worth additional attention
- As part of the Columbia Center for Climate Systems Research team, the intern may also participate in other AgMIP-related activities, research, and report preparation

Skills required:
- Strong written communication skills
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team
- Interest in climate change, agriculture, and economics
- Experience in Africa or South Asia a plus
- Proficiency in French also desired (although not required)

Type of student desired: Graduate or Ph.D


2. Communications and Outreach for Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy Projects

Department/Center: Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy

Project description:
The intern will work on communications and outreach for two LCSE projects. The first is a CCS and Air Capture conference featuring pioneering technology developed at the Lenfest Center laboratories. Recent media coverage includes National Geographic (print and television), and abc’s EnergyNOW. This fall, LCSE has the opportunity to showcase their innovative air capture technology in the U.S. and in London for a special "Air Capture Week." The second project is PositiveFeedback, a new arts & climate initiative, that seeks to cultivate and support a diverse community of scientists and artists focused on climate change and engaged in each other's work. PositiveFeedback has been invited to produce programming content for an exhibition called, UNFOLD-A Cultural Response to Climate Change, co-hosted with Parsons School of Design. PositiveFeedback activities are conducted in collaboration with the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED).

Intern tasks:
- Website updates
- Create/edit newsletter content
- Assist with social networking
- Assist with communication and stewardship efforts
- Provide logistical coordination for conference, workshops, and outreach programming.
- Provide occasional staffing of on and off-site events in NY, and perform other duties as assigned by Director.

Skills required:
- Basic website (html helpful, but not mandatory) and social networking familiarity
- Strong writing/editing skills
- Good organizational skills
- Ability to work independently
- Interest in energy/climate/arts related projects

Type of student desired: Graduate student preferred. Applications will be accepted by upper level undergraduates.


3. Supporting the Millennium Cities Initiative

Department/Center: Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI), Earth Institute

Project description:
The Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI), launched in 2006, is the Earth Institute's urban counterpart to the Millennium Villages Project. The MCI assists selected mid‐sized cities across sub-Saharan Africa in their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  The MCI’s strategy comprises two principal components: promoting sustainable investment and building viable social services sectors. With an array of programs in the areas of education, health, gender and water/sanitation, as well as significant projects concentrating on business development, infrastructure and the environment, MCI is a rapidly expanding, dynamic organization. 

Intern tasks: 
- Provide administrative support to MCI's Program Coordinator and Social Sector Program Administrator to ensure that MCI's programmatic and administrative needs during the Fall semester are met
- Assist with managing budgets, processing reimbursements and payments
- Web updates
- Help to develop communications
- Research funding opportunities and write funding proposals
- Assist with planning the 2nd Advisory Board meeting in December 2011, October 2011 Accra Investment Forum and other events
- Assisting with editing of publications as necessary
- Other tasks as they arise

This is an excellent opportunity for an undergraduate student seeking hands-on experience in the areas of international development, urban planning and program management.  

Skills required:
- Strong writing skills and ability to produce written material quickly and efficiently, with minimal guidance
- Superior knowledge of Excel and all Microsoft Office applications
- Superior organizational skills and experience managing events, whether through on-campus/volunteer activities or through previous work or internship experience
- Financial/budgeting experience is highly desirable
- French language skills are highly desirable
- Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work collaboratively
- Ability to handle pressure and stress, accept constructive feedback and maintain a sense of humor and diplomacy
- Knowledge of and proven interest in international development, Africa, the Millennium Development Goals, urban development issues and/or program management

Type of student desired: Undergraduate    


4. Facilitating the Combined Heat and Power Project in New York City

Department/Center: Mechanical Engineering

Intern tasks:
- Gather data on the current heating/hot water systems, fuel delivery systems, electric delivery and contract, types of buildings on block, building functions and building ownership.

Skills Required:
- Basic understanding of energy systems and cogen systems is necessary
- Background with thermodynamics, heat transfer, energy conversion is desirable.

Type of student desired: Undergraduate


5. Consideration of Climate Change in Environmental Impact Statements

Department/Center: Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School

Intern tasks:
- Enhance and update a database of recent environmental impact statements (EISs) prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act. 
- Identify methodologies used in these EISs to assess greenhouse gas impacts of subject projects, and to determine effect of climate change on subject projects. Particular focus would be devoted to any identification of GHG emissions from activities downstream of subject projects (e.g. for a coal mining project, emissions from combustion of the coal).

Skills required:
- Excel spreadsheets
- Basic environmental analysis techniques

Type of student desired:   Undergraduate


6. Communications, Research, Writing, and Event-Planning Intern for The Earth Institute’s Director's Office

Department/Center: The Earth Institute, Director's Office

Intern tasks:
- Conduct research on Director's Office projects and related topics
- Edit reports, documents, and articles
- Contribute to reports and articles
- Help conceptualize and organize a guest speaker series on health featuring members of the CGHED team and other experts
- Generate content for the Earth Institute’s blog and newsletter
- Additional duties as assigned, including general office tasks such as filing and archiving

Skills required:
- The position requires that the student be a creative, positive and outgoing self-starter and team player
- Strong organizational skills and attention to details is required
- Strong editing, writing, research, and design skills
- Interest in international development or global public health
- Experience working on grant proposals is preferred

Type of student desired: Graduate student preferred. Student must be at least in their second year of study.


7. Earth Institute Funding Initiatives Intern

Department/Center: Intern for Funding Initiatives, The Earth Institute

Project description: The Development Assistant will support the Earth Institute’s Funding Initiatives team with communications and administrative-related development activities for annual fund, major donor, corporate and foundation fundraising initiatives. The assistant’s time will be split between managing specific projects and performing routine communications and administrative tasks.

Intern tasks:
- Draft blog posts, news articles and press releases about new gifts, grants and initiatives
- Edit report
- Manage content updates for various fundraising-related web pages,
- Maintain donor and event lists
- Update thank-you letter template language, information kits and produce acknowledgement letters
- Act as a liaison between student groups and The Earth Institute
- Other administrative and research duties as needed

Skills required:
- Relevant experience in development, communications, journalism, non-profit management, administration, or fields related to the Earth Institute's mission
- Strong interest in Earth Institute activities is a must
- Experience in social media, blogging, journalism and/or fundraising is required
- Knowledge of Microsoft Office is required
- Experience with Word and Excel and comfort with database software is preferred
- Creativity, attention to detail and ability to multi-task
- Strong interpersonal, writing, editing and proofreading skills
- Ability to organize information for effective presentation
- Strong project management skills
- Ability to work independently with limited supervision are essential

Type of student desired:   Graduate student preferred. Applications will be accepted from highly qualified undergraduates.    


8. Global Climate Change and Human Health: Exploring Impacts in the Classroom Using Innovative Technologies

Department/Center:  Center for International Earth Science Information Network

Project description:
This project brings NASA climate change and other Earth system information to teachers and students, using a variety of motivating and interactive methods to examine human health implications that results from predicted climate change scenarios. These methods include the enhancement of NASA World Wind, a NASA 3D, visualization application, development of classroom modules for high school teachers, and hands-on and virtual climate change workshops. The core of this project is the construction of a series of web based exercises utilizing NASA and other data to look at the potential impacts on human health, and the issues of water and food security, increased threats from natural disasters and climate related migration.   Relevant data sets are selected and incorporated into a customized version of NASA's World Wind visualization platform and other interactive web mapping programs.  The examples and exercises will comprise a well-balanced mixture of analyzing the predicted climate change impacts at local to regional scales.

Intern tasks:
- Assist researchers with the selection of appropriate datasets
- Assist with the creation of on-line mapping tools
- Aid the development and testing of lesson plans
- Help prepare and run teacher training workshops

Skills required:
- Familiarity with GIS, databases and Excel
- Excellent writing and organizational skills

Type of student desired:   Undergraduate or Graduate 


9. Global Health and Economic Development: Monitoring and Evaluation Team Internship

Department/Center: Center for Global Health and Economic Development

Project description:
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is crucial to assessing the success of the Center for Global Health and Economic Development's (CGHED) research, educational, policy, and operational initiatives, including the impact of the Millennium Villages Project on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in 10 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.  A detailed monitoring and evaluation platform has been established to measure advancement towards the MDGs, and compare what is happening in Millennium Village Project sites, villages not receiving the intervention, and national and sub-national data sets. The CGHED M&E Team is looking for a student intern to directly support the administrative, logistical, and programmatic needs of the team.

Intern tasks:
- Liaise with EI/Columbia administrative offices, as well as programmatic and operational partners
- Facilitate collaboration between NY-based and Africa-based M&E Teams
- Support the team in travel planning and logistics
- Facilitate the procurement of supplies at Millennium Village sites in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Assist in the editing and dissemination of project reports
- Help to draft grant proposals
- Assist the M&E director with teaching duties
- Help to fulfill blogging requests

The M&E Team is a dynamic, energetic group with many different work portfolios.  The intern will be required to juggle multiple tasks essential to the functioning of the team. 

This is a great opportunity for any student interested in global development to gain exposure to the workings of the M&E sector in proof-of-concept, practical interventions aimed at increasing food production, access to health care, education, infrastructure, and business development.

Skills required:
- Experience supporting the administrative needs of an individual/team in a non-profit and/or academic environment
- Familiarity with international travel and visa issues
- Ability to manage multiple assignments simultaneously
- Flexibility in responding to changing priorities in a fast-paced environment
- Ability to work independently
- Reliability, energy, and strong organizational skills
- Computer literacy

Type of student desired:   Undergraduate, Graduate or PhD


10. Environmental Geochemistry Lab and Exposure Assessment Facility Core for the NIEHS Center for Environmental Health

Department/Center: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Project description:
The Environmental Geochemistry Lab and Exposure Assessment Facility Core serves several functions, including archiving samples, analyzing samples, development and building of sampling equipment.  We collaborate on projects from all over the world. 

Intern tasks: 
- Help with the upkeep and organization of an Access Database
- Upgrade system for checking in and checking out samples and monitoring equipment
- Help to organize related office materials (scanning and filing).

Skills required: 
- Computer literacy
- Knowledge of MS Excel and Access Database Software
- Strong organizational skills

Type of student desired:   Undergraduate, Graduate or Ph.D