Earth Institute Fall 2012 Internships

by | 6.12.2012 at 2:47pm | 1 Comment
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This fall, 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 10 hours per week and up to a maximum of 120hrs for the fall 2012 semester. Please see below for the descriptions of nine internship opportunities.

  1. Visualization of Quantitative Data to Support the Decision Making of Policy Makers in Developing Countries
  2. Refining Guidelines for Soil Fertility Management in Africa
  3. Organization and Project Management Tasks Associated with IRI’s Collaboration with the President’s Malaria Initiative
  4. Making the Case for Investing in Water
  5. Support for CRED Annual Report
  6. Supporting the Millennium Cities Initiative
  7. Côte Sud Initiative, HAITI: GIS Analyst
  8. Millennium Villages Project, Health Sector Internship
  9. AC4 Link Site Development

 

To apply:

To apply for these positions, please complete the online application available here, by September 11, 2012 at 5:00PM. 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 internships will be expected to participate in the Earth Institute Student Research Showcase, which takes place in the spring of 2013.

Please contact us at ei-students@ei.columbia.edu with any questions.

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1. Visualization of Quantitative Data to Support the Decision Making of Policy Makers in Developing Countries

 

Department/Center: Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED)

 

Project Background:

One of the primary goals of the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) is to use a multi-method approach in order to examine how scientific information and be communicated most effectively to decision makers (http://cred.columbia.edu/research/).

The goal of this research project is to examine how alternative means of visualizing quantitative data relevant for policy makers in developing countries affects their decision making. Although data visualization experts (e.g. Edward Tufte: http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/) have advocated the need for more innovative means of visualizing quantitative data, we lack sufficient research of the most appropriate format for presenting relevant quantitative data to policy makers.

Therefore, the goal of this research project is to examine the most appropriate means of visually presenting quantitative data to policy makers in developing countries in the following sectors: public health, agriculture and the environment.

Anticipated intern tasks:

  • Manage the administration of pre-testing alternative visualization formats to Columbia undergrad students (identify students available to participate in testing, conduct testing, record and report qualitative and quantitative feedback)
  • Develop a database of contact information for policy makers in developing countries from the public health, agriculture and environment sectors.

 

Skills required:

  • Academic interests: sustainable development
  • Skills: moderate proficiency with Excel, strong writing and communication skills
  • Expertise: basic data analysis
  • Students from following departments preferred: Psychology, E3B, Environmental Policy, Sustainable Development, Anthropology

Type of student desired:  Undergraduate

 

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2. Refining Guidelines for Soil Fertility Management in Africa

 

Department/Center: Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment Program

 

Project Background:

To ensure sustainable increase in crop production for improvement of food security, the Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment Program conducts various studies to identify underlying causes of low crop production in small scale farms in sub-Saharan Africa. The student will assist in compiling data from studies conducted in millennium villages on soil fertility management, conduct the analyses of the data, and package the results as reports to be shared with donors and research communities.

Anticipated intern tasks:

  • Compile data by ensuring consistency across sites
  • Analyze the data including within and across sites comparison of various treatments
  • Make summary tables on the results of the analyses and prepare reports on the outcome of the studies.
  • Liaise with site team for budget

Skills required:

  • Knowledge of MS Excel, Word
  • Knowledge of STATA or quick learning ability for the package.

 

Type of student desired: All levels encouraged to apply.

 

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3. Organization and Project Management Tasks Associated with IRI’s Collaboration with the President’s Malaria Initiative

 

Department/Center: International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)

 

Project Background:

One of the primary goals of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) is to share climate information with organizations operating in developing countries in order to improve public health (http://portal.iri.columbia.edu/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=218&mode=2)

The goal of this project is to develop and apply a methodology for evaluating the impact of the President’s Malaria Initiative’s (PMI) anti-malaria program that was implemented in Tanzania that accounts for the potential impact of climate. Although PMI has been conducting impact evaluations of its anti-malaria programs since 2010, their methodology has not accounted for the impact of climate. The PMI has therefore developed a partnership with IRI in order to incorporate a climate analysis into their impact evaluation reports. If this pilot project with Ethiopia is successful, we expect to develop a larger program of work involving 13 additional countries in which PMI is operating.

Anticipated intern tasks:

  • Facilitate coordination and communication between IRI’s climate/health group, the President’s Malaria Initiative and researchers/NGO’s willing to share relevant malaria datasets.
  • Based on the intern’s experience in facilitating the coordination and communication with relevant groups, the intern will develop a 3-page document summarizing how these types of collaborations should be conducted with additional countries
  • Assist with the coordination of a workshop in Tanzania to be attended by IRI researchers, PMI representatives and collaborating researchers/NGOs.

Skills required:

  • Academic interests: sustainable development, global health, ecology
  • Skills: strong writing and communication skills

Type of student desired:   Undergraduate

 

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4. Making the Case for Investing in Water

 

Department/Center: Columbia Water Center

 

Project Background:

Currently the Columbia Water Center (CWC) newsletter is read by 1,202 individuals, and our Twitter account has 3,984 followers. We hope to increase readership by 50% this year and are seeking an intern to help expand this vital education push. Objectives for the next stage of our communications plan include stronger outreach to the greater scientific community, potential partners and the general population, as well as increased engagement with student communities and sustainability activists. Future communications will focus on general water issues and the promotion of new studies, reports and white papers produced by CWC researchers. We also plan to host at least one full-day event on campus, to bring our community of readers together.  We are ever encouraged that we have generated enough momentum that we can continue to expand our efforts by educating the public and providing tools to engage and inspire new and existing members of the community seeking solutions to global water issues.

Anticipated intern tasks:

The incumbent will be responsible for ongoing web site maintenance and updating, to ensure that content remains timely, clear and engaging. The intern will also participate in education and awareness-raising around CWC projects and global water issues through writing blog articles, posting updates on Facebook / Twitter and compiling information for the CWC’s weekly newsletter. Additionally, he/she will be involved in event planning and will engage in administrative work as assigned in order to support communication efforts.

Skills required:

  • Familiarity with web site design, html, java script, and other applicable programs languages.
  • Familiarity with electronic communications and demonstrated success in using electronic media.
  • Outstanding interpersonal, written and oral communication and analytical skills.
  • Preference will be given to students who have experience or skill in journalism and public relations.

Type of student desired:  Graduate or Ph.D.

 

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5. Support for CRED Annual Report

 

Department/Center: Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED)

 

Project Background:

CRED is an interdisciplinary center that studies individual and group decision making under climate uncertainty and decision making in the face of environmental risk. CRED’s objectives address the human responses to climate change and climate variability as well as improved communication and increased use of scientific information on climate variability and change. In addition to advancing fundamental theory in psychology, behavioral economics, and other social science disciplines, CRED researchers work on integrated field projects around the world, where decision science is brought to bear on sustainable development challenges in such settings as agricultural decisions and water management, (http://cred.columbia.edu/research/).

 

Anticipated intern tasks:

  • Compile and draft sections of final report for our main funder
  • Develop a comprehensive summary of the research funded under ending grant CRED’s research projects conducted for more public use.
  • Summarize special events and speakers that CRED has organized and hosted, gather other noteworthy information from researchers (e.g. publications, conference participation), for submission to EI’s biweekly Operations Newsletter and for posting on CRED’s website
  • Support the managing director, assistant director, and program manager in the day-to-day activities (handling information requests, preparation of meeting documents, etc.)
  • Assist in preparation of travel and business expense reimbursements

 

 

Skills required:

  • Academic interests: sustainable development, psychology, environment, climate change
  • Skills: moderate proficiency with Excel, strong writing and communication skills

 

Type of student desired:  Undergraduate

 

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6. Supporting the Millennium Cities Initiative

 

Department/Center: Millennium Cities Initiative, Earth Institute

 

Project Background:

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.

 

Anticipated intern tasks:

The Intern will be expected to provide administrative support to MCI’s Project Manager and Special Assistant to ensure that MCI’s programmatic and administrative needs during the fall are met.  Because MCI’s New York office includes a very small team, the intern will play a key role in the day-to-day life of MCI and will have the chance to grow with the position.  He or she will work closely with the MCI Project Manager and Special Assistant to clarify expectations and receive appropriate guidance in all assignments.  He or she will also have the opportunity to work with, and meet, the MCI Director and MCI Communications Specialist, as needed.

More specifically, the intern would be tasked with the following:

  • Assist the MCI Project Manager with key administrative matters including processing reimbursements and payments, managing MCI’s Sharepoint site, preparing budgets, and updating the MCI website;
  • Assist the MCI Special Assistant with development and communications matters, including researching funding opportunities, maintaining charts and tables of funding information, and writing funding proposals;
  • Assist with planning events such as fundraisers and meetings by researching event spaces and catering options, printing necessary materials, etc.;
  • Assisting with editing of publications as necessary;
  • Support MCI’s research as needed by the Project Manager and Special Assistant by summarizing documents, collecting data and gathering resources;
  • Assisting the Project Manager and Special Assistant with 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.  The intern will gain skills in donor research, writing, and budgeting/operations matters that will serve him or well in future positions with non-profits and development organizations.  

 

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; familiarity with Google Docs;  knowledge of Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, basic web editing and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are highly desirable;
  • Superior organizational skills and experience managing events, whether through on-campus/volunteer activities or through previous work, volunteer or internship experience;
  • Foreign language skills (particularly French) are desirable;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work collaboratively;
  • Comfort conducting internet-based research and familiarity with online resources relating to international development and global affairs;
  • 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 or Graduate

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7. Côte Sud Initiative, HAITI: GIS Analyst

 

Department/Center: CIESIN

 

Project Background:

The Côte Sud Initiative (CSI) is a long-term sustainable development initiative in the South Department of Haiti. The CSI is the proving ground for the theory, technology, and partnerships put into practice in an integrated manner within a specific region. Launched in January 2011, the current focus of the CSI is on mobilization, partnership development and early practical action. The CSI is coordinated by the CSI Partnership, which consists of 11 organizations including the Government of Haiti.

Within the CSI area, the Port-à-Piment watershed is located. After two years of research, consultation and collaborative assessments, the community, government, and academic and international organizations identified the town of Port-à-Piment and its accompanying watershed as a community and environmental zone with complex and severe challenges but also immense local capacity. This vital combination offers the right setting and components to demonstrate how to achieve sustained growth and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The general focus is on achieving large-scale lasting and measurable improvements in all of the MDGs at the village to household level – preceded and accompanied by extensive research and technical development that will provide lessons learned and examples ready for rapid scale up throughout the region and the country as a whole.

Anticipated intern tasks:

  • Processing and aggregation of household level information to match spatial references through spatial joins.
  • Assist in the analysis of point-level data using functions in ArcGIS such as density maps and spatial correlations (to name a few).
  • Assist with the integration, analysis and interpretation (to a certain extent) of socioeconomic household data with biophysical/ environmental data.
  • Assist with the mapping and rapid visualization of information (variables, indicators) in order to define further lines of analysis.
  • Assist with the production of final maps and figures to be used in various project publications such as the Integrated Baseline Assessment for the Port-à-Piment watershed and the Côte Sud area, as well as blog entries, communication material to share with community-based organizations, community members, project partners and government agencies.
  • Assist with other tasks as needed.

 

Skills required:

The student should be skillful in both GIS software and Adobe Photoshop. Previous experience in data processing and/ or analysis of information using ArcGIS is required. Previous experience in manipulating and/or managing large data sets is also required. 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 for the position, the ability to understand some will be an advantage. Previous experience in statistical analysis is preferred, but not required.

 

 

Type of student desired:  Undergraduate   or Graduate

 

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8. Millennium Villages Project, Health Sector Internship

 

Department/Center: Millennium Villages Project, The Earth Institute

 

Project Background:

The Health Sector Intern will support the administrative and programmatic needs of the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) Health Team at the Earth Institute (EI).  This is a great opportunity for any student interested in international development and/or global public health to gain exposure to the inner workings of an innovative project aimed towards helping rural African communities lift themselves out of extreme poverty.

Anticipated intern tasks:

  • Information Management – support management and upkeep of knowledge management sharing platform (Sharepoint)
  • Administrative Processes – help liaise with Columbia University administrative offices, including Accounts Payable, Human Resources, Purchasing, IT, Finance, as well as with other Columbia Centers and Departments
  • Meeting Support – attend Health Team meetings and provide minute-taking and follow-up support
  • Programmatic Support – support the Health Program Coordinator and the Director of Health in the research, strategy, planning, and coordination of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Newborn Care interventions for the Millennium Villages
  • Partnership Support – support communication and coordination with current and potential programmatic partners, including prominent international public health and development organizations

Skills required:

  • Strong organizational, prioritization, and time management skills
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and assignments of a time-sensitive nature
  • Adept in the use of Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Word
  • Dedicated, reliable, upbeat, and able to work independently
  • Administrative experience in a non-profit and/or academic environment a plus
  • Interest in international development and global public health

 

Type of student desired:  All students welcome to apply

 

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9. AC4 Link Site Development

 

Department/Center: AC4 at the Earth Institute

Project Background:

At AC4, we are dedicated to fostering a unique community of learning, experimentation and development for scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers working together across relevant disciplines to generate leading-edge ideas, practices and technologies for fostering violence prevention, conflict resolution, and sustainable development and peace. We are now rolling out our newest initiative: AC4 Link is a new web-based information hub that highlights all faculty, centers, and programs conducting research, practice, and teaching activities related to conflict resolution, peace, violence prevention, and work in complexity science and sustainable development.  This site will serve as a virtual community that highlights the interdisciplinary links at Columbia, providing access to this information in one centralized location. Over the course of the summer, we have developed a plan to publicize the site which includes collecting additional content, gather feedback and strategize the next steps in developing the site further.

Anticipated intern tasks:

AC4 is requesting the assistance of an intern who will be able to do outreach, via phone and email, to the faculty members and program administrators profiled in AC4Link. She/he will connect with them and schedule face to face meetings in which the intern will describe and showcase the project and ask for feedback. The intern will also promote AC4Link to the student community. This internship offers a student the opportunity to meet and network with faculty, students and staff across many departments within each of the schools at Columbia University. The intern will report to the Assistant Director of AC4 and the AC4 Link project coordinator.

Skills required:

Outreach:

  • Identify faculty, staff and students in AC4Link and the general AC4 network
  • Email and phone relevant parties
  • Feed up to date information back to AC4 project coordinator
  • Help AC4 expand our network

Communication and Interpersonal Skills:

  • Ability to conduct face to face meetings with faculty members and staff on behalf of AC4
  • Attend student events on behalf of AC4
  • Promote AC4Link through Columbia University’s networks (with AC4 Project Coordinator supervision)
  • Ability to work independently
  • Capacity to accept feedback constructively

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

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