Earth Institute Spring 2013 Internships

by | 1.4.2013 at 5:11pm
Follow us on Facebook or Twitter

This spring, 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 120 hours for the spring 2013 semester. See below for the descriptions of 12 internship opportunities.

  1. Socioeconomic Data Center: Gridded Population of the World Version 4
  2. Reassessing a Suburban Transit Orientated Community: Maplewood, NJ
  3. Processing Dataset: Public Health Facilities, Water Points, and Schools in Nigeria
  4. Spring Funding Initiatives Internship
  5. Climate Center Administrative Support
  6. Communications and Administration
  7. Dynamical Systems Theory (DST), Peace and Conflict Innovation Lab
  8. Supporting the Millennium Cities Initiative
  9. Communications, Outreach, and Event Planning for Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy (LCSE)
  10. Climate Change Hazard Mitigation Intern
  11. Extractive Industries & Sustainable Development Executive Training Program
  12. Analysis of alternative means of visualizing quantitative data for decision making by policy makers in developing countries

To apply:

To apply for these positions, please complete the online application available here, by Jan. 31 at 11:30 p.m. While you may apply for more than one position, you must submit separate applications. Decisions will be made shortly after the deadline.

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.

Contact us at nrudder@ei.columbia.edu with any questions.

***

1. Socioeconomic Data Center: Gridded Population of the World Version

Department/Center: Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN)

Project Background: NA

Anticipated intern tasks:

Collect data from the 2010 round of population censuses for a wide array of countries around the world.

  • Research their census system and determine if they have the appropriate data
  • Acquire data through download or personal contact with appropriate office
  • Document characteristics of the data such as: Restrictions on use, etc.

Collect geographic boundary data corresponding to the population census statistics. Integrate census and geographic datasets.

  • Determine geographic unit that corresponds to census unit.
  • Do necessary research to characterize new units.
  • Apply census unique codes to geographic data.

Skills required:

  • Must be extremely detail oriented
  • Familiarity with Microsoft excel
  • Some GIS experience preferred

Type of student desired:  Undergraduate or Graduate     

***

2.    Reassessing a Suburban Transit Orientated Community: Maplewood, NJ

Department/Center: Urban Design Lab

Project Background:       

New York City’s various infrastructures are constantly tested for capacities and vulnerabilities as witnessed recently in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. In New Jersey, suburban communities have been impacted by the loss of power, communication, and transportation services. Such impacts have interrupted access to education, health services, and employment. The Urban Design Lab is currently working with the township of Maplewood to identify and outline specific resilient programming and development models to steer economic growth and sustainable solutions within the community so that it can serve as a model for future work.

Anticipated intern tasks:

The intern will assist in data research and evaluation and in the compilation of a report of preliminary findings. The intern will assist with a proposal carrying the research into a longer-term, more comprehensive sustainability plan for Maplewood.

Skills required:

  • Strong writing, verbal and communications skills
  • Fluent in Microsoft Office, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
  • Knowledge of ArcGIS is preferred but not mandatory.

Type of student desired: Graduate

***

3.    Processing Dataset: Public Health Facilities, Water Points, and Schools in Nigeria

Department/Center: Modi Research group, earth Institute

Project Background: Using R and python, the intern will assist the Modi Research Group to process and analyze a large dataset about public health facilities, water points, and schools in Nigeria. The data has been collected using health facilities, water points, and schools in Nigeria. The data has been collected using Android phones, and during this process, the student will have a chance to improve his/her data processing and transformation skills, data analysis skills and more. The intern will also be able to contribute to a field of practice for field data collection that is shifting from paper to digital, by documenting steps taken to process and analyze data that will be shared with other mobile collectors.

Anticipated intern tasks:

The intern will assist the Modi Research Group to process and analyze a large dataset about public health facilities, water points, and schools in Nigeria

Skills required:

  • Knowledge and experience with data analysis and transformation
  • Basic knowledge of R; expert knowledge is preferable
  • Exposure to the python programming language

Type of student desired:  Graduate

***

4.    Spring Funding Initiatives Internship

Department/Center: Funding Initiatives

Project Background: NA

Anticipated intern tasks:

The intern 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 intern’s time will be split between managing specific projects and performing routine communications and administrative tasks. Tasks include but are not limited to: drafting blog posts, news articles and press releases about new gifts, grants and initiatives, updating thank-you letter template language and producing acknowledgement letters, prospect research, and other administrative and research duties as needed. The ideal candidate should have relevant experience in development, communications, journalism, non-profit management, administration, or fields related to the Earth Institute’s mission. A strong interest in Earth Institute activities is a plus. Experience in social media, blogging, journalism and/or fundraising is strongly recommended.

Skills required:

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office is required;
  • Experience with Word and Excel and comfort with database software is preferred. The ideal candidate is creative, highly attentive to detail and able to multi-task. He or she also possesses strong interpersonal, writing, editing and proofreading skills, and the ability to organize information for effective presentation.
  • Strong project management skills and the ability to work independently with limited supervision are essential.

Type of student desired:  Undergraduate and Graduate

***

5.    Climate Center Administrative Support

Department/Center: Columbia Climate Center

Project Background:

The Columbia Climate Center seeks a part time intern to support the Assistant Director of Education and Administration during the fall semester with the option of continuing into the spring semester.

Anticipated intern tasks:

The intern will support the Climate Center as well as the Center’s programs in carbon management and the PoLAR Climate Change Education Partnership through general administrative and organizational tasks, research, writing and communications efforts. The intern may also draft program updates or reports for various Climate Center communications, and assist in preparing and staffing events and meetings, which will require strong note-taking skills.  There may also be an opportunity to write for the Climate Matters blog based on skill and interest of the intern. Finally, the intern will support the Center staff and the Center’s programs as needed.

Skills required:

  • Excellent organizational, interpersonal, written and oral communication skills are required. Attention to detail is a must.
  • The candidate must be able to work well under pressure, coordinate diverse responsibilities and exercise independent judgment.
  • The candidate must be proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel.
  • Previous administrative experience is highly preferred.  Applicants should be highly motivated and detail oriented.
  • A strong interest in the environment and sustainable development is preferred, but not required.

 

Type of student desired:  Graduate

***

6.    Communications and Administration

Department/Center: Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development, Earth Institute

Project Background:

The Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development, recently re-launched under a new mandate and the leadership of Professor Glenn Denning, serves as the policy-advising hub of the Earth Institute. The mission of the Center is to mobilize the scientific expertise of the Earth Institute and its partners to provide policy support – as requested by governments and development organizations – in order to address the challenges of sustainable development in a global society. Working in collaboration with researchers across the Institute, CGSD is focused on cutting-edge, high-level and practical multi-sectoral strategies to development challenges like climate risk, food security, nutrition, health care delivery systems and poverty alleviation.

In the Fall of 2012, CGSD merged with another research center at the Earth Institute, and now serves the administrative needs of a much larger staff encompassing not only those focused on national policy advising projects, but also the Millennium Villages Project health sector, education sector, and monitoring and evaluations teams. As such, we have a number of administrative and communications-focused needs, including using our website and social media to help build our public brand for the purpose of fundraising and partnerships, as well as providing travel, logistical and office support for all staff.

This is an exciting opportunity for someone passionate about organizational structure to support sustainable development, with a knack for story telling in all formats – blogs, twitter, videos, infographics, and print.

Anticipated intern tasks:

The intern will have an opportunity to work with experienced researchers across sectors – from climate policy to healthcare, education to nutrition. He or she will be expected to quickly learn the relevant terminology and trends in the field. He/she will be challenged to develop communications skills, execute daily tasks, including administrative duties and also to think strategically and contribute to the long-term organizational needs for a large and growing team.

Skills required:

  • This individual should be an excellent writer, and adaptable to various forms of story telling.
  • He/she should be extraordinarily organized, meticulous and independent, and can creatively problem solve.
  • Graphic design skills are a plus.

Type of student desired: Graduate

***

7.    Dynamical Systems Theory (DST), Peace and Conflict Innovation Lab

Department/Center: Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity (AC4) CIESIN

Project Background:

AC4’s mission is to communicate, engage with, and support interdisciplinary theory, research and practice related to violence prevention, conflict resolution and sustainable development and peace at Columbia University and beyond. Over the last year, AC4 has been working on bringing together researchers and practitioners that are using Dynamical Systems Theory (DST) or other systemic approaches to understand conflict in research or practice. Under this premise, the goals of the DST, Peace and Conflict Innovation Lab are to create a structure and mechanisms to share ideas and move toward collaborative work in DST/ST, and provide the opportunity for interested faculty and practitioners to come together for extended conversations on the subject. In preparation for its first edition, which is expected to take place from July 8th to July 12th, the intern will work on the coordination of the event, under the supervision of Kyong Mazzaro, AC4 Project Coordinator, and will have the unique opportunity to interface with two of AC4’s affiliates including the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) at Teachers College and the Master’s Program on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at the School of Continuing Education (NECR).

Anticipated intern tasks:

The intern will provide research assistance:

  • Request and compile feedback and recommendations from national and international experts in the field of DST.
  • Research and compile resources on the main themes, readings, relevant theory, empirical research, and pedagogical exercises that might be relevant to the Innovation Lab.
  • Create a database of experts in the field that might be interested in attending the Innovation Lab.

The intern will also provide event support:

  • Provide assistance and information to participants and partner organizations regarding the coordination of the event; maintain contact with participants and providers via telephone or written correspondence.
  • Maintain direct contact with personnel from the various outside organizations and university departments associated with the initiative.
  • Coordinate services including reserving conference rooms, placing catering orders, preparing conference materials, tracking various expenditures and revenues, and maintaining any necessary records.
  • Compile material for event program; maintain mailing lists for distribution of event programs or other pertinent information.

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:
Academic and/or work experience in the field of Conflict Resolution

  • Proven interest in DST and Systems Theory applications
  • Some experience in event planning preferred
  • Ability to work independently
  • Capacity to accept feedback constructively
  • High tolerance for ambiguity

Type of student desired:  Graduate

***

8.    Supporting the Millennium Cities Initiative

Department/Center: Millennium Villages Project, The Earth Institute

Project Background:

The Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI), launched in 2006, is the Earth Institute’s urban counterpart to the Millennium Villages Project (MVP). MCI assists select, mid‐sized cities across sub-Saharan Africa in their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  MCI’s strategy is comprised of two principal components: promoting sustainable investment and building viable social service 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 Social Sector Associates to ensure the fulfillment of MCI’s fall programmatic and administrative needs. Because MCI’s New York office consists of a very small team, the intern will play a key role in the day-to-day operations of MCI and will have the chance to grow within the position.  He or she will work closely with the MCI Project Manager and Social Sector Associates to establish expectations and receive appropriate guidance in all assignments.  He or she will also have the opportunity to work with the MCI Director, as needed. This is an excellent opportunity for an undergraduate or graduate student seeking hands-on experience in the areas of international development and program coordination.  The intern will gain skills in donor research, communications/marketing, database management, partnership development, programmatic field coordination, and budgeting/operations matters that can serve him or her well in future positions with non-profits and/or development organizations.

  • Assist the MCI Project Manager with key administrative matters including processing reimbursements and payments, managing MCI’s SharePoint and ARC websites, preparing budgets,  and updating the MCI website;
  • Assist the MCI Social Sector Associates with various development and communications matters such as researching funding opportunities, updating databases and writing funding proposals;
  • Assist with event planning needs for fundraising activities and advisory board meetings by coordinating event spaces and catering options, printing necessary materials, etc.;
  • Assist with editing of publications and providing other communications support as necessary;
  • Support MCI’s research as needed by the Project Manager and Social Sector Associates by summarizing documents, collecting data and gathering resources;
  • Assist Social Sector Associates with current NGO partnerships;
  • Assist with the formulation of a sector-wide electronic journal for the MCI website
  • Assisting the Project Manager and Social Sector Associates with other tasks as they arise.

Skills required:

  • Strong writing/grammatical 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, 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 are desirable (especially French);
  • 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

***

9.    Communications, Outreach, and Event Planning for Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy (LCSE)

Department/Center: Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy (LCSE)

Project Background:

The mission of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy (LCSE) is to develop innovative technologies to ensure a sufficient supply of environmentally sustainable energy for all humanity.  LCSE searches for sustainable energy solutions to satisfy the world’s future energy needs without threatening to destabilize the Earth’s natural systems.  Our interdisciplinary systems approach allows us to fram our work in a larger context by blending research in technology, policy, environment, and economics with education and public outreach.  We seek solutions that will satisfy increasing demands for energy while reducing environmental footprints.

The intern will play a critical role in a small management team and gain valuable experience in communications work.  He or she will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of the research and operation of LCSE and if mutually desirable, may continue working on the project during the Summer and into the next academic year.

The intern will work in two main areas:

-LCSE outreach and event planning surrounding topics related to sustainable energy, such as carbon capture & sequestration, energy storage, advanced fuel technologies, and air capture.

-PositiveFeedback, the arts & climate initiative of the Earth Institute, seeks to cultivate and support a diverse community of scientists and artists focused on climate change and engaged in each other’s work. We encourage relationships between arts and science collaborators whose research will be mutually beneficial and will inspire subsequent exploration and investigation. 

Anticipated intern tasks:

The intern will assist the Director, Executive Director and Program Manager on a key LCSE strategic goal: communications, public outreach and event-planning related to a number of projects being conducted by the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy.

In the spring we will be continuing to update our website, social networking sites, and designing and implementing a new email software/database program. The intern will also work on activities related to LCSE and PositiveFeedback participation in Lamont Open House and/or other external events. PositiveFeedback activities are conducted in collaboration with the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) along with our institutional partners at NYU and CUNY.

Duties include:

  • Website updates
  • Create/edit newsletter content and promotional materials
  • Manage email database
  • Social networking
  • Assistance with overall communication and stewardship efforts
  • Draft/edit grant letters of inquiry
  • Logistics coordination for conferences, workshops, and outreach programming
  • Event staffing

Skills required:

  • Excellent writing skills
  • Strong command of English
  • Basic website (html familiarity) and social networking familiarity
  • Highly organized
  • Independent worker
  • Interest in sustainable energy/climate change/arts related projects

Type of student desired: Graduate preferred

***

10. Climate Change Hazard Mitigation Intern

Department/Center:Center for Climate Change Law

Project Background:

State governments are required to develop FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plans as a condition for receiving certain types of non-emergency disaster assistance.  Hazard mitigation plans create a framework for risk-based decision making to reduce damages to lives, property, and the economy from future disasters.  However, FEMA does not currently require states to consider the potential effects of climate change within their hazard mitigation plans.  As a result, many states base their assessments of future risk on past climate rather than the projected future climate – a future in which floods, hurricanes, droughts, and other extreme weather events are predicted to be both more severe and more frequent.  Some states, however, have been pioneers in this field and have actively sought opportunities to incorporate climate change in their planning efforts.  The lessons learned from such states could be extremely valuable to those still avoiding climate change.

Anticipated Intern Tasks:

This project would consist of reviewing the 50 State Natural Hazard Mitigation Plans to identify which incorporate climate change and future predictions of extreme weather.  The results would be analyzed to identify best practices for incorporating climate change and to compile a list of lessons learned that could benefit Hazard Mitigation Officers in other states.  Those states that do not incorporate climate change would be compared to climate change projections in those regions to identify the most serious climate change related hazards.  A map would also be produced as a communication tool to make citizens in those states aware of the risks.  This may culminate in a discussion with a group of hazard mitigation officers that have been in touch with the Center.  

The intern would work closely with the two post-doc fellows at the Center, who would regularly review the progress and work of the research assistant and provide constructive feedback.  Michael Gerrard, the Center’s director, would also oversee the project and regularly meet with the intern to provide guidance and assistance.

Through his or her work, the intern would gain detailed knowledge of state hazard mitigation planning as well as a general understanding of the challenges faced in planning for extreme weather events.

Skills Required:

  • Solid research and analytical skills

Type of Student Desired: Undergraduate, graduate, or PhD

***

11. Extractive Industries & Sustainable Development Executive Training Program

Department/Center: Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment

Project Background:

The Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (VCC) aims to develop and disseminate practical approaches and solutions to maximize the impact of international investment for sustainable development. Nowhere are the stakes higher than the extractive industries, which have the potential to be a springboard to development, stimulating growth in other sectors, but which have often instead been a source of corruption, social degradation, and environmental catastrophe. Specifically, in order to leverage mineral resources for development, countries face several challenges, including environmental protection; revenue forecasting, management and allocation; development planning and implementation; vocational training and risk management. To address these challenges the VCC designed an interdisciplinary executive level training course for high potential/high-performing public sector officials from resource rich developing countries responsible for administering and managing the extractive industries sector in their respective countries, as well as representatives of local civil society organizations and other interested parties.

This three-week course will cover cross-cutting themes such as the economics and geopolitics of the extractive industries, legal and fiscal frameworks, leveraging investments through industrial policies and infrastructure development, revenue management and planning, local community development and environmental protection including planning for and managing the impact of climate change. The course will help to build the skills necessary to support the responsible development of the countries’ extractive industries sectors, and facilitate knowledge sharing across the different government departments and ministries involved in the sector, as well as between the different countries represented at the course. The executive training will primarily draw from Earth Institute and Columbia University faculty from various disciplines; as necessary, outside experts may be invited to teach specific topics.

The VCC and Columbia University are undertaking advisory work in a number of resource-rich countries, from which the first cohort of participants would be expected to be drawn: Mozambique, Ghana, Namibia, Guinea, Zambia, Colombia, Sierra Leone and Haiti among others. This program is also highly relevant for representatives of local civil society organizations and stakeholders of extractive industry projects. The ultimate goal is to equip national governments and community leaders with the approach, tools and resources to leverage their natural resources for sustainable development.

The Extractive Industries & Sustainable Development Executive Training Program has been approved by the Provost’s Office of Columbia University and will grant participants that complete the program a Statement of Attendance. The first training session is scheduled for the Summer of 2013.

Anticipated intern tasks:

The VCC is seeking a student intern to assist with the preparations leading up to the first training session. Student interns will have the opportunity to develop their project management skills by drafting budgets, designing the training course and schedule, recruiting participants and managing applications, fundraising, liaising with departments and offices inside and outside of the University with respect to logistics, coordinating with speakers and participants as the training approaches, and assisting as needed with all aspects of the program.  Further, the intern will gain an understanding of the operation of the Center and will have the opportunity to continue working on the project during the Summer of 2013.

The intern will work closely with the Center Manager and with the research staff of the Center, who are managing the administrative and substantive aspects of the program, respectively. Both will be available to meet regularly with the intern, who will receive direct supervision from the Center Manager. The intern will also be invited to regular meetings with the VCC staff to coordinate and prioritize tasks.

Skills preferred:

  • Interest in sustainable development and extractive industries and natural resource management.
  • Astute organizational, analytical, and writing skills and enjoy working in a team.

Type of student desired:  Graduate

***

12. Analysis of alternative means of visualizing quantitative data for decision making by policy makers in developing countries

Department/Center: Center for Research on Environmental Decisions

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:

The intern will provide research assistance:

  • 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:

  • Interest in sustainable development
  • Moderate proficiency with Excel, strong writing and communication skills
  • Basic data analysis

Type of student desired:  Graduate or undergraduate

***

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter

Comment Using Social Media

Comment