State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate School Internship Opportunities for Summer 2023

The Climate School is offering internship opportunities for diverse administrative, communications and research roles with sustainability-related projects. Current full-time Columbia and Barnard students (undergraduate, graduate, and PhD) are eligible to apply. 

Summer 2023 internships are paid at a rate of $21.50/hour. The maximum possible funding is for 260 hours (or 20 hours/week for 13 weeks) and the internship period runs June 1 – August 31. Students must be available to start on or around June 1.

The application deadline is Monday, April 24, 2023 at 11:30 pm ET. Decisions will be made shortly after the deadline.

Read the full position descriptions below carefully for specific requirements for each position type.To apply, visit the application here. While you may apply for more than one position, you must submit separate applications for each. To apply for multiple positions, return to the form after you submit it to select another position. 

Contact Yana Zeltser (yzeltser@climate.columbia.edu) with questions.

Summer 2023 Internship positions include:

  1. AgMIP9 Global Workshop (undergraduate, graduate)
  2. Climate Change and Equity in Disaster Management: Developing Training and Education (graduate, PhD)
  3. Climate Communications (undergraduate, graduate)
  4. Communicating Climate Change Science and Impacts of Climate Change Stressors on Vulnerable Ecosystems and Coastal Communities
  5. Community Climate Stories: Nourishing Inclusive Connections for Climate Writers (undergraduate, graduate)
  6. DEI + Sustainability Summer Fellowship (graduate)
  7. Developing IRI’s Climate Services Academies to Support Climate-smart Development (undergraduate, graduate)
  8. Developing Web and Social Media Content Showcasing Projects on Socio-economic Vulnerabilities of Coastal Communities to Climate Change (undergraduate, graduate)
  9. Development and Delivery of Childcare Emergency Operations Plans Trainings in Puerto Rico (graduate, PhD)
  10. The Pol-AR Project (graduate)

Read more about each position in the descriptions below.

AgMIP9 Global Workshop

Student Type Desired: Undergraduate, graduate

Department/Program: Center for Climate Systems Research

Project Objectives: The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) is organizing its 9th Global Workshop to be held at Columbia University on June 26-30, 2023. The workshop will bring together experts on climate, agriculture, food systems, diets, and more from around the world to present latest results and set workplans and timelines for future work. The intern will support the AgMIP Coordination Unit with logistical planning for the event.

Anticipated Tasks: The intern will support all activities related to logistics planning for the workshop, including drafting and sending invitations, keeping track of registrations, working with the AgMIP communications coordinator to develop social media posts/blogs/online content to promote the workshop, etc. They will also support the workshop in person — helping participants register, taking notes during specific sessions, and other tasks as assigned. The intern will also have an opportunity to help with follow-through activities of the workshop, contributing to workshop report drafting, creating online content summarizing workshop outcomes, etc.

Skills Required: Writing skills are very important, along with a willingness to learn WordPress, HTML, and engage in creative thinking; ability to take direction and work independently; familiarity with climate change and sustainability issues; knowledge of MS Office Suite; attention to detail; organizational ability; familiarity with Adobe Creative Suite and video editing a plus.

Climate Change and Equity in Disaster Management: Developing Training and Education

Student Type Desired: Graduate, PhD

Department/Program: National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP)

Project Objectives: As part of broader federal efforts to mitigate and adapt to climatological challenges, FEMA has awarded NCDP with a three-year training grant to create a national curriculum on climate resilience with a focus on equity for today’s state, local, tribal, and territorial emergency managers.

Anticipated Tasks: The intern will work with the curriculum development and instructional design teams to help create, design, and edit course materials. They may also evaluate existing courses to update information or integrate new approaches. This is an opportunity for the intern to acquire stronger skills in the areas of research, analysis, teamwork and problem-solving, and to practice effective workplace communication. The curriculum development process involves curriculum mapping, lesson and project planning, and course development. With the interns’ contributions, the curriculum development and instructional design teams will increase efficiency in the production process and improve the quality of the courses.

Skills Required: Experience in researching climate resilience, disaster preparedness, and recovery; excellent writing and research skills; interest in disasters and impacts on populations; attention to detail and ability to work independently.

Climate Communications

Student Type Desired: Undergraduate, graduate

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

Project Objectives:
The goal of this project is to update and maintain the Sabin Center’s public-facing research resources, including the Climate Law Blog, the Inflation Reduction Act Tracker, and various other digital and social media resources.

Anticipated Tasks:
The intern will work to update the Climate Law Blog, the Sabin Center’s repository for timely climate law publications. This blog has recently been redesigned, and existing posts need to be re-categorized, tagged, and updated to match the new formatting criteria. In addition, the intern will work to maintain the Sabin Center’s social media presence by promoting the center’s activities. Finally, the intern will work to support the Sabin Center’s legal databases, including the newly developed Inflation Reduction Act Tracker. These projects require an intern’s support because each task consists of administrative work that benefits from judgment, discretion, and a curiosity about climate change.

Skills Required: Social media competence (Twitter, Mastodon, LinkedIn, Facebook) [Required]; basic knowledge of WordPress and DRUPL platforms [Required]; familiarity with climate change concepts and terminology [Required]; experience with MailChimp [Preferred].

Communicating Climate Change Science and Impacts of Climate Change Stressors on Vulnerable Ecosystems and Coastal Communities

Department/Program: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Project Objectives:

  • Objective 1: Improve understanding on how climate change stressors impact ecological processes and communities in vulnerable coastal environments.
  • Objective 2: Improve understanding on impacts of extreme events (intense storms, floods, droughts) on coastal ecosystems, habitat, and communities.
  • Objective 3: Assess what are the main drivers of water quality degradation, hypoxia, and eutrophication in urban coastal waters.
  • Objective 4: Capture and integrate input from local communities (e.g., local stakeholders as well as underrepresented communities) into our research.
  • Objective 5: Bridge and translate science to policy, decision makers, and the public.
  • Objective 6: Examine human-ecosystem interactions in urban coastal systems.

Anticipated Tasks:

  • Develop web content relevant to this project;
  • Develop social media content;
  • Write blogs and essays; 
  • Interview project participants, collaborators and stakeholders involved in this project;
  • Assist with development of short videos/recordings.

The intern’s tasks are directly relevant to the project’s objectives and will focus on enhancing the broader impacts of the project by writing blogs and essays as well as developing web and social media content relevant to projects findings. The intern’s activities will be critical to translate our science to practical applications, policy makers, and the general public.

Skills Required: Creativity; Critical thinking and problem-solving; Initiative; Organizational Skills; Strong background and interest in climate change, environmental sciences and social science; Effective oral and written communication skills (e.g., essays, blogs, interviews); Experience with various social media and communication platforms (e.g., YouTube, Instagram); Experience with web content development (e.g., story maps); Teamwork and collaboration skills.

Community Climate Stories: Nourishing Inclusive Connections for Climate Writers 

Student Type Desired: Undergraduate, graduate

Department/Program: Columbia Earth Networks Program

Project Objectives:
The CCS project will pilot a welcoming, diverse and inclusive online community for creative climate writers of all stripes. Columbia Climate Imaginations Network (CCIN) is collaborating with the Ecological Design Collective (EDC), a Baltimore-based collaboration between Johns Hopkins and other educational and non-profit institutions, and the internationally-renowned environmental publication Grist Magazine, to build an online community of free workshops, resources and connections for writers around the world. EDC is providing hosting and infrastructure; Grist will be contributing content, connections and support. CCIN has committed to providing workshop resources and facilitation, and we are excited at the chance to host an intern to participate in the pilot/rollout phase of the project over summer 2023. The intern will serve as a facilitator and moderator, with scope to contribute creatively (e.g. by designing workshops, or leading platform conversations, or connecting with publications) in ways that advance their own creative and professional goals.

Anticipated Tasks:
Conduct outreach to historically marginalized and underserved communities (e.g. HBCUs, community centers, Global South creative organizations) to engage writers, raise awareness of the platform, and incorporate suggestions for activities and materials of service and benefit to these populations; Moderate and facilitate discussions and activities in the pilot Climate Storytellers community on JHU’s Eco Design Collective Platform; Liaise with writers and staff at Grist to develop workshop and writing prompt and feedback materials for community participants; Lead development of worksheet and idea generation materials for CCIN; Work with other CCIN members with designing and trialling workshops; Scope publication and outlet opportunities for writers and publicize on the platform.

Skills Required: Experience communicating and collaborating with (ethnically, culturally, gender, age, ability, class, location) diverse audiences; Commitment to and enthusiasm for creating an inclusive and welcoming online environment; Very strong English writing and communication skills; Flexibility to adapt and respond to emerging needs of diverse community base; Online moderation or community leadership experience (preferred); Experience in the creative industries, especially writing (preferred); Familiarity with Facebook-style online communities (preferred); Conflict resolution and management experience (preferred)

DEI + Sustainability Summer Fellowship

Student Type Desired: Graduate

Department/Program: SUMA & Columbia Climate School

Project Objectives: This project aims to strengthen DEI efforts and initiatives within the sustainability graduate programs and Climate School partner programs. Students will engage in a variety of activities and work that highlights the close connectivity of DEI and sustainability. This project will involve developing curriculum and programming that bring equity-centered perspectives on sustainability, integrate environmental justice knowledge, and enable students to deeply engage with social justice issues. In conjunction with offices and people throughout the network, this project will provide fellows with a high-level overview of strategy, planning, and development in DEI + Sustainability spaces.

Anticipated Tasks:
This project aims to center DEI advancements with student feedback and development — with an emphasis on students. The student intern will help develop workshops, skills seminars, course curriculum, and future DEI Initiatives for the sustainability programs, partner programs, and beyond. The intern will brainstorm and build relationships with program administrations, Climate School and SPS leaders, and entities across the Columbia network. The intern will also engage in the broadness of DEI + Sustainability, working individually and collectively, to craft presentations and resources to aid in marketing and recruitment for the programs. The intern will also contribute to website and social media updates.

Skills Required: Interest in DEI work; Interest in higher education administration; Sustainability emphasis; Computer skills; Public speaking and presentation skills; Community engagement; Be available for in-person and virtual.

Developing IRI’s Climate Services Academies to Support Climate-smart Development

Student Type Desired: Undergraduate, graduate

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

Project Objectives: IRI’s Climate Services Academies support generation, tailoring, communication and use of climate services for climate-smart development by: Convening stakeholders (public, NGO, and private actors) from the climate information production community (primarily national and regional hydro-met agencies) and from at-risk sectors to identify climate information needs for key socio-economic sectors. Design professional development programs to fill these gaps. IRI engages with national, regional, and international partners in developing sector-specific capacities. Educate a new generation of climate-smart professionals through the Climate Services Academy and higher education programs such as the Columbia Climate School and partner universities.

Anticipated Tasks: The intern will provide valuable support to the design and development of select IRI trainings throughout summer 2023, through practical application of best practices in educational design and technology. The intern will focus on supporting the curation, development, and archiving of training content. Specific tasks will be dependent upon the intern’s experience and goals, and may include: Curating and producing training assets and materials (e.g., videos, visualizations, data, etc.); Reviewing training content developed by IRI’s subject matter experts; Archiving content in training database. The intern will also have the opportunity to participate in one remote IRI training during summer 2023 (pending availability).

Skills Required: Excellent writing and editing skills; Excellent communication skills; Ability to work independently on discrete tasks while maintaining alignment with the broader project; Ability to problem solve and engage in rapid iteration; Experience with Google Drive, Airtable, and Miro preferred but not required.

Developing Web and Social Media Content Showcasing Projects on Socio-economic Vulnerabilities of Coastal Communities to Climate Change

Student Type Desired: Undergraduate, graduate

Department/Program: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Project Objectives: Our lab has three ongoing projects focused on assessing the socio-economic vulnerabilities of coastal communities to ocean ecosystem changes being brought about by global warming and human activities. Specifically, these projects are geared toward understanding both the short-term and long-term impacts of oceanic warming, coastal eutrophication, hypoxia and ocean acidification on planktonic life at the bottom of the food chain and the startling impacts on the food web and the consequences for the livelihoods and socio-economic well being of coastal communities. These projects span a broad range of geographical locations in Asia, Middle East, Africa and the U.S. East Coast, each beset with unique climate-related problems. Presently our social media presence is limited to scientific findings and tailored for specialists. What we seek is a complete update and revamp of our website and its content, to better represent the societal aspects of our work and to appeal to a broader audience that includes non-specialists. We are also keen to showcase our community activities, our long-standing efforts to provide internship opportunities to high school students, especially women and those from socio-economically disadvantaged and under-represented minority communities.

Anticipated Tasks: Our group has been involved in several projects that cover how the warming trend in the north Atlantic Ocean is causing the northward migration of New England’s lobster populations, how outbreaks of algal blooms due to the spread of hypoxia and ocean acidification are impacting coastal ocean food webs and marine biodiversity. Despite the societal relevance of these projects, we have not been able to showcase how our ongoing contributions closely align with President Bolinger’s ‘Fourth Purpose’ of universities — on advancing the use of knowledge gained at universities to advance human welfare and bring about meaningful change. We seek an intern who is artistic and creative, capable of using numerous photographs and video content from our field activities and developing content that showcases the societal relevance of our work. Since these projects are also multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary, students will have the opportunity to interact with a broad range of experts and stakeholders both within and outside of the U.S.

Skills Required: We seek a student who is curious to learn and communicate the broad range of research being done in our lab to a wider audience, in particular non-specialists. The student’s task include 1) producing web and social media content that builds on tools available at Climate School; 2) Collect and upload news articles and multimedia relevant to this planktonic species and its disruption of the marine food chain; 3) Upload photographs and videos from our field work with easy-to-understand narrative; 4) Interview collaborators, students and interns and showcase their work; 5) Possibly create small animated educational videos.This project seeks a compassionate person who understands the food, water and livelihood insecurities faced by millions across our globe due to climate change

Development and Delivery of Childcare Emergency Operations Plans Trainings in Puerto Rico

Student Type Desired: Graduate, PhD

Department/Program: National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP)

Project Objectives: This project aims to strengthen Puerto Rico’s childcare sector’s capacity to prepare for, respond and recover from potential emergencies or disasters. Ultimately, it intends to strengthen community preparedness by focusing on the needs of children in disasters. NCDP is leading the development of planning and training resources to assist childcare centers across Puerto Rico in strengthening their emergency planning (developing new or improving existing emergency operations plans). NCDP is working in collaboration with the PR Department of Family Affairs and Emergency Management in the development of planning tools and training program, aiming to deliver training of trainers to department staff, and directly to childcare facilities across Puerto Rico.

Anticipated Tasks: An intern will help achieve project objectives in a critical time of the project timeline, in which the project team will need additional support to finalize the development of training materials once the consultation phase is over in April-May and we transition into training delivery after the summer. The tasks the intern will perform will give them a good learning experience of the subject-matter, while also allowing them to take ownership of concrete outputs/deliverables. Their tasks will include: Contributing to the development of training materials: PowerPoint and speaker notes, Instructor guide; Developing communications materials; Supporting the coordination of training delivery.

Skills Required: Research, policy, or practical experience around childcare and/or emergency management or emergency planning; Experience developing education materials/instructional design; Strong organizational skills and attention to detail; Excellent written communication skills; Fluent written and spoken Spanish

The Pol-AR Project

Student Type Desired: Graduate

Department/Program: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Project Objectives: The Pol-AR project has developed a mixed reality (XR) application designed to enable novel and accessible visualization and scientific analysis of glaciological data, currently accessible through a headset-based experience. The goal of this internship is to provide the administrative and organizational support required to make Pol-AR applications more accessible to the general public as they are ported to a web-based viewer. Doing so will inform the public about scientific research and help excite students in marginalized communities about careers in science.

Anticipated Tasks:
The intern will have three sets of tasks. First, to participate in porting the Pol-AR application to WebXR and display it on the project website. Second, to document the project architecture and assist with administrative tasks. Third, to organize and host a demonstration event (in-person or online) for students targeted towards historically disadvantaged communities. Proper documentation and sharing of the web-based product is necessary to make the tool broadly accessible to student audiences.

Skills Required: Website development experience, high standard of verbal communication, interest or experience in augmented/virtual reality platforms.

Science for the Planet: In these short video explainers, discover how scientists and scholars across the Columbia Climate School are working to understand the effects of climate change and help solve the crisis.
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