State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Summer 2024 Climate School Internship Opportunities

Columbia Morningside campus and NYC from northwest corner building.
Columbia Morningside Campus and NYC from northwest corner building. Credit: Eileen Barroso, Columbia University

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

Summer internships are paid at a rate of $22/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 about June 1st. Students hires are required to be within commuting distance during their summer employment at Columbia and must make their own housing arrangements.

The application deadline is Sunday, April 7 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. 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.

For each position application, you will need to submit your cover letter and resume combined into a single file.

Contact Yana Zeltser ( with questions.

The Summer 2024 Internship positions include:

  1. Advancing Land Based Investment Governance (undergraduate, graduate)
  2. Climate School-WE ACT Thriving Community Technical Assistance Center Program (undergraduate, graduate, PhD)
  3. Communicating Climate Science and Impacts of Environmental Stressors on Vulnerable Ecosystems and Communities (graduate)
  4. Coordinating Indigenous and NGO participation in climate negotiations (undergraduate, graduate, PhD)
  5. DEI + Sustainability Summer Fellowship Project (graduate)
  6. Institutional Partnerships (undergraduate)

Internship Position Descriptions:

1. Project Title: Advancing Land Based Investment Governance
Student type desired: undergraduate, graduate
Department/Program: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

Project Objectives
Under the Advancing Land Based Investment Governance (ALIGN) consortium, CCSI and two partner organizations provide responsive technical support to governments, civil society, local communities and Indigenous Peoples in strengthening national policy on land-based investments. The project responds to concerns that land-based investments (including renewable energy investments) are often seen as critical to advancing sustainable development though may also contribute to dispossession, environmental degradation, and conflict. ALIGN activities are under way in multiple countries across Sub-Saharan African and the Asia-Pacific. Thematic foci include land rights, climate change, and energy transition policy.

Anticipated Tasks
1) Tracking web and social media content related to ALIGN activities to support responsiveness to dynamic legal and policy landscapes and inform ALIGN strategy development.
2) Developing twitter and website content on ALIGN projects; social media content has proved valuable in reaching target government and private sector stakeholders.
3) Supporting communication and efficiency across consortium and external partner organizations through developing and updating project tracking spreadsheets and note-taking in meetings.

Proposed benefits of this project to the intern:
The intern will have the opportunity to learn from external partners in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia about the environmental and human rights concerns surrounding land-based investments, as well as about public sector efforts to improve investment governance. The intern will develop social media, written communication, stakeholder engagement and organizational skills as well as their attention to detail. They will learn about responsible land-based investment, investment governance, and community and Peoples’ rights in the context of resource investments, and cross-cutting areas including the just transition. Networking opportunities with CCSI staff and fellow interns will be available.

Skills Required: 
Strong attention to detail, excellent written communication skills, strong organizational and interpersonal skills, knowledge or experience of issues relating to land-based investment governance, community and Peoples’ rights, climate change, the energy transition and cross-cutting themes would be preferred but is not required. French is a plus.

2. Project Title: Climate School-WE ACT Thriving Community Technical Assistance Center Program
Student type desired: undergraduate, graduate, PhD
Department/Program: Columbia Climate School

Project Objectives:
Interns will support the Columbia Climate School-WE ACT Thriving Community Technical Assistance Center Program team. The Region 2: WE ACT TCTAC serves New York and New Jersey and aims to help underserved communities gain access to grant and funding opportunities so that they’re better positioned to advance and address environmental, climate, and energy justice issues. We (members of the TCTAC) offer training and technical assistance to build capacity for navigating grant application systems, writing strong grant proposals, effectively managing grants, and engaging in environmental and energy justice decision-making. As part of this team, the selected individual will support the following administrative efforts

Anticipated Tasks
1) Coordinating Technical Assistance requests; Track participant data; Collate data to provide program progress reports.
2) Identify and meet with potential technical assistance providers.
3) The intern will also support TCTAC Steering Committee Meetings and working groups including a) Set up meeting agendas, b) Note-taking, c) Coordinate follow up.
4) The intern will might also provide logistical support with a) In-person and virtual trainings, b) Community tours through our NY and NJ, c) WE ACT TCTAC cohort events

Examples of key functions during placement may include: Supporting strategic partnership development, Assessing the impact of WE ACT TCTAC on disadvantaged communities, and Helping to develop content for internal and external outreach efforts.

Benefits of this project to the intern:
The intern will gain experience working with environmental justice and community-based organizations, strengthen data collection and organizational skills, and work collaboratively with a project team of members from diverse backgrounds (university staff, NGOs, CBOs, etc.)

Skills Required:  Excellent organizational skills, good people skills, some knowledge of and interest in environmental or climate justice (preferably courses taken or previous work experience). Students who are passionate and interested in environmental justice.

3. Project Title: Communicating Climate Science and Impacts of Environmental Stressors on Vulnerable Ecosystems and Communities
Student type desired: graduate
Department/Program: Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory

Project Objectives:
1) Improve understanding on how climate change stressors (sea level rise, increasing temperature, eutrophication, hypoxia) impact ecological processes in vulnerable coastal environments, and communicate results to coastal communities, including underserved populations.
2)  Improve understanding on impacts of extreme events (intense storms, floods, droughts) on coastal ecosystems, habitat, and communities.
3) Improve understanding on why climate change is an environmental justice issue.
4) Capture and integrate input from local communities into our research.
5) Bridge and translate science to policy, decision makers, and the public.
6) Examine human-ecosystem interactions in urban coastal systems.

Anticipated Tasks
1) Develop web content relevant to this project
2) Develop social media content
3) Write blogs and essays
4) Interview project participants, collaborators and stakeholders involved in this project
5) Assist with development of short videos/recordings

Benefits of this project to the intern:

Through this project, the intern will learn about the impact of climate change and extreme events on coastal ecological processes and ecosystem stressors. Through involvement in all phases of the project, the intern will have the opportunity to broaden the knowledge obtained in courses, become familiar with current literature on climate change and impacts on coastal ecology, biodiversity, coastal communities and water resources, and develop skills in communication of findings. They will also gain experience in working both independently and cooperatively with a diverse group of people, and understanding and applying writing/communications methods, ethics and conduct rules.

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

4. Project Title: Coordinating Indigenous and NGO participation in climate negotiations
Student type desired: undergraduate, graduate, PhD
Department/Program: Columbia Climate School

Project Objectives:
This project seeks to expand the participation of Indigenous Peoples with two groups involved in the UNFCCC negotiations: an NGO, the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (, and a high-level group of nations, Ambition on Melting Ice (, which includes a number of countries (Nepal, Chile, Peru, Tanzania) with substantial Indigenous populations. These two organizations press for climate action to address ice loss and sea level rise; though there is some Indigenous involvement through the Inuit Circumpolar Council ( around sea ice, Indigenous engagement could be greatly expanded in regions of mountain glaciers and permafrost.

Anticipated Tasks

1) The intern will coordinate with Indigenous organizations, such as the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform ( and national organizations, as well as with the two groups above.

2) They will track activities around cryosphere, mountain and permafrost issues within the UNFCCC processes and Indigenous Peoples organizations.

3) They will assemble case studies of effective adaptation and mitigation activities that involve full just partnerships between Indigenous Peoples and other organizations.

4) They will assist in preparing notes and documents leading up to COP29 in Azerbaijan, and support the development of the International Year of Glacier Protextion (2025) announced by UNESCO, and will prepare posts on this efforts for the GlacierHub within the Climate School website State of the Planet (

Benefits of this project to the intern:
The intern will gain knowledge and experience of international climate negotiations, learn the challenges and opportunities of promoting engagement of marginalized communities, and develop skills in locating and analyzing assessment and policy documents. The intern will also produce posts for State of the Planet which will have their byline and permanent URLs.

Skills Required: 
Familiarity with climate policy, climate science and impacts, and climate justice; Strong skills in managing documents and references; Writing skills for drafting documents and reports; Experience in related areas of climate justice preferred; International experience preferred.

5. Project Title: DEI + Sustainability Summer Fellowship Project
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, EMPHASIS ON STUDENTS. Students will help develop workshops, skills seminars, course curriculum, and future DEI Initiatives for the Sustainability Programs, partner programs, and beyond. Students will brainstorm and build relationships with program administrations, Climate School & SPS leaders, and entities across the Columbia network. Students 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. Students will also contribute to website and social media updates.

Benefits of this project to the intern:

Student will gain skills and competencies in DEI planning. Student will partner with SUMA administrators, faculty, and other campus leaders on their DEI efforts. Students will gain a better understanding of the strategy and development behind DEI Programming. Students will also gain valuable experience in working in higher education administration and leadership. Students will develop transferable skills that will be valuable, no matter the desired career path. Students will provide support for projects of the Sustainability Graduate Programs and on broader equity efforts at Columbia and in the surrounding community.

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 & Virtual.

6. Project Title: Institutional Partnerships
Student type desired: undergraduate
Department/Program: Columbia Climate School, Office of Development

Project Objectives:
The Summer Intern will contribute to the following summer projects:
1) Continue to develop and refine the Climate School’s first development database of institutional funders and prospects.
2) Prepare Materials for Strategy Sessions and Pipeline Meetings
3) Prospect Research

Anticipated Tasks
Picking up where our previous intern left off, the new summer intern will continue to build and refine the development database. They will source and compile publicly available contact information on prospects and funders to the School to support the creation of an actionable database. The intern will also work closely to support the team in the preparation of presentation materials (slide decks, summary documents, agendas); take meeting notes and then synthesize and distribute them to meeting participants. Lastly, they will contribute to the development of prospect briefings for Climate School.

Benefits of this project to the intern:
The student will get an inside view of how the Climate School raises funding from the climate philanthropy sector, primarily foundations and corporations. The student will learn about key global funding priorities for the climate sector and how the Columbia Climate School’s education, research, and impact objectives match to these areas of giving. The student will uplevel their ability to use AI to efficiently and effectively accomplish routine tasks such as prospect briefings and create compelling PPTs.

Skills Required: 
Intern should have strong English language writing and project management skills; facility with Microsoft 365 platform, Google workspace, and LinkedIn. A familiarity with customer relationship management (CRM) databases is preferred, but not essential. Prior experience using ChatGPT, BardAI, or other generative AI models is most welcome. The intern should possess a curiosity for what drives philanthropic engagement in the climate sector, specifically towards an academic institution like the Columbia Climate School.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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