Earth Intern Program for Columbia and Barnard Students

Sponsored by the Earth Institute, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Barnard College, and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University

Program Dates: May 31st-August 9th, 2011

The Earth Intern Program offers the chance to experience scientific research as an undergraduate. The program is open to all Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, Columbia General Studies, and Barnard students who have completed their junior or sophomore year in college with majors (or anticipated majors) in earth science, environmental science, chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, engineering or political science. Graduating seniors are not eligible. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.

Applicants should have an interest in conducting research in the Earth, atmospheric, or ocean sciences. Completion of at least two courses in Earth, atmospheric or ocean sciences is desirable. All students are required to have at least one year of calculus. Students undertaking research in geochemistry and chemical oceanography are required to have at least two semesters of college-level chemistry. Students undertaking research in marine biology are required to have at least two semesters of college-level biology. Students undertaking research in geophysics should have at least three semesters of college-level physics.

STIPEND: Students will receive a stipend of $5000 for this 10-week program.  In addition, the student will receive free, air-conditioned housing in dorms across the street from the Columbia campus. (Local students who are accepted to the program and who prefer to live at home will receive an additional $1000.) Students will also receive free bus transportation between the Columbia campus and Lamont. Students who are traveling to New York for this internship from more than 200 miles away will be reimbursed for a round-trip supersaver fare.

The following members of the Earth Institute and the LDEO staff will act as research mentors:

Benjamin Bostick. Expertise: Aqueous Geochemistry.  Current Research: Iron Reduction in Sediments and Its Role in Arsenic Contamination. 

Albert Boulanger and David Waltz.  Expertise: Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, Power Systems.  Current Research: Analysis and Modeling to Increase Energy Efficiency of the Physical Plant at the Columbia Main Campus.

Steven Chillrud, Tim Kenna, Beizhan Yan, Frank Nitsche and Suzanne Carbotte. Expertise: Urban Environmental Geochemistry, Contaminant Behavior, Marine Geology and Geophysics. Current Research: Reconstructing Contaminant Loadings to NY Harbor over the 20th Century.

Sidney Hemming and Elizabeth Pierce. Expertise: Paleoclimate, Paleoceanography, Geochronology, Geochemistry of Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks, Tracer Studies, Tectonics and Crustal Evolution. Current Research: Using Thermochronology of Sand Grains and Pebbles from Antarctica to Constrain Long Term Erosion History.

Yochanan Kushnir.  Expertise: Climate Modeling and Diagnostics. Current Research: Characteristics of Weather Extremes in the Northeastern United States. 

Brian Mailloux.  Expertise: Environmental Microbiology, Environmental Science.   Current Research: Radiocarbon Analysis of Microbial DNA from Bangladesh Aquifers.

Ben Orlove and Simon Mason.  Expertise: Environmental Anthropology, Adaptation to Climate Change, Climate Policy.  Current Research: Assessing the Factors which Support Climate Forecasting by African Meteorological Services.

Pratigya Polissar. Expertise: Paleoclimate and Climate Change, Organic Geochemistry, Isotope Geochemistry.  Current Research: Development of a New Paleoclimate Technique to Study Aridity using Lake Sediment Cores.

Heather Savage.  Expertise: Experimental Rock and Fault Mechanics, Structural Geology. Current Research: Whats Cooking? An Investigation of a New Fault Paleothermometer.  Shaking Up Faults.

Ashley Shuler and Gran Ekstrm.  Expertise: Seismology, Volcanology, Earthquake Source Parameters, Caldera Collapse.  Current Research: A Modern Seismological Study of the 1968 Caldera Collapse at Fernandina Volcano, Galapagos Islands.

Sean Smukler.  Expertise: Agroecology, Ecosystem Service Modeling, Terrestrial Carbon Sequestration. Current Research: Analysis of Vegetation Biodiversity and Carbon Sequestration after 5 Years of Sustainable Development in the Millennium Village in Sauri, Kenya.

Sylwia Trzaska and Susana Adamo.  Expertise: Climate Impacts on Public Health, Demography, Population and Environment.  Current Research: Population Movements and Meningitis: Mapping Migration Patterns in Nger.

Beizhan Yan. Expertise: Environmental Geochemistry. Current Research: Evaluating Contaminants in Urban Air Using a Nondestructive Optical Absorption Technique.

 APPLICATION DEADLINE: Application must be received by March 15, 2011.

To apply, fill out the on line application form at this location:                                   

The online application form will ask for a statement of interest, a resume and two letters of recommendation.  These are part of the on-line application form and do not need to be sent by regular mail.

In addition, send by regular mail (NOT email):

Official college transcript(s);

Columbia and Barnard students who also want their application considered for the Lamont Summer intern program sponsored by NSF Ocean Sciences should select 3 research projects each for both programs on the online application form. It is not necessary to send separate applications and transcripts when applying to both programs.

 For more information about the program, look at this link:

Send transcripts to: Dr. Dallas Abbott, Columbia Earth Intern Program, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York 10964, email:

Decisions for all but the waiting list will be made on or before April 15, 2011. Every year the research projects and advisors change. Please look for the yearly posting of new projects on the first of February.