Research at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) emphasizes a broad study of global change, which is an interdisciplinary initiative addressing natural and man-made changes in our environment that occur on various time scales — from one-time forcings such as volcanic explosions, to seasonal and annual effects such as El Niño, and on up to the millennia of ice ages — and that affect the habitability of our planet.
GISS is located at Columbia University in New York City. The institute is a laboratory in the Earth Sciences Division of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and is affiliated with the Columbia Institute and School of Engineering and Applied Science.
The current fall internship projects and descriptions being offered for undergraduate and graduate students are below.
Description: Advanced satellite retrievals of snow properties benefit from the synergistic exploitation of data originating from multiple sensors. For this reason, such data needs first and foremost to be co-located and merged into custom files for practicality of use when input to the retrieval algorithms. Continuing the work performed by previous interns, we will exploit available processing tools to co-locate several-years’ worth of data pixels from the MODIS, POLDER, and CALIPSO sensors and run statistics of interest on pixel-based properties. Ideal candidates for this project are students with strong interdisciplinary skills, including experience with the analysis of geophysical datasets and their visualization, but also well versed in code development. High proficiency in Python is a requirement, and knowledge of system architecture concepts is considered an advantage since the batch processing of large amounts of data requires to be optimized for speed. PREFERRED SKILLS Computer Skills: High proficiency in Python is a requirement, and knowledge of system architecture concepts is considered an advantage since the batch processing of large amounts of data requires to be optimized for speed. Technical Skills: Ideal candidates for this project are students with strong interdisciplinary skills, including experience with the analysis of geophysical datasets and their visualization, but also well versed in code development.
Project Description: The retrieval of snow properties and their evolution in polar regions is a very important component of climate research. We are in the process of developing a new retrieval scheme that exploits the polarization state of the light measured by satellite sensors (POLDER), in addition to measurements of intensity only (like those of MODIS). Such a retrieval scheme is composed of a “forward” radiative transfer engine (written in Fortran), driven by an “inversion” wrapper available as part of a Python package. Inverse methods can be applied as solvers to the widest class of problems and have the advantage of adding a detailed error budget estimate of the state parameters to the retrieval of their values. In this case it will enable the retrieval of parameters descriptive of the snowpack like grain shape and size, the concentration of light-absorbing impurities, but also the simultaneous determination of the properties of aerosols that might be present in the scene above the snowpack.
Project Description: The retrieval of parameters descriptive of the earth system is of obvious importance for climate science studies. In preparation for the NASA Plankton, Aerosol, ocean Ecosystem mission, we are developing an advanced retrieval scheme that exploits measurements of the polarization state of light to deliver the status of the ocean surface and the presence of possible contaminants such as oil. The retrieval scheme belongs to the class of “inverse methods”, where an “inversion wrapper” drives a “forward” radiative-transfer engine. We are interested in testing the improvement in computational speed achievable by applying neural-network trainings to look-up tables produced with the forward code. Through the interaction with the GISS RSP group, the intern will have the chance to be exposed to several aspects of remote sensing for climate research, from the preparation for airborne and spaceborne campaigns to their execution and subsequent data analysis.
Project Description: “Development of a NASA Climate Game – connecting diverse players with NASA models as the core of an exciting curriculum” Position description: Four interns will work with scientists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City to develop a climate game designed to engage large groups of diverse students in an multidisciplinary STEM education curricular challenge and gamification experience related to the science and study of climate science. The game will be developed in a collaborative team environment overseen by NASA scientists with each team member responsible for elements of the game while interacting with other team members to ensure coherence of individual elements.
Intern Position 1: Develop web interface for game players to initiate games, match with players connecting from different computers, interact during game play, provide inputs that drive the game experience, and document player actions. Minimum qualifications: – College sophomore or higher (college graduates, masters level students and teachers welcome). – Experience in HTML, Java or equivalent web development languages. – Strong communication skills and ability to work in team environment – Interest in climate change, related impacts, and international policymaking
Intern Position 2: Develop user interface that presents player with information about the game state and their ability to influence game behaviors. Draw information from underlying game models to present maps and status indicators for players. Develop ‘bells and whistles’ that enhance the user experience and the replay-ability of the game. Minimum qualifications: – College sophomore or higher (college graduates, masters level students and teachers welcome). – Experience in C++, Python or equivalent game development languages or game development applications (such as Unity or Unreal Engine) – Strong communication skills and ability to work in team environment – Strong skills in creating graphics and icons – Interest in climate change, related impacts, and international policymaking
Intern Position 3: Develop underlying game mechanics that connect multiple NASA models into elements that can be controlled by game players. Integrate user inputs from web interface into models to progress game play then organize model outputs for use in graphical display. Minimum qualifications: – College sophomore or higher (college graduates, masters level students and teachers welcome). – Experience in C++, Python or equivalent game development languages – Strong communication skills and ability to work in team environment – Experience working with large datasets and converting file formats – Interest in climate change, related impacts, and international policymaking
Intern Position 4: Develop curricula around the use of the climate game for classrooms and extracurricular engagement of the broader public. Curricula could include information about the mechanics of the game, lessons learned from game play, the implications of game results, in each case connected to the real-world conditions, science and experiences represented in the game. This intern will also help create mutual benefits possible through the simultaneous, coherent development of the curriculum and game design. Minimum qualifications: – Bachelor’s degree or higher (masters level students and especially teachers encouraged). – Strong communication skills and ability to work in team environment – Experience with Microsoft suite (Word, Powerpoint, Excel) – Knowledge of science curricula and appropriate levels of engagement for different age groups, game playing communities and interest levels. – Interest in climate change, related impacts, and international policymaking
Science & Art intern will develop an interdisciplinary education workshop for elementary school children in New York City, building on NASA GISS’s Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI). The education workshop will target Title 1 schools. It will highlight remote sensing data from NASA missions and climate change projections from NASA climate models. In this workshop, students will have the opportunity to interact with NASA scientists and draw their own connections between science and art. The Science & Art intern will be responsible for organizing the workshop’s presentations, agenda, and outreach. The intern will work directly with the Science & Art Team at NASA GISS. Background Information: During the time of the coronavirus, the NASA GISS Climate Impacts Group took on an initiative to connect our climate research with artistic expression. This collaborative project includes research visualizations from the Climate Impacts Group’s three pillars — agriculture, urban areas, and conservation and development. Using paint on canvas and videography, artist Kate Doyle and NASA scientists have transformed scientific research into art creations — all during the isolation period of the pandemic in New York City. The Science & Art Team will host an Exhibition to educate participants, encourage creative thinking, and share our scientific and artistic products. The Science & Art intern will be proficient in Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel. Skills working with Canva and Prezi are a plus. The ideal candidate will have experience in developing education workshops, understanding, and presenting of scientific data, and excellent verbal and written English communication skills. Requirements include the capability to accomplish tasks independently and in small groups (virtually), strong attention to detail, and effective time management. Experience with art is a plus.
If you’re interested in discussing the internship program or other STEM engagement opportunities please contact Matthew Pearce at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (646)-419-0144