Terms and Dates:

  • Summer 2020
One Time Opportunity

Cornell Affiliations:

Atkinson Center

Off-campus partner:

Environmental Defense Fund


Opportunity Description

Job Title: Air Quality Analysis Intern
Program/Department: Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS)

Are you interested in exploring a career at an internationally-recognized environmental organization? By joining EDF as an Intern, you too can be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and a focus on results are a way of life. EDF’s Internship Program welcomes intellectually hungry leaders to join us, advance our work, and cultivate the skills and relationships needed for a successful career working for the environment. Alumni of our Internship Program have gone on to important leadership positions, most notably our own President, Fred Krupp. Could you be the next Fred Krupp? 

EDF offers internships and fellowships for students and recent graduates in a variety of programs and departments throughout the organization. The ultimate goal of our internship and fellowship program is to provide high-quality experiences (including relevant projects and opportunities for networking) that form the foundation for any individual who is serious about pursuing an environmental career. 

Program Overview 

The Office of the Chief Scientist is the nexus of science at EDF, ensuring that the natural and social science that is the backbone for all EDF policy positions is based on the best available information. To be most effective in this role the Office of the Chief Scientist provides programmatic support for all scientists at EDF and fosters relationships with scientists outside the organization. The OCS team works on projects across all of EDF's programs, translating natural and social science basic and applied research into actionable ideas for colleagues who are designing programs and projects. 

Within OCS, the intern will report to the EDF team leading an air quality monitoring/modeling project in Salt Lake City. EDF, in collaboration with Google Earth Outreach and the University of Utah, launched a mobile measurement campaign to capture hyper-local air pollution and meteorological data in Salt Lake City. The Google Street View cars will be collecting data from April 2019 to March 2020. EDF had the opportunity to add the collection of two additional datasets, outside of the original project scope, providing a unique opportunity for an intern to analyze these data and answer important questions related to air pollution transport and mixing at the hyper-local and city scale. 

The intern will work on one or both of the two projects described: 

1. The first bonus dataset available for analysis is on-vehicle wind data. A device was added to one of the Google Street View cars to measure continuous wind direction and speed (in addition to the full suite of air pollution measurements being made by the car). This data is much more finely resolved in both space and time versus weather stations or weather modeling data. As a result, this data can provide unique insight into the wind patterns that are influencing the pollution that EDF & partners are measuring, including how well weather models capture fine scale variability in wind patterns. 

2. The second dataset is a collection of “background” measurements taken at locations thought tobe out of the influence of Salt Lake City basin sources. The roads on which these measurements were taken are either at higher elevations or upwind from city-sources. We wish to use these measurements, in combination with stationary monitor sites, and the full Google Street View measurement dataset to test the hypothesis that we can measure “background air pollution,” and therefore separate out the influence of background from the contribution of city-wide emissions sources. This work could inform the design of future measurement studies.

Key Responsibilities - tasks will include but are not limited to:

●    Manipulating and analyzing large datasets using tools such as python, R, SQL
●    Statistical analysis of data to calculate spatial and temporal means and variability, and compare to other datasets
●    Working with the EDF/University of Utah team to incorporate findings from datasets described above into the comprehensive understanding of the role of meteorology in fine scale air pollution transport
●    Participate in Salt Lake City weekly calls, communicating project progress and results

10 weeks during the summer

Full-time (35 hours per week)


Application Materials
Interested applicants should submit their cover letter and resume through the application portal at the link provided, together with any available samples of data analysis or data visualization (optional).