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Terms and Dates:

  • Summer 2021
One Time Opportunity


Carrie Young

Cornell Affiliations:

Atkinson Center

Off-campus partner:

Environmental Defense Fund


Opportunity Description

Job Title: Air Quality Analysis Intern
Program/Department: Office of Chief Scientist
Reports to: Tammy Thompson

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 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 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 Senior Air Quality Scientist. EDF, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE lab and the University of Utah are developing a website/mobile application that will help users visualize and understand the links between sources of air pollution, weather, and air pollution hotspots. The pilot stage of this Air Tracker tool will debut in early 2021 but the list of potential new features and capabilities is long and the work will be on-going. One promising route of expansion is the ability to look beyond hyper-local sources to larger scale regional air pollution sources. This will require a shift to a different way of tracking air backwards, and the definition of the point of spatial variability at which that shift should happen.

Overall Function

The intern will work with EDF Scientists and Project Leads with the following objective:

  1. Using previously collect EDF hyper-local mobile air pollution data, and on-going real-time air quality measurements from the EDF-Air Tracker tool and other public sources (PurpleAir), the candidate will investigate spatial patterns in air pollution and link the extent of high concentrations with a method for looking up-wind to find air pollution sources. Depending on the skill set and particular interests of the candidate, the particular objectives may focus on data collection and analysis, the development of variability statistics, approaches to coding, and/or communication of these concepts to the users of this tool.

Key Responsibilities

Tasks will include but are not limited to:

  • Analyzing spatial patterns in air pollution measurements
  • 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 project bi-weekly calls, communicating project progress and results


All EDF Internships are currently remote. The Supervisors for this position is based out of EDF’s New Boulder, CO, and Boston, MA office.


10 weeks


Full-time (35 hours/week)


This internship would involve either compensation for work paid at a rate competitive with leading non-profits or academic credit. Students are encouraged to seek academic credit or funding through their college/university and EDF will ensure that any and all paperwork needed to secure academic credit is completed.

Application Materials

Interested applicants should attach their cover letter and resume to the EDF application (required), together with any available samples of data analysis or data visualization (optional).