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Geoinformatics & Data Science Intern - Center for Conservation Innovation

Geoinformatics & Data Science Intern – Spring 2021

Defenders of Wildlife, a national, nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities, seeks a Geoinformatics & Data Science Intern to work in its Center for Conservation Innovation (CCI). Launched in 2017, CCI works at the intersection of science, technology, and policy to develop creative, practical solutions to improve wildlife conservation. The Geoinformatics & Data Science Intern will work on projects contributing to one or more of CCI’s core objectives filling knowledge gaps to inform conservation decisions and policies, and developing tools that improve conservation implementation using data and technology.

The Geoinformatics & Data Science Internship is an opportunity for an advanced college, graduate, or post-graduate student to work with CCI and other Defenders staff at the interface of science, technology, and national conservation policy. In this position, the intern may help collect and analyze large spatial datasets, create published reports, scientific articles, web applications, and maps related to wildlife conservation, especially wildlife species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Skill development will vary with the specific project, but the intern will generally have the opportunity to develop programming and analytical skills, experience in remote sensing, programming, statistical analyses, scientific writing, and creating interactive data visualizations. Further, the intern will gain an understanding of how wildlife laws such as the ESA are implemented. This internship advances Goal 1, Strategy 4 of Defenders’ Strategic Plan, to “Mobilize science and technology to advance wildlife conservation,” and Goal 2, Strategy 1, to “Mobilize members and supporters.”

Based on current projects, the Geoinformatics & Data Science Intern may work in one or both of the following domains:
(1)    Data Science and Conservation Tool Development – Projects will focus on collecting, analyzing, and presenting data related to conservation law and policy. The intern will become familiar with the implementation of environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act, and will conduct statistical analyses and create online tools for visualizing data. Projects aim to quantify policy effectiveness, present recommendations to improve species conservation, and generate tools to make data accessible to the public.
(2)    Geoinformatics and Remote Sensing – Projects will focus on technical advances in the use, application, and presentation of remote sensing data for conservation. The intern will learn and refine their geospatial and programming skills by assisting with the development of algorithms and tools, such as automated change detection, image classification, and computer vision. Projects aim to advance conservationists’ abilities to assess the status of species habitats and monitor for on-the-ground compliance with environmental laws.

This internship position is for the February 1 through May (end date flexible). Applications are due by Sunday, November 29 at 11:59 PM EST. We generally accept new applications for the Geoinformatics & Data Science Intern position for the fall (deadline in early July; start in early September), spring (deadline in early December; start in early February) and summer (deadline in early March; start in early June) terms, with each term lasting 3-4 months.
Assist Defenders’ Center for Conservation Innovation staff in developing and implementing various projects evaluating and improving conservation policy and practice by:
  • Designing research questions;
  • Performing standardized data collection protocols;
  • Collecting and organizing relevant data/databases;
  • Conducting spatial and non-spatial statistical analyses;
  • Creating interactive web applications and/or online maps;
  • Developing tools;
  • Writing peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed manuscripts.

Interns must be self-starters driven by the opportunity to help transform wildlife conservation using science and technology while learning new skills. Interns should have a passion for wildlife conservation, strong research and analytical skills, a proven ability to work with people from a variety of backgrounds, and excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Required qualifications:
·        Demonstrated experience using R, Python, and/or JavaScript for data management, analysis, and visualization;
Preferred qualifications:
·        Geospatial skills, including work in QGIS, ArcGIS, and/or Google Earth Engine;
·        Experience with and strong interest in remote sensing data;
·        Familiarity and interest in deep learning and artificial intelligence;
·        Background in environmental science, wildlife management, natural resources, or a related field.
We welcome candidates who would work either remotely (during the business hours of a USA time zone) or be based at Defenders’ Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Unpaid. If the candidate is based at our Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and commuting to the office, local transportation costs up to $10 per day will be reimbursed. Students are encouraged to seek funding opportunities through their schools or outside sources.

Please submit as a single PDF a cover letter (letter of interest), resume, and a list of contact information (email, phone) for up to 3 professional references. In the cover letter, be sure to address:
-         your interest in working with Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Conservation Innovation specifically;
-         how your skills fit the goals and responsibilities of the internship position;
-         how the internship will assist with your career goals;
-         the date of your deadline if you require a decision by a deadline for school credit or funding
-         whether you are available part-time or full-time (either may be possible depending on the specific internship project); and
-         whether you would work remotely or are available to work in our Washington, D.C. office.
If you apply to more than one intern position at Defenders of Wildlife, please be sure to tailor your applications to each position. Inquiries about the Geoinformatics & Data Science Intern position may be emailed to the hiring manager, Dr. Mike Evans, at Applications should be submitted through Defenders’ online portal.
It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions. Defenders of Wildlife is a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. Our employees work in an environment that is inclusive and honors each of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures. We strive toward a collective goal of including all people in the conservation of our Nation’s wildlife and wild places.