Urban Sustainability and Climate Internships

Offered through the Center for Applied Atmospheric Research and Education (CAARE) Internship Program at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)

Apply here:

caare logolistUnder the link for the 200 application, search for “UAH” for the announcement

Started in 2015, the Center for Applied Atmospheric Research and Education (CAARE) was founded under a cooperative agreement with the NASA Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP). A partnership among four institutions led by San Jose State University, CAARE faculty are devoted to supporting underrepresented students in a variety of disciplines, including meteorology, climate, physics, hydrology, public health, and engineering, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

At the University of Alabama in Huntsville-NASA MSFC center, students engage in research projects with faculty mentors and fellow interns. Although we host a large team of diverse student interns here at UAH’s Earth System Science Center each summer, we bring a hands-on, small group mentality to our CAARE students.  This means that our students engage one-on-one with all members of our research group, from fellow undergraduate students through faculty and principal research scientists.  

Within our broad mandate of studying urban sustainability and climate for this program, we also structure individual research projects around our interns’ exact interests, so students are able to come up with their own cutting-edge research projects and see them through to conclusion, guided along the way by faculty and research staff. The two UAH program co-directors, Dr. Robert Griffin and Dr. Maury Estes work individually and in groups with the students.

The environment here at the National Space Science and Technology Center is engaging and energetic. There is always something going on. And the University of Alabama in Huntsville, co-located with the Earth Science Branch of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, is in the center of it all.  Our students, researchers, and faculty routinely collaborate with NASA scientists, and CAARE interns have the opportunity to meet and work with NASA colleagues, often leading to offers for prestigious graduate research assistantships.

So what, precisely, do our student intern projects look like?  In a broad sense, we are researching the variety of ways that urban environments and climate interact and relate to the concept of sustainability. Our interns learn about sustainability in the north Alabama region through in-person interviews with regional land conservation associations, federal and local government agencies, waste-to-energy and recycling service providers, water management facilities, and a range of other regional stakeholders.  Students also learn Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and satellite remote sensing as applied to the research questions they identify with their mentors.  

To give some context, here are some project titles from the past several years: “Lightning and wildfire correlations, and their implications for human health in Florida”, “Utilizing NASA earth observations to investigate habitat loss of a key species in a biodiversity hotspot”, “GIS and remote sensing to identify air pollution hotspots in Iran and their relation to urban environments”, and “Mapping heat vulnerability index in Huntsville and San Jose, CA”.

Students in the program also participate in a UAH professional development workshop series throughout the summer, to help them prepare applications for graduate school, identify careers, or better manage their college experience.

If you have any questions about opportunities at UAH, feel free to reach out to Dr. Robert Griffin ( or Dr. Maury Estes (, or if you have questions about the overall CAARE Project contact Dr. Sen Chiao, San Jose State University and CAARE Program Director (

Duration: The CAARE summer internship at UAH-MSFC runs for ten weeks (June 1 - August 7, 2020)

Compensation: CAARE interns receive a summer stipend of $6,000.  Competitive funding is additionally available to support intern travel to professional conferences to present their research.

Eligibility: Applicants must be at least 19 years of age before the start of the summer program and must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.  Applicants from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Deadline: Applications are due through the NASA intern website ( by March 1, but applications are reviewed on a rolling basis starting in February, so early applications are encouraged.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Student life: Students have the responsibility of securing their own housing; on-campus dormitories at UAH are available or students can rent apartments in any number of apartment complexes in close proximity to the University.

Guide to Huntsville: