GIS Technical Intern Changing Landscapes Initiative

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute is offering an internship in GIS analysis as part of the Changing Landscapes Initiative. CLI is a joint spatial analysis and public engagement program utilizing both land use/land cover change modeling and scenario planning to inform land use decisions. Additionally, the program has now entered its next phase, where land use/land cover change models are being used to evaluate impacts to regional ecologic function. To that end, CLI is currently developing a method for assessing ecological integrity of landscapes using structural equation modeling.

This internship is intended for someone who wants to both refine and expand their quantitative and communication skill sets. The CLI team will provide opportunities for the intern to apply their knowledge to an authentic, ongoing scientific inquiry. The intern will learn alongside an experienced spatial analyst and landscape ecologist, to develop models using R and ArcGIS.

The intern will have access to a diverse set of real-world spatial data and the opportunity to refine their skills in R by both editing existing code and generating new code from scratch. The intern will also be introduced to, and develop proficiency in, the use of Dinamica EGO, a powerful modeling platform. Finally, the intern will gain first hand insight into how advanced spatial analysis is communicated to a variety of audiences (public, scientific, NGO) with the goal of integrating CLI science into regional planning and policy.

Learning Objectives:

Interns will have the chance to learn and develop quantitative and communication skills by:

-Preparing spatial data for advanced analysis

-Performing descriptive analyses in both ArcMap and R

-Writing, editing and running R scripts

-Creating aesthetically compelling cartographic products

-Assisting with data management

-Occasionally assisting with outreach efforts


Interns with the following will benefit the most from this opportunity:

-Degree in geography, ecology, environmental science or related field

-Experience manipulating spatial data to meet analytical needs (projections, raster/polygon conversion, subset selection)

-Experience synthesizing and summarizing diverse spatial data sets of varying formats

-Proven ability to write and edit R scripts

-Experience with basic statistics and ability to perform simple exploratory analyses

-Interest in biogeography, landscape ecology/change and a desire to learn

-Experience with land use modeling or species distribution modeling

-Experience with the use of python in ArcMap


$1,700 per month


Following ongoing COVID-19 safety policies, this internship will be offered fully remotely. The intern must provide their own computer and a stable internet connection. The Smithsonian will provide a remote desktop connection for all file storage and computational processing needs.

Term of appointment:

This is a six-month, full-time (40 hours per week) internship starting in late February/early March 2021 with the possibility of extension.

Application deadline(s):

Sunday, December 6, 2020

How to Apply:

Go to: Select “Don’t have an account? Create an account” and complete the information to create an account.

As you fill out your account information, be sure to include the following:

-Basic personal information

-Professional resume or CV

-A single-page essay addressing the following points:

–The experiences and education you feel have prepared you for this internship

–What you hope to learn through this internship

–Your future academic or career goals and how this internship would help you prepare for them

-Transcripts from your current and/or previous institutions. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.

-Letters of reference are NOT required at this time

Once you create your account and provide the information above, you will see a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in. You will select:

Type of appointment: Ãf¢ÒÂEURÃ’ÂoeInternshipÃf¢ÒÂEURҝ

Unit of interest: Ãf¢ÒÂEURÃ’ÂoeNational Zoological ParkÃf¢ÒÂEURҝ

Program: Ãf¢ÒÂEURÃ’ÂoeChanging Landscapes Initiative GIS InternshipÃf¢ÒÂEURҝ

IMPORTANT: Your application is considered complete when you hit Ãf¢ÒÂEURÃ’ÂoeSubmit.Ãf¢ÒÂEURҝ Your SOLAA submitted application with references must be received by the deadlines as noted above.

For Additional Information

If you have any questions or issues during the process, please contact lab manager Craig Fergus at