U.S. nationals: Community Resilience at Contaminated Flood Sites Internship

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Research Triangle Park, NC, US


*Applications may be reviewed on a rolling-basis and this posting could close before the deadline. Click here for information about the selection process.

EPA Office/Lab and LocationOne research opportunity is available at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Research and Development (ORD), Center for Environmental Measurement and Modeling (CEMM), Immediate Office (IO) located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Research Project: Recent published studies have shown that high-flow events can induce undesired transport of contaminated sediments into surrounding areas (e.g., rivers, water reservoirs, private wells, etc.) and result in elevated levels of contaminants in the vicinity of contaminated sites.

This research project takes a systems approach to assess flood and climate vulnerabilities on United States contaminated sites, with a particular focus on Superfund sites in EPA regions and the nearby communities. The research results can be submitted for peer-review publications. The results could also be applied to inform contaminant clean-up planning and build community resilience to flood and related contaminant risks. 

The research participant may be involved in the following activities:
  • Researching developing flood vulnerability indicators for contaminated sites
  • A social science approach to integrate communities’ needs and contaminated site managers’ requirements into functional indicators
  • Applying statistical analysis to weigh relative importance of physical, social and health criteria in framing the indicators
  • Using Agile, Human-Centered Design, to learn how to develop communication materials for stakeholders

The research participant may also use EPA EnviroAtlas, EPA Regions’ and Program Offices GIS platforms (e.g., Cleanups in My Communities, Region’s Climate Vulnerability platform, etc.) and other GIS based resources and EPA Program Offices and Regions to inquire and develop data needed for their research.

Learning Objectives: Learning objectives for this research training opportunity may include providing the research participant with experience to understand (1) how environmental science can be used to support CERLA and RCRA goals for public health decision making; (2) how to apply a system’s approach (e.g., GIS, social science, etc.) to frame and conduct innovative research for practical use and to inform decision making such as remedial actions, re-sampling plan; and (3) how to effectively translate scientific information and knowledge for community engagements in order to complement the student’s academic studies in GIS.

Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is Pai-Yei Whung ([email protected]). If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: September 2020.  All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.

Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for one year and may be renewed up to three additional years upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding.

Level of Participation: The appointment is part-time (32 hours per week).

Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Click here for detailed information about full-time stipends.

EPA Security Clearance: Completion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at EPA.

ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and EPA. Participants do not become employees of EPA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please see the FAQ section of our website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email [email protected] and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should be currently enrolled in a master’s degree program or currently pursuing a master’s degree in one of the relevant fields.

Preferred skills:
  • Academic and working experiences in social science
  • Excellent science writing and communication skills
  • Professional experience in applied environmental science and working with communities
Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Currently pursuing a Master’s Degree.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Communications and Graphics Design (2 )
    • Earth and Geosciences (23 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (1 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (31 )
  • Veteran Status: Veterans Preference, degree received within the last 120 month(s).





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