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Remote Sensing/ Spatial Ecology Intern

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Front Royal, Virginia
$1,500 monthly stipend
Closing date
Nov 30, 2022

View more

Earth and Space Science Informatics, Interdisciplinary/Other
Career Level
Student / Graduate
Education Level
Associates Degree
Desired Certifications
GIS Certification
Job Type
Relocation Cost
Sector Type

Remote Sensing/ Spatial Ecology Intern

The Conservation GIS Lab ( is external)) at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) is seeking an intern. SCBI's mission is to advance the conservation of biological diversity. In meeting the Smithsonian Institution's mandate, SCBI increases knowledge through investigations of threatened species, habitats, and communities and disseminates knowledge through advanced studies, professional training, and public outreach. The internship will focus on teaching the intern about the applications of remote sensing technologies including spaceborne lidar (GEDI), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and satellite multispectral imagery for modeling vegetation type and structure. Opportunities to work with social survey and/or wildlife datasets may also appear during this internship. Overall, the intern will gain hands on experience analyzing a wide range of datasets across different study regions and communicating this research to a variety of audiences.

The learning objectives: 

  • Pre-processing survey data and spatial datasets at a local or a regional level
  • Extracting GEDI waveform shots and metrics using Python or R
  • Extracting multispectral satellite and UAV metrics from point clouds and imagery using Python or R
  • Building predictive spatial models for vegetation type classification using statistical analysis and machine learning algorithms.

Required Skills & Experience:

  • Must be able to dedicate 40 hours per week.
  • Strong background with programming software (Python/R/Matlab/Google Earth Engine/Javascript etc.).
  • Knowledge of GIS (preferably ArcGIS or QGIS) and/or remote sensing analysis is desirable.
  • Strong writing skills
  • Ability to conduct research independently and yet collegially in a team environment.


This is a paid internship. A monthly stipend of up to $1,500 is offered (dependent on education level, coursework, and skills). There will be free dormitory-style housing on SCBI campus provided for interns. If campus housing is initially unavailable, this position will be remote until housing becomes available. Interns will be responsible for obtaining access to a personal computer and reliable high-speed internet during this period.

Location & terms of appointment:

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute is located at the north entrance of the Shenandoah National Park, about 60 miles west of Washington, D.C., in Front Royal, VA. The intern will be part of a cohort of interns at the Center with regular meetings and additional opportunities to interact with fellow interns and researchers. Positions are a minimum of six months, beginning as soon as possible. Priority will be given to candidates who can commit for longer periods.

How to Apply

The SOLAA application system will be open until the position is filled. You are required to upload a CV and a cover letter on SOLAA. Your cover letter should contain ALL the following information: (1) statement of interest, (2) potential start date and the duration of time you are available for the internship, and (3) contact information for three references. Please elaborate on your programming experience as much as possible (e.g., courses taken, duration of experience with each language, examples of work). You must be available for the over 6-month period of employment. If selected, you might be expected to go to a Smithsonian or police facility to get fingerprinted for background check purposes. To apply, you need to register on the Smithsonian SOLAA system at ( is external)), and search for "Internship" under "National Zoological Park" the program name is Conservation GIS Internship Program.


*Note: Due to a high volume of applications received, we are unable to contact each applicant individually regarding the status of their application. The SOLAA application system will provide the most updated status regarding individual applications and the position.

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