Available Internships


The following CONSERVE institutions have positions available for Summer 2020:


University of Arizona (Maricopa, AZ)
Project Focus: Water Quality Analysis & Outreach

University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
Project Focus: Water Quality Analysis & Outreach

University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
Project Focus: Spatial Analysis & Mapping

USDA Agricultural Research Service (Beltsville, MD)
Project Focus: Water Quality Analysis & Product Testing

University of Arizona

Maricopa Agricultural Center, Maricopa, AZ // Supervisor: Channah Rock

Position Description: The student intern will assist the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension students and staff in implementing and delivering outreach materials to Arizona based stakeholders. Additionally, the student will support water treatment efforts related to the project.

About the Lab: The Maricopa Agricultural Center (MAC) is a 2,100-acre research farm within The College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at The University of Arizona. This research farm is located in the city of Maricopa, AZ about 90 miles north of The University of Arizona main campus in Tucson, AZ. Here at the farm there are about a dozen faculty members who conduct research in Agriculture related sciences like Urban and Rural Entomology, Integrated Pest Management, Ag Systems and Bio Engineering, Soil Science, Crop Science and Water Quality. The Water Quality Program housed at MAC has been conducting outreach and research for just over eight years and has reached more than 26,000 individuals. Outreach efforts for the Water Quality Program focus in teaching water quality principles and practices to watershed stewards, industry stakeholders and the general public. Research topics include food safety within irrigation water quality, surface water quality in rivers, lakes and streams, wastewater industry methods and standards and water reuse analysis and regulation. The Water Quality Program Lab is a microbiology-based laboratory that performs field and lab water sample collection and analysis using current high quality microbiological techniques in both cultural and molecular science.  

University of Maryland

College Park, MD // Supervisors: Amy Sapkota and Rosenberg Rachel Goldstein

Positions Description: The position will be split between the Extension and outreach efforts led by Dr. Rosenberg Goldstein and Dr. Sapkota's lab. The summer project will be focused on the RRIPER (Rooftop Runoff Irrigating Produce Eaten Raw) project evaluating water, soil, and produce from gardens irrigating with collected rain water or rooftop runoff. Duties will include collecting field samples from gardens; processing soil and produce samples; filtering water samples and extracting DNA (which will be used to profile the microbial communities present in the different water sources over time using 16S sequencing and shotgun metagenomics); entering data (water parameters, DNA concentrations, etc.), and doing preliminary data analysis. Extension and Education duties will include writing up results from field sampling; designing figures and tables of results; updating and editing outreach materials; conducting literature reviews for Extension and peer-reviewed publications; and acting as proxy for Extension team on conference calls with other CONSERVE project teams. The intern will spend 60% time supporting the lab team, and 40% time supporting the Extension team. This shared position will allow the intern the opportunity to learn advanced microbiological techniques and develop skills in translating complex scientific information to a variety of stakeholder audiences, including growers, Extension educators, and students.

About the Lab: The Extension team has four team members who have a range of experience in Extension, environmental and climate change communication, and agricultural law. We have a collaborative and friendly working environment. Dr. Sapkota has an environmental microbiology lab in the School of Public Health. The work will include sampling trips, water, soil, and produce processing in the lab, and some office work.

University of Maryland

College Park, MD // Supervisor: Masoud Negahban-Azar

Position Description: The intern will gain hands on experience in geospatial data collection and analysis. He/she will help with the data collection and processing and will work in developing the GIS platform of alternative water sources for agricultural irrigation. The intern will be exposed to large-scale hydrological modeling and optimization techniques. He/she will also be part of a team developing decision support systems for water reuse in agriculture.

About the Lab: In Water Security and Sustainability Lab at UMD, we explore different aspects of water resources planning and management. Our research focuses on holistically examining water systems at different scales, focusing on the interfaces that exist between natural and built environment that affect water quality and availability. In our lab, we use laboratory-scale experiments, field-scale demonstrations, and analytic model-oriented frameworks. Our ultimate goal is to provide decision-makers with the tools they need to secure the resilience and sustainability of water systems.

USDA Agricultural Research Service

Beltsville, MD // Supervisor: Manan Sharma

Position Description: The intern will be relied upon to help sampling teams in the field collect appropriate surface and reclaimed water samples. The incumbent will also be asked to perform quantitative and qualitative microbial analysis for bacterial pathogens in irrigation and reclaimed water samples. The intern will be responsible for assisting microbial detection and confirmation of enteric pathogens recovered from water samples, and confirming culture recovery results with PCR assays. The intern will also be responsible for constructing and setting up zero-valent iron (ZVI) filters in the laboratory and on the farm. This will include different filter designs with different combinations of sand and iron appropriate for different water types that are being analyzed. Overall, this position will provide exposure to environmental, food, and molecular biology techniques to the intern. This position is only open to U.S. citizens.

About the Lab: Our laboratory investigates a broad array of topics and issues related to the persistence and population dynamics of enteric bacterial pathogens in pre-harvest environments, including irrigation water and biological soil amendments. Our laboratory uses a variety of environmental and food microbiology methods to detect enteric pathogens (enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes) in surface and reclaimed wastewaters. We use traditional and real time PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) methods to determine and confirm the presence of these pathogens in surface waters. Our work also looks at next-generation water filtration technologies, like zero-valent iron filtration (ZVI), that has been shown to reduce bacterial contamination in contaminated surface waters. Our goal is to design and evaluate a filter that can be easily implementable for small farms that may need a simple, cost-effective and efficient filtration system to comply with irrigation water standards from various regulatory and commodity group associations.