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Graduate Research Assistant for Climate Change Adaptation & Community Resilience Project

Posted on December 7, 2022

NOAA-CESSRST Graduate Research Assistant for Climate Change Adaptation & Community Resilience Project


Climate change is an immediate threat to every living being on earth but communities, especially lower-income and historically marginalized populations, are disproportionately impacted and prevented from having the healthy and prosperous lives they deserve. While climate change mitigation is in no doubt a priority for governments & industries alike, only a small fraction of climate solutions’ investment goes towards helping communities adapt to the immediate climate threats and build resilience sustainably and equitably. To capitalize on the unprecedented momentum and growth of climate solutions’ agenda, NOAA-CESSRST Center and CREST Institute is deepening and broadening its research portfolio through actionable science to help communities move towards a more sustainable, just and equitable future. We scientists are rethinking the value of science for society, rethinking our role in society, as part of our commitment to protecting the planet and people.


“If climate change is the shark, water is the teeth,” climate expert James P. Bruce once rightfully said. Majority of climate impacts are felt via local water systems and hence there is an urgent and deliberate need to create & train local change agents to implement climate action plans. As CESSRST GRA you will become a pivotal member of our Climate Adaptation & Community Resilience team, working alongside some of the top minds on the forefront of climate adaptation & resilience research, especially advancing sustainable water management goals. Reporting to Research Faculty Mentor Dr. Indrani Pal (with possible secondary reporting to Dr. Shakila Merchant & Dr. Reza Khanbilvardi), you will assume a critical role in utilizing extensive knowledge of climate and water science, and data behind climate change impacts assessment to support the buildout of the team’s comprehensive climate risk solutions framework including the processes of climate risk identification, assessment, and building awareness via continuous educational and policy advocacy efforts. You will work in close collaboration with key partners involving academia, climate adaptation tech (CAT) industry, NOAA, and policy advocacy nonprofits to advance community resilience and environmental justice efforts in alignment with the three missions of the NOAA, which states “To understand and predict changes in climate, weather, ocean and coasts; To share that knowledge and information with others; and To conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources”. The ideal candidate will be flexible, thrive in collaborative environments, embrace solving complex and nuanced problems, and is a strategic thinker with excellent communications skills.

Experience & Qualifications 

  • Relevant coursework in one or more of the following areas preferred: Environmental Science and related areas, Social Science, Communication, Sustainability, Data Analytics; 
  • Research, organization, writing and analytical skills are desirable; 
  • Strong oral communication, writing ability, and interpersonal skills; 
  • Experience with engaging the public on technical and non-technical topics, with an ability to communicate with a wide variety of audiences is a plus; 
  • Experience effectively working on a team; 
  • Creativity; 
  • Commitment to equity, and justice; 
  • Demonstrated ability to work with people across different social identities and backgrounds.

What You are:

  • Students from any STEM majors including natural & social sciences and education are encouraged to apply;
  • You must be enrolled in a full time Graduate Program at one of the CESSRST partner institutions: City University of New York, Hampton University, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Texas El-Paso, or San Diego State University;
  • Must maintain 3.0 and above GPA in each semester;
  • You must be an US Citizen;
  • Students from underrepresented minority groups are especially encouraged to apply;

M.S. students receive Graduate research training and $25,000/year covering stipend, tuition, and travel. NOAA Experiential Research and Training (NERTO) paid ($5,000) internship. Ph.D. students receive Doctoral research training and $36,000/year covering stipend, tuition, and travel, NOAA Experiential Research and Training (NERTO) paid ($10,000) internship.

Interested students please send your queries to Drs. Indrani Pal (ipal@ccny.cuny.edu), Shakila Merchant (smerchant@ccny.cuny.edu) and Reza Khanbilvardi (khanbilvardi@ccny.cuny.edu). 

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More information on how to apply can be found here.