Program Details: Open to the public

Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre Internship Program

Improving Environmental Communication and Adaptation Decision-Making in the Humanitarian Sector

CU-Boulder has partnered with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre (RCRCCC) to place graduate students in locations in eastern and southern Africa each summer. This collaborative program targets improvements in environmental communication and adaptation decision-making as well as disaster prevention and preparedness in the humanitarian sector. It connects humanitarian practitioners from the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre - an affiliate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies - with graduate student researchers at the University of Colorado who are interested in science-policy issues. Through this program we strive to accomplish three key objectives:

1. to improve the capacity of humanitarian practitioners within International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies network at the interface of science, policy and practice
2. to help meet needs and gaps as well as work as a research clearing house in environmental communication and adaptation decision-making in response to climate variability and change, as identified through Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre priorities and projects
3. to benefit graduate students by complementing the classes and research that they undertake in their graduate program with real-world experience in climate applications and development work

This internship program will place 1-2 Master’s degree and/or Ph.D. students in an IFRC regional field office, a National Society branch office, or with a partner organization for a period of approximately 3 months.

Students will design their own program of work in conjunction with CU-Boulder Director Max Boykoff and RCRCCC supervisors. The RCRCCC supervisors will liaise with specific IFRC field offices to identify potential projects and placements. Projects can encompass, but are not limited to, topics such as the use of scientific information in decision making, communication of probability and uncertainty, perceptions of risk, and characterizing vulnerability and adaptive capacity. Placements in the field will address specific needs identified by IFRC field staff related to challenges of science communication and adaptation decision-making.

Participants will be required to provide six blog posts from the field during this placement, give some presentations (e.g. in ENVS, in the CSTPR brownbag series) upon return, and complete a report at the conclusion of their internship detailing their experience and research outcomes.

Selected interns will be provided with round-trip airfare to their field site, with travel to be organized through the University of Colorado. Interns will also receive a stipend to offset costs of in-country housing, food, and transportation. In total, funding will be provided up to $5,000 to offset these expenses, which can vary widely depending on the location and nature of the placement. Due to this limited funding support, applicants are encouraged to seek additional funding from alternate sources, as expenses can exceed this budgeted amount, depending on the placements.

This CU-Boulder program has now worked for two summers in locations of eastern and southern Africa, and has placed these six students in these places:

• 2016 - Sierra Gladfelter (Geography, MA), Zambia
• 2014 - Drew Zackary (Anthropology, PhD), Apac and Otuke, Uganda
• 2014 - Leslie Dodson (ATLAS, PhD), Lusaka, Zambia and Capetown, South Africa
• 2013 - Amy Quandt (ENVS, PhD), Isiolo, Kenya
• 2013 - Arielle Tozier de la Poterie (ENVS, PhD), Soroti, Uganda
• 2013 - Kanmani Venkateswaran (ENVS, MS), Lusaka, Zambia

This is a public program. For more information, please visit the program website.


Outside Colorado

  • Southern and Eastern Africa (Kenya, Zambia and Uganda)

Program Partners

Supporting This Program

  • This partnership benefits numerous UCB faculty on campus and many students from a number of UCB graduate programs, departments and institutes. As an early indication, in our first year we received highly-competitive applications from graduate students in Sociology, Geography, Anthropology and the Environmental Studies program. This has already proven to also be a useful recruiting tool for prospective students to UCB graduate programs.

Sponsoring Units

Research Institutes & Centers

  • Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)

Program Contact

Maxwell Boykoff
CIRES Fellow, Associate Professor

Program Categories


  • Anthropology
  • Climate Change
  • Community Volunteering
  • Environmental Issues
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Humanities
  • Physical Sciences
  • Political Science
  • Science
  • Social Sciences
  • Sustainability and Energy

Program Types:

  • Summer Program - General Public


  • Families
  • Indigenous Populations (International)
  • International
  • Rural Communities
  • Socio-Economic Disadvantaged
  • Students - Middle School