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Department of Geography

Community Partners

Geography enjoys partnerships with several community organizations.  Our partners will periodically contact us with specific internship opportunities that require certain skills and experience.  Students may also contact partners directly to inquire about possible projects that suit students’ interests and skills.

Community Partners for the Internship in Geography (GEOG 595)

Carolina Survivor Clinic

Founded by Dr. Rajeev Bais from the USC School of Medicine, the Carolina Survivor Clinic works with recently resettled refugees in the Columbia metro area. The clinic runs a therapeutic gardening project for refugees and the Scholastic Soccer Program, which provides soccer coaching and academic tutoring to young refugees. For more information, contact Cal Hilsman at

Audubon South Carolina

Audubon South Carolina, the local branch of the National Audubon Society, is dedicated to the conservation of land and water resources as habitat for birds and other wildlife. The organization runs two large properties that are open to the public: The Silver Bluff Audubon Center, near Aiken, SC, and Beidler Forest, roughly 1.5 hours from Columbia. There are many opportunities to conduct research on local ecology and to engage with local communities, businesses, and political representatives. For more information, contact Ms. Sharon Richardson at

Historic Columbia Foundation

The Historic Columbia Foundation conserves and manages multiple historic properties in Columbia and creates educational programs about the city’s rich history. An important goal of the organization is to use a deeper understanding of local history to bring together people from diverse backgrounds. Opportunities exist to research urban history, to create educational materials, and to produce maps and other visuals. For more information, contact John Sherrer at

Richland County GIS Office

The Richland County GIS office manages data and produces maps relating to land assessment, socioeconomic characteristics, voting, boundaries and districts, physical features, and much more. For more information, contact Geoff Schwitzgebel at

Richland County Democratic Party

The Richland County Dems are seeking interns who are interested electoral politics and who want to learn more about local communities in the County. Opportunities exist to participate in outreach work with prospective voters, neighborhood data collection, mapping, strategizing, and more. For more information, contact Matt Kisner at

SC Forestry Commission

The mission of the SC Forestry Commission is to protect, promote, enhance and nurture the forest lands for South Carolina in a manner consistent with achieving the greatest good for its citizens. For more information, contact David Jenkins at

A.C. Moore Herbarium

The A.C. Moore Herbarium has the largest collection of dried plant specimens in the state of South Carolina. Run by the Biological Sciences Department at USC, the Herbarium provides learning opportunities for Geography students to develop plant-specimen metadata through georeferencing tools. Activities involve adding mappable coordinates to specimen records and contributing to the seamless Community Georeferencing (CoGe) platform across the Southeastern US. For more information, contact Herrick Brown at

Three Rivers Greenway

The Three Rivers Greenway is composed of the riverfront pathways at the confluence of the Broad, Saluda, and Congaree Rivers in Columbia, West Columbia, and Cayce. The program is looking for student interns with interests in environmental conservation and with GIS skills to map greenway use and preferences. For more information, contact Karen Kustafik at

Seabrook Island Property Owners Association

Governed by the Seabrook Island Property Owners Association, Seabrook Island Development is a private, gated community development with a variety of Lowcountry beach- and marsh-side living options. The association is seeking student interns with solid GIS and mapping skills to monitor the coastal barrier island in a variety of applications. For more information, contact Steve Hirsch (

National Weather Service Forecast Office, Columbia

The Columbia NWS Forecast Office has forecast and warning responsibility for the south Carolina midlands and the central Savannah River area of eastern Georgia, which includes the cities of Columbia and Augusta. The summer intern program allows current college students to gain hands-on operational experience in an NWS Forecast Office and expects that a guided research project will be presented at the end of the summer. Students will be selected through a competitive application (late February) and interview process (mid-March). For more information, contact Science and Operations Officer, Frank Alsheimer at

Gills Creek Watershed Association

The Gills Creek Watershed is among the largest impaired urban watersheds in South Carolina. The Gills Creek Watershed Association is dedicated to restoring the watershed through education, grassroots action, public and private partnerships, preservation, and restoration projects. The program is seeking interns with solid GIS skills to map land use, natural habitat, historical significance, and threat of development. For more information, contact Fran Varacalli, Executive Director, Gills Creek Watershed Association at

Land, Water & Conservation Division, SCDNR

The LWCD develops and implements programs that study, manage and conserve the state’s land and water resources, and provides guidance in resource development and management through planning, research, technical assistance and public education. The program is seeking interns with solid GIS skills to map the state’s land and water and to maintain its natural resources database. With more information, contact Tanner Arrington at