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Department of Geography

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Community Partners

CeGIS enjoys partnerships with a number of 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.

Audubon South Carolina is the state arm of National Audubon Society. Its mission is to protect birds and the habitats they need, now and in the future. ASC owns 22,000 acres of habitat and is working to improve forest management on over 4M acres in SC. ASC is seeking interns with GIS and digital mapping skills to create user-friendly maps of the Silver Bluff Audubon Center and Sanctuary near Aiken. 

For more information, please contact Jennifer Tyrrell at

The Central Midlands Council of Governments (CMCOG) works with municipal and county governments in the Midlands region of South Carolina to develop local and regional economic development plans. The Land Use Planning division has on-going projects requiring analysis of municipal data and review of urban plans and regional comprehensive development strategies. Students with interests in water resources, economic resiliency and recovery, and regional food security are especially encouraged to apply. Familiarity with GIS is desirable but not essential. 

For further information, please contact Gregory Sprouse, Director of Research, Planning, and Development,

The Planning Division within Columbia’s Planning & Development Services has several initiatives and plans to make Columbia a more livable and sustainable place for all of its citizens. Current internship projects include: (1) analysis of multi-year data on pedestrian and bike use with the aim of improving road safety and encouraging non-motorized transportation; and (2) analysis of multi-year data on uses of public spaces in downtown Columbia with the aim of maximizing accessibility and use. In addition to data analysis, both projects will require interns to conduct literature reviews and to produce summary reports of current research for the Planning Division. 

For further information, please contact Shane Shaughnessy,

The City of Columbia Forestry & Beautification Division plants 500 trees each year in the city’s right-of-way. These trees provide many ecological benefits to the City of Columbia’s citizens, such as reducing air and surface temperatures, capturing air pollution, increasing groundwater recharge, as well as improving physical and mental health. Enhancing the benefits of urban trees requires accurate information about each tree’s species name, location, and growth rate. This knowledge will allow us to learn which tree species survive best as environmental conditions change over time. The Forestry & Beautification Division has a half-century history of planting trees and a large inventory of trees that require evaluation. Student interns are needed to collect data on Columbia’s right-of-way trees so we can improve our tree inventory and knowledge of tree growth rate and survivability. 

For more information, please contact Reforestation Program Coordinator, Ann Huyler,, 803.545.3863. 

Columbia Parks Greenways includes the riverfront parks by the Broad, Saluda, and Congaree Rivers in Columbia. The program is looking for student interns who want hands-on experience in the fields of environmental conservation and outdoor recreation. Depending on their interests, interns may be tasked with studying animal and plant habitat, invasive species, trail usage, and park-user preferences. Interns may also be involved in community outreach. GIS and mapping skills are desirable. 

For more information, please contact Karen Kustafik at

Since 1992, Congaree Land Trust has partnered with conservation-minded landowners to permanently protect over 89,000 acres of working farms, forests, and significant habitats from incompatible development, fragmentation, and conversion. The Land Trust seeks enthusiastic interns to assist with GIS mapping, story maps, project and grant research, baseline documentation, landowner outreach, and land stewardship monitoring/reporting. For interns, this opportunity provides real-world experience working with an accredited non-profit conservation organization, interaction with landowners and conservation partners, and the opportunity to assist in delivering and supporting impactful conservation outcomes at the project level. 

For more information, please contact Executive Director, Stuart White at

FoodShare SC aims to enhance the quality of life by providing access to fresh, affordable fruit and vegetables. The organization provides low-cost fresh-food boxes that are available for pick up at various locations in Richland County and beyond. It also provides delivery for those without access to transport. Interns are needed to map and to analyze city and statewide data about poverty and food access; to work with outreach teams on building connections with rural communities; and to conduct focus groups to assess program participants’ needs. Interns will also have an opportunity to participate in our culinary medicine courses. 

For more information, please contact Courtney Watson,

The Gills Creek Watershed is among the largest impaired urban watersheds in South Carolina. Gills Creek Watershed Association is dedicated to restoring the watershed through education, grassroots action, public and private partnerships, preservation, and restoration projects. The Association is seeking interns for projects involving GIS mapping, creating educational materials, developing story maps, and creel surveys. We also welcome student-initiated projects. 

For more information, please contact Carmony Adler, Executive Director, Gills Creek Watershed Association at

The GIS Team at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources supports the agency’s mission to serve as the principal advocate for and steward of South Carolina’s natural resources by providing GIS technology to agency staff and GIS resources for the public. The USGS and state geological surveys is in the process of converting to a new map database standard. We are seeking an intern to refine existing ArcMap tools and build new tools. The aim is to make the new database structure as easy to use as possible. ArcGIS and ArcMap skills are essential. Python programming skills would be greatly appreciated. 

For more information, please contact Tanner Arrington at and Scott Howard at

Historic Columbia 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. HC is currently seeking an intern to survey, photograph, and map 19th century cast and wrought ironwork in the city’s historic center. 

For more information, please contact John Sherrer at

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. We are currently unable to host an intern due to COVID restrictions, but interested students may contact us about summer internship opportunities. 

For more information, please contact Science and Operations Officer, Frank Alsheimer at

The NIWB NERR (Georgetown, SC) is part of NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System and is hosted by UofSC’s Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences. The Reserve is dedicated to research and education on the impacts of human development and climate change on coastal ecology. Reserve researchers seek interns who are interested in communication and outreach work relating to coastal research and stewardship. Experience with story mapping, website creation, and other modes of public relations and outreach is a plus. 

For more information, please contact Erik Smith at or Jennifer Plunket at

The Palmetto Cycling Coalition seeks to create more livable and economically viable communities in South Carolina by promoting cycling and by advocating for bike and pedestrian safety. The PCC is seeking an intern to assist with strategizing and outreach for the 2021 Spring legislative session. The key issues in this session will be a Trails Tax incentive bill and a Hands-Free bill. The PCC is also seeking an intern to work on Bike Level of Service (BLOS) maps for five SC counties and to create a work plan to evaluate and to improve bike accessibility and safety (BLOS is a method of evaluating bike conditions in shared-roadway environments and can include factors like road width, road markings, bike lanes, and traffic volume). 

For more information, please contact Amy Johnson Ely, Executive Director,

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, communications and more. 

For more information, please contact Debora Lloyd at

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, please contact David Jenkins at

The SCO represents the state in all climate and meteorology matters. It provides a unique service to the state by archiving and distributing climate and meteorological data, reports, and research that date back to the late 1800s. The SCO also administers the South Carolina Drought Response Act, which requires the office to formulate, coordinate, and execute a comprehensive drought response program for the State of South Carolina. The SCO is interested in interns with some course-work in climate, strong quantitative skills, effective oral and written communication skills, and ability to perform independent research. 

For more information, please contact Hope Mizzell, SC State Climatologist, at

The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority (SC Housing) is a state agency dedicated to creating affordable housing opportunities for the citizens of South Carolina. We operate a variety of homeownership, multifamily development, and rental assistance programs. The research division periodically posts internship positions on the state’s job board at These internships offer meaningful work that help inform public policy both inside and outside the agency. 

For more information, please contact Bryan Grady, Chief Research Officer, at





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