Student Opportunities

GLISA Climatologists and Graduate Students celebrating after a successful 2018 Great Lakes Adaptation Forum

GLISA Climatologists and Graduate Students celebrating after a successful 2018 Great Lakes Adaptation Forum

GLISA is dedicated to mentoring students to provide real-world experience applying climate information to decision making in the Great Lakes region. This can include customizing historical and future climate information for a particular location or variable, researching and performing new data analysis techniques, directly engaging with practitioners to meet their information needs, and supporting GLISA’s suite of ongoing projects and communications. Opportunities are available for students at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Though most of the students we work with are at the graduate level, opportunities may be available to outstanding and motivated undergraduate students. There are four different opportunities for students to work with GLISA.

Masters of Engineering in Applied Climate:

GLISA has enjoyed a long partnership with the University of Michigan’s Applied Climate master’s program in the College of Engineering Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering (CLaSP) Department. As part of the master’s degree program, the students must complete an applied practicum, many of which are under the leadership and advisement of GLISA staff. The practicums are directly related to the active work that GLISA is doing in the region, which allows the students to gain real-world experience in the field of applied climate.

Example projects include:

  • Using climate change scenario planning to explore management at Isle Royale National Park and the Fort Custer Training Center

  • Localizing climate information for the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum to develop an adaptation toolkit for small businesses  

  • Sustained assessment of the scientific knowledge of how Great Lakes water levels and lake ice will change

  • Performing an analysis of freezing rain for the region

  • Supporting GLISA’s Great Lakes Ensemble project by evaluating downscaled climate models for their appropriateness for the region, engaging with the project’s Stakeholder Working Group, and developing decision-support products for practitioners

  • Integration of lake and land observations into a consistent dataset to study coupled processes

  • Customizing climate information for a vulnerability assessment for the National Park Service at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Interested students can learn more on the CLASP website or by reaching out to GLISA Professor Richard Rood (

Doris Duke Conservation Scholars:

GLISA is proud to mentor undergraduate students through the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability. The program provides a summer research and internship experience for undergraduate students who are traditionally underrepresented in the conservation field. Past scholars have worked with GLISA to develop a catalog of Tribal adaptation in the Great Lakes and to investigate using a Consumer Reports model to frame future climate information for practitioners.

Hourly work:

As temporary employees, GLISA can support students on an hourly basis during the semester and/or the summer at either the University of Michigan or Michigan State University. Students may work on a dedicated project, support multiple projects, or support our communications depending on GLISA’s needs at the time of employment. Students interested in summer work should reach out early in the winter/spring semester to learn about possible opportunities.

Graduate Student Research Assistants:

Limited opportunities are available for GLISA to hire graduate students as graduate student research assistants at either the University of Michigan or Michigan State University. These appointments provide tuition and stipend support for students to work with GLISA for 20 hours/week during an academic semester.

Contact: Jenna Jorns, GLISA Program Manager,