Public Research Intern, Climate Finance Research and Documentation team

Call for Applications for Public Research Interns interested in a year-long project on Climate Solutions and Communication, Green Infrastructure, Finance

The Penn Program in Environmental Humanities (PPEH) is recruiting a cohort of 5 paid public research interns to generate original research at the intersection of climate solutions, finance, green infrastructure, and climate communication; student researchers will meet with faculty mentors once weekly in fall and spring semesters, and they will collaboratively produce regular blog posts and podcast episodes about their research. Research interns should expect to work between 2-5 hours on weekly average from October 2019-May, 2020 and will be paid an hourly wage of $12/hour with an annual cap of $1500 per individual. Selected participants may choose to enroll in the spring semester seminar, Public Environmental Humanities, to receive a course credit. You can learn more about past public research internships at PPEH here.

This research team will work in tandem with the 2019-2020 Total Impact Portfolio Challenge (TIPC) organized by the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. The TIPC, now in its second year, is a competition to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and experience to design and execute investment portfolios that maximize impact across asset classes. This year participants are challenged to invest a university portfolio to achieve climate solutions and mitigate climate risk. 

PPEH project participants will interview TIPC organizers, participants, and stakeholders in college and university endowment investment decisions and outcomes. Additionally, they will explore current policy discussions about the power of public finance to green the economy, conducting interviews with policy advisors and makers. PPEH participants are encouraged to test creative documentary methods with their research. Research questions across public and private finance include:

  • What financial levers can speed innovations--in culture, technology, and the economy--to decarbonize contemporary society? 

  • What role can large institutional investors, foundations, and endowments play in this process?

  • Can capital be “good”? 

  • What role can/should wider segments of civil society play in deciding what constitutes good investment practices?

  • What media and narratives are most effective in conveying these questions and discussions? 

  • How can they be shared with broader publics on college campuses and beyond?

These public research internships are available to students across Penn’s schools. Undergraduates and graduates may apply. Fields of study may, but need not, include: finance, economics, political science, sociology, media studies, anthropology, planning, environmental studies, documentary writing, creative nonfiction. Students with the following additional skills are especially encouraged to apply: ability to work both independently and collaboratively, documentary research, digital exhibit production, photography, public research, graphic design, web design, video editing, social media, and/or journalism.

Application materials must include:

  • a cover letter that clearly explains the candidate’s qualifications and reasons for application (maximum of 750 words)

  • an unofficial academic transcript

  • one reference letter from a Penn faculty member 

All applicants will be reviewed for academic excellence as well as experience relevant to this high-profile project. Application materials are due on 10/15. Applications and questions should be directed to

Application Window