HRC frequently sponsors internships for graduate and undergraduate students attending local universities and colleges.  HRC maintains a program supporting interns, both paid and unpaid, for various discipline areas involving HRC expertise. Programs for interns are designed to be beneficial to both the intern and HRC and is a critical aspect of HRC’s public-benefit mission.  HRC also supports visiting scholars, postdoctoral associates and students. HRC supports graduate students attending Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD and Dr. Georgakakos of HRC serves as their primary academic advisor and dissertation committee chair.

Examples of recent HRC support for students include the following:


  • Farrah Beattie, Alyssa Martinez, and Nicholas Cypher are Physics major students at the California State University – San Marcos, working at the laboratory of Dr. Gerardo Dominguez.  Farrah, Alyssa and Nick investigated the specific excitation and emission wavelengths that characterize lignin to verify a new technique to be used for paleo-climatic proxy reconstructions.  They looked at how lignin (an organic substance binding the cells, fibers and vessels which constitute wood and the lignified elements of plants) can serve as an index to reconstruct historic climatic variables, similarly to ring-width and maximum density.  Their work was conducted at Dr. Dominguez laboratory and mentored by Drs. Graham and Shamir of HRC. The students were funded by the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program of the HRC National Science Foundation Grant.  The project’s final report entitled ‘Exploration of the Infrared Signal in the Early and Late Wood of Tree Rings’ can be accessed at the following.  REPORT
  • Rebecca Kaliff is pursuing a Civil and Environmental Engineering degree from the University of California, Berkeley.  Rebecca’s internship focused on the statistical analyses of hydro-climatological datasets available for the American River watershed in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. The datasets analyzed included climatological variables such as temperature, precipitation, snow water equivalent and soil moisture as well as chronologies of various tree-ring indices that were collected from eight sites in the watershed. The purpose of the internship was to perform a statistical analysis of the tree-ring indices with respect to hydrological variables in order to key-out the dominant climatological factors that control the growth stages in different tree species and different sampling sites.  Rebecca was directed and mentored by Drs. Graham and Shamir of HRC and her final project report entitled ‘Response of Tree Ring Growth to Various Climatological Indices in the Sierra Nevada’ can be found at the following.  REPORT
  • Sean Watson, graduate of Trinity University, was an intern at HRC conducting research into the development of a multi-hazard impact based forecasting tool to aid the decision making of disaster managers and forecasters. His work also involved the review of literature on a diverse set of topics including economic modeling for natural disasters, modeling and measuring vulnerability to various hazard impacts, and the development of impact based systems around the world. As a result of his research, he came away  with a deeper understanding of the challenges associated with building societies that are resilient to natural disasters, and an excitement about the cutting edge techniques that are being implemented to tackle these problems.
  • Ariella Shamir a student at La Jolla High School in San Diego had a summer internship with HRC, mentored by Dr. Georgakakos and Dr. Hansen. During her internship Ariella focused on the Folsom Lake Reservoir in California and considered climatic change scenarios and their impact on the total storage of the reservoir and the amount of water lost due either to spillage or unmet demand. The main goal of the project was to evaluate the reservoir’s water loss differences between scenarios of sudden weather changes and gradual climate change. Such an analysis is an important consideration to plan and prepare for climate change impacts. Ariella’s project description and conclusions are summarized in her project’s final report. Ariella also presented her findings during a  seminar for the staff at HRC.  REPORT


  • Nate Reynolds is a Physics major student at the California State University – San Marcos (CSU-SM). In his internship, Nate studied the source of water in Sycamore Creek in Santee, CA which is currently a mystery. Nate took water sampled from potential sources in the area and performed isotopic and chemical analyses of the water samples. The analyeis were conducted at the laboratory of Dr. Gerardo Dominguez at CSU-SM.  The study was carried in collaboration and support of Julia Richards and Dustin Harrison from San Diego River Conservancy and mentored by Drs. Graham and Shamir from HRC.  The final report for the study entitled ‘Forensic Hydrology of Sycamore Creek, Santee’ can be accessed at the following.   REPORT


  • HRC sponsored a Ph.D. candidate at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography of the University of California, San Diego.  The focus of the research training was to identify the research needs in the area of landslide development both from a hydrologic and meteorological perspective, and to collaborate with HRC scientists in the development of viable approaches to landslide prediction in real time. The student was directed and mentored by Dr. Georgakakos of HRC.
  • HRC sponsored an educational internship to a student from Mesa College in San Diego in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).  The internship was in support of the student’s course work at the college.  The focus of this training was in hydrometeorological applications of GIS with a focus on flash flood warning.  This included the use of QGIS and GRASS software for watershed delineation and quality control for hydrologic basins at the scale of interest for flash flooding, the use of GIS software for the ingest and comparison of hydrometeorologic data relevant to flash flood occurrence and, an evaluation of meteorological situation and spatially-resolved warning system output for specific flash flood event.  Dr. Modrick of HRC provided direction and mentoring for the student.
  • HRC sponsored a student from Brazil who was studying at the California State University – San Marcos under the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program of the Brazilian Government.  HRC provided the student academic training in physics with a study focus on landslide occurrence potential using the Infinite Slope Model that assesses the stability of natural slopes under changing soil moisture conditions.


  • HRC sponsored an educational internship in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to a student to intended to supplement hist educational goals of obtaining an Associates of Science Degree in GIS.  The focus of the internship was on training in hydrologic applications of GIS.  Specific focus areas included delineation, quality control, and evaluation of hydrologic watersheds for flash flood applications using GRASS and QGIS software; development of procedures for PC-based watershed applications and synchronization with central databases; and development of hydrologic databases of watershed properties based on external sources of land cover, soils, and climate information as input to subsequent hydrologic modeling.  Dr. Modrick of HRC provided direction and mentoring for the student.