Careers at SkyTruth

At SkyTruth we believe that if you can see it, you can change it. We are searching for a few good people to join our team and help us visualize the impact of human activity on the planet through the use of satellite imagery, remote sensing and digital mapping technology. If you’d like to make a difference in the world and feel you can contribute to our cause, contact us, and tell us why SkyTruth needs your skills!

We’re always looking for talented and ambitious interns who are passionate about the environment, technology, and research to join our team.

If you’re enthusiastic, inspired, and ready to change the world, join us!

SkyTruth regularly relies on paid interns for key elements of our world-changing work.  We offer paid internships in geospatial analysis, communications, and nonprofit management.

Depending on your interest and our needs, our internships provide advanced undergraduates or graduate students exposure to a broad spectrum of geospatial tools and technologies (​e.g.​, satellite imagery, geographic information systems), cultivate and sharpen technical and analytical capacity (​e.g.​, scientific programming, cloud computing, statistical analysis, web development), cultivate strong science communication skills, and promote project and organizational management skills by giving students ownership over their work. You also join a tight-knit, dedicated team of professionals who value one another and work closely together to help save the planet.

“I believe SkyTruth is important in achieving my goals because I am gaining valuable skills and knowledge that I know will help me in the future. I love working with Geographic Information System programs (GIS) and learning to work with Google Earth Engine.

Earth Engine requires me to be able to code in the programming language JavaScript and so I’m learning that skill as well. These are skills that will be forever relevant in the future and I am excited to deepen my understanding of them.”

Testimonial from intern Matthew Ibarra, student at West Virginia University, February 2020

Expectations

We are looking for self-directed individuals with a passion for using science to protect the environment and who are interested in joining the SkyTruth family for a semester, a summer, or more. ​Interns should have a proven ability to work with people from a variety of backgrounds, a desire to learn new skills and solve complex conservation problems, and superior written and oral communication.

Although we usually prefer interns to join the team in our Shepherdstown office, COVID-19 has complicated the possibility of in-person internships. For the time being, we will only be accepting interns who are willing and able to work remotely with their own computer and broadband access. Interns are expected to work a minimum of 8 hours a week and will earn $12 per hour. SkyTruth is only able to offer paid internships to US-based students and scholars.

Most of our interns develop valuable new skills during their time with SkyTruth, including many of the skills listed below. Those who already have those skills can be particularly desirable candidates. 

Preferred qualifications for geospatial interns

Desirable attributes for interns interested in developing their geospatial technical skills to solve environmental problems include:

  • GIS experience, strong research and analytical skills;
  • Strong interest in Python for data management, statistical analysis, and visualization;
  • Geospatial analysis experience including work in QGIS, ArcGIS, and/or Google Earth Engine;
  • Strong interest in Javascript and relevant web mapping platforms/libraries (​e.g.​ Carto, Mapbox, Leaflet, Google Maps, and Google Earth Engine);
  • Experience with gathering and analyzing satellite imagery and other remotely-sensed data;
  • Superior written and oral communication.
  • A background in Environmental Science or Policy, Environmental Justice, Ecology, Energy, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Natural Resources Management, Geography, Engineering, or Computer Science.

Essential duties for geospatial interns

  • Download, analyze, and annotate satellite imagery as part of our global environmental monitoring work. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    • Sentinel-1 radar imagery of oil pollution from vessels and offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) coastal areas, the Caspian Sea, the Strait of Malacca, and the Gulf of Guinea;
    • Landsat, Sentinel-2, and Sentinel-3 multispectral imagery related to resource extraction activities like mountaintop removal, hydraulic fracturing, commercial logging, or hardrock mining.
  • Assist SkyTruth technical staff with:
    • cleaning and investigating large, complex datasets; 
    • collecting training data for machine learning models;
    • designing rich data visualizations to communicate complex ideas to the public.
  • Regularly produce posts for SkyTruth’s blog and social media accounts that:
    • demonstrate the value of satellite imagery for global environmental monitoring;
    • provide specific intervention points for the public to demand policy changes (​e.g.,​ tailings pond failures provide arguments against mining elsewhere).

Preferred qualifications for communications interns

Desirable attributes for interns interested in focusing on communications to help us reach new audiences, and raise awareness about environmental issues and how SkyTruth is addressing those issues include:

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Familiarity with environmental science and issues;
  • Comfortable learning about and communicating technical work;
  • Experience generating interest on social media platforms;
  • Editing experience and/or storytelling skills;
  • Ability to work closely with technical staff, ask questions as needed, and translate material into language that works for both a technical and lay audience;
  • Ability to work independently and to manage several projects simultaneously.

Essential duties for communications interns

  • Propose, draft, and edit engaging and accurate blog posts;
  • Increase the number of SkyTruth followers on social media and the blog; 
  • Review technical materials to communicate projects effectively to foundations and the public; including connecting with technical staff as needed to enhance understanding; 
  • Interview technical staff and/or users of SkyTruth materials for use in blogs, proposals, reports, or other materials;
  • As appropriate, assist with media events.

Preferred qualifications for nonprofit management interns

Desirable attributes for interns interested in focusing on nonprofit management to help us run the organization smoothly, develop effective strategic planning, and ensure adequate funding to support key program activities, include:

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Comfort learning about technical work and environmental issues;
  • Experience and/or training in grants management and grants research;
  • Ability to work independently and to manage several projects simultaneously.

Essential duties for nonprofit management interns

  • Assist in tracking grant deadlines for reports and proposals;
  • Help with preparation for quarterly meetings and periodic committee meetings;
  • Research new funding opportunities;
  • Draft and edit correspondence, reports, and other documents; 
  • Perform various administrative functions.

How to apply

Interested applicants should email us at internship@skytruth.org to submit a cover letter and resume, or to ask Brendan Jarrell questions about SkyTruth and the expectations of the internship. Applicants should also include a 1-2 page writing sample on any topic.

You can learn more about what it’s like to be a SkyTruth intern by reading about the experiences of some of our former interns: Alice Foster, Brendan Jarrell, Lucy Meyer, Tatianna Evanisko.

Equal Employment Opportunity

SkyTruth does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor. SkyTruth believes that diversity and inclusion among our teammates is critical to our success as a company, and we seek to recruit, develop, and retain the most talented people from a diverse candidate pool.

SkyTruth is an equal opportunity employer and actively works to ensure fair and equal treatment of its employees.

About the SkyTruth Team

SkyTruth is a tight group of dedicated people using remote sensing to help protect the planet. We use satellite imagery to create compelling visuals that illuminate the environmental impacts of human activity. We provide these images and supporting data for free to researchers, environmental advocates, policy-makers, the media, and the public, to hold governments and industry accountable for their actions. Our team includes professionals with expertise in computer programming, image processing, GIS, mapping, web development, geology, geography, conservation biology, environmental science, communications, and administration. You can learn more about our talented team here and our awesome board here.

About Our Home

SkyTruth’s headquarters is located 70 miles northwest of Washington DC on the Potomac River in the charming town of Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Home to nationally acclaimed arts and film festivals, and a small liberal arts university, this close-knit community is packed with creative and technical people that support great places to eat, drink, listen to live music, and shop in the four-block historic district. Just 90 minutes from downtown DC by car or commuter train, we have all the amenities of a big city within easy reach while enjoying the natural and historic beauty of a charming college town.

SkyTruth is headquartered in Shepherdstown because when your mission is monitoring the planet with satellites, you can live anywhere you like. The SkyTruth founders chose Shepherdstown because that’s where they and their families wanted to live. When you come to visit, we’re sure you’ll see why. But many of our team members work remotely, including in Santa Fe, Milwaukee, and Boston. With our high-tech focus, we successfully connect with one another virtually on a daily basis.