Internships & Research Opportunities

Water in the West facilitates student research, internships and other forms of engagement in pertinent projects that link students with potential researchers or organizations to shape course assignments, term projects, theses or independent studies. Water in the West also regularly hires research assistants, engages interns and guides independent study projects. Students interested in internships, summer opportunities, or research projects for credit, as well as organizations interested in working with Stanford students, are encouraged to contact us to learn more.

Organizations that are interested in working with Stanford students on water issues include The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. EPA, NASA-Ames Research Center, Deschutes River Conservancy and others.



Outreach Intern, The Groundwater Exchange

The Groundwater Exchange, newly launched on September 18, 2018, is a central, collaborative, and publicly accessible online resource center connecting water managers, water users, and community members with tools and resources to support the design and implementation of effective Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The Groundwater Exchange was developed by Chris “Maven” Austin, in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund and Stanford's Program on Water in the West. Chris “Maven” is also the developer and administrator of Maven’s Notebook and the California Water Library, and she has been designing, running, and administering water-related websites in California for more than a decade.

The Groundwater Exchange offers…

  • a searchable document and tool library with map interface
  • a website forum to promote the sharing of ideas and resources
  • an “Introduction to SGMA” section for those wanting to learn more about the legislation


SGMA, California’s landmark groundwater legislation passed in 2014, requires the creation of local agencies, referred to as Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs), to oversee the development and implementation of GSPs to bring groundwater conditions into balance. This legislation emphasizes local control, and thus places the responsibility of developing complex sustainability plans on the more than 250 GSAs that have been formed statewide – many of which have limited financial, technical, and personnel resources. Groups spanning both the non-profit and academic sectors are committing significant expertise, time, and funding to ensure that the right resources are available to make SGMA successful. Currently, GSAs and the communities they represent likely have little awareness of these resources, which are widely dispersed and hosted across numerous organizations. To address this challenge, the Groundwater Exchange was created. Integrated within the California Water Library (a project of Maven’s Notebook), the Groundwater Exchange brings together targeted, science-based information for a broad range of users – a central hub of SGMA-focused resources.

Overall Function

The Groundwater Exchange seeks to hire an intern to assist with outreach to, and coordination with, GSAs in the development and refinement of the Basin Pages portion of the Groundwater Exchange. Basin Pages provide key information, including basin statistics, GSA information, modeling resources, and links to related news articles and resources. The site currently hosts approximately 150 Basin pages. Working with Chris Austin, the Intern would assist in outreach efforts to GSAs to let them know about this valuable resource as well as to get feedback from GSA representatives on the accuracy of the information provided on the page and additional resources to build into the site.

This position is a home-based, temporary (1-month) position beginning as early as November 2018.  The position will be approximately 60 hours total (15/week) and reports to Chris Austin of The Groundwater Exchange.

Key Responsibilities

  • Assist in outreach and communication efforts with GSAs in the development and refinement of Basin Pages.
  • Engage in conversations with GSA representatives over the phone and through email regarding the refinement and development of Basin Pages.
  • Engage in conversations with GSA representatives on topics ranging from basin characteristics, water management strategies, and water management tools and resources.
  • Conduct research to identify and help compile resources to incorporate into Basin Pages.
  • Work both independently, under the direction of Chris Austin.


  • General understanding of California groundwater management and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
  • Course work in natural resources management; water resources management
  • Demonstrated interest and experience working on water resource issues
  • Ability to engage and work with diverse stakeholders
  • Experience with conducting interviews
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Must be well organized, motivated, and detail-oriented
  • Ability to multi-task, prioritize and meet deadlines
  • Ability to work independently

Interested applicants should send their cover letter and resume to Chris Austin at


Sustainable Groundwater Research Assistant 

Stanford University’s Gould Center for Conflict Resolution and the Water in the West program are seeking a student research assistant to collaborate with faculty and staff on an interdisciplinary project focused on dispute resolution under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Preference will be given to students with experience in water resource management, environmental science, public policy or social science research methods.

The student research assistant will work with faculty and staff to analyze legal documents related to the formation and coordination of Groundwater Sustainability Agencies under the Act. This analysis will be used in reports, microsites and other materials aimed at advancing sustainable groundwater management in California.

Position Description

The time commitment for the position may vary over the course of the year, but we anticipate approximately 5-10 hours a week.   

Key Responsibilities

The student intern may work in one or more of the following areas:

  • Analyzing dispute resolution and related clauses in legal documents related to GSA formation and/or coordination.
  • Summarizing research findings for use in publications, whitepapers, or policy briefs.
  • Conducting interviews with water managers, stakeholders or other interested parties to supplement document analysis.


Applicants must demonstrate a strong interest and some experience in water resources management in California. Communication and writing are a large component of this position. Successful candidates must have strong experience in communicating research to a variety of audiences in both written and oral format; (2) strong research skills; and (3) a willingness to work on a variety of projects.


Applicants should submit:

  • A letter of interest
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Contact information for two references
  • Two relevant writing samples or links to online and social media posts


Applications and inquiries should be submitted electronically to Megan Glatzel at



None at this time.