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Internship Reflections from Emily Gelbart

Emily Gelbart shares her reflections from a joint NASA internship between the Desert Research Institute and Climate Science Alliance. Read Emily’s story on today's blog!

Emily Gelbart smiles at the camera in her graduation cap and gown. She stands on a stone street lined by buildings.

"As an undergraduate student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), I was right next to the Desert Research Institute (DRI) of Las Vegas. The work done through this research institution positively impacted a variety of different conservation efforts throughout my home state of Nevada. DRI inspired me as I looked into graduate degree programs and even became home for some of my academic colleagues. DRI was a home for research I aspired to reach.

Fast forward a few years and I was finishing a masters program at New York University (NYU) Tandon School of Engineering with a focus on wastewater engineering. I was told there was an opportunity to work in conjunction with both DRI and the Climate Science Alliance (CSA) on Climate projects for Nevada and California. There was no need for time to think about a decision, my answer was always going to be yes! I was so excited to work for such respected organizations and hoped I could be part of their success.

My internship with DRI and CSA started in January of 2023. I was eager to begin, but honestly a little nervous. My background had been in wastewater and I was tasked with wildfire and climate based projects. My mentors at both DRI and CSA were so supportive throughout the internship process connecting me to experts in the field and resources from different programs. I entered a whole new world of research supporting resources for Tribal Nations and developing the next generation of scientists. I was assigned to help research Nevada Regional Climate Impacts and create wildfire educational resources for the Climate Kids Program.

Next Steps

I will be continuing my education this fall for a PhD in Environmental Engineering at Texas Tech University (TTU). Even though I am going back to my field of expertise, wastewater, I respect my time in wildfires and climate research. This internship has shown me that all science is interdisciplinary. Without each discipline and research area, we would not be able to keep progressing in our individual fields. I also have a greater respect for developing educational resources. As a former volunteer for S.T.E.M. outreach programs, I had no idea the level of dedication it takes to create sustainable and informative programs to teach all levels of understanding about climate science. I hope to be able to support S.T.E.M. outreach programs at TTU with inspiration from my internship with CSA and DRI.

I am so grateful for this internship opportunity. I wish I had more time to continue my work as I feel I just scraped the surface of what is possible with these two programs. This is not goodbye, but see you next time."


During her spring season with the Alliance, Emily worked closely with the Alliance team on compiling regional climate impacts for the Nevada region as part of southwestern resilience partnerships, and on climate science education efforts as part of the Climate Kids Hub and Traveling Trunk programs.

From the Alliance team, we are excited to see where you go, and wish you all the best in your good work ahead!


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