2014 PEER Internship Program Details

Recent earthquakes in the US and around the world have repeatedly shown that earthquake resilience is essential to building and sustaining urban communities. Earthquake resilience will play an increasingly important role in the professions associated with earthquake hazard mitigation. To educate the next-generation of these professionals, the PEER Summer Internship program has several opportunites for undergraduate students to get involved in research and learn more about earthquake resilience.

With funding from Heising-Simons Foundation, PEER is pleased to announce opportunities for two UC Berkeley students to participate in the Heising-Simons Natural Disaster Risk Reduction UC Berkeley – GeoHazards International Internship for ten weeks during the summer of 2014.


Two internship positions will be available to UC Berkeley civil engineering and earth science undergraduates for the summer of 2014. One earth science and one civil engineering intern will conduct research in support of current earthquake mitigation and awareness projects underway in north-eastern India through collaboration between UC Berkeley and GeoHazards International (GHI).

GHI works in the world's most vulnerable communities to reduce loss of life and suffering caused by earthquakes and tsunamis through preparedness and mitigation. It is currently focusing on the city of Aizawl, the capital of the north-eastern Indian state, Mizoram, an extremely earthquake-prone region of the world, located near the epicenter of a magnitude 8 earthquake in 1897. Aizawl’s recent exceptionally rapid population growth has led to crowded, poor quality and unplanned construction. The location of the city, on a mountain ridge, presents additional risk because the steep slopes are prone to landslides and seismic energy is amplified on topographic ridges. GHI currently is working with a multidisciplinary team of US and Indian civil engineers, seismologists, geologists, urban planners and public policy specialists to assess the seismic hazard in Aizawl, to estimate the human, social, and economic consequences of a future large earthquake, and work with city leaders devise economically, politically, and culturally feasible measures to reduce the city’s risk.

Interns will conduct their research projects under the mentorship of a GHI staff member, and a UC Berkeley faculty member and a graduate student. While the specific research projects for the interns are still being developed, some possible research topics could include:

  • - Landslide mapping studies of the local area to identify specific areas of high landslide susceptibility zones and potential remediation measures;
  • - Seismic hazard characterization and estimation of the maximum shaking possible from the nearby faults;
  • - Estimation and simulation of topographic seismic amplification with possible application and use of field-deployed seismometers or other sensors;
  • - Evaluation of lifeline systems like the water storage and delivery infrastructure, followed by network analysis to determine fragilities of various components and identification of the key system vulnerabilities;
  • - Conducting geotechnical or structural studies that develop possible solutions to protect vulnerable community buildings and infrastructure such as multi-family housing, water storage tanks, schools, bridges;
  • - Studies of the potential effects of specific land use policies and regulations intended to reduce the local population’s risk.

Interested UC Berkeley undergraduate students should apply for this internship through the application form the 2014 PEER Internship Program at the bottom of this page. ONLY UC Berkeley undergraduates are eligible for these intership projects.

For more information, download the Heising-Simons Natural Disaster Risk Reduction UCB–GHI Internship Flyer (PDF file - 1.2 MB)


The Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) is a multi-institutional research and education center with headquarters at the University of California, Berkeley. Investigators from over 20 universities, several consulting companies, plus researchers at various State and Federal government agencies contribute to research programs focused on performance-based earthquake engineering in disciplines including structural and geotechnical engineering, geology/seismology, lifelines, transportation, risk management, and public policy.

The PEER mission is to develop, validate, and disseminate performance-based seismic design technologies for buildings and infrastructure to meet the diverse economic and safety needs of owners and society. PEER's research defines appropriate performance targets, and develops engineering tools and criteria that can be used by practicing professionals to achieve those targets, such as safety, cost, and post-earthquake functionality.


The selection team will evaluate the applicants based on their interest in earthquake engineering and mitigation, past educational performance, writing skills, and completion of necessary coursework relevant to specific summer research projects. The selection team will then assign the selected students to specific projects and research sites based on the student’s ability, interest, and site preferences. Applications by women and individuals who are from underrepresented groups are encouraged, although all qualified applicants will be considered without regard to race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.

BEFORE COMPLETING THE APPLICATION BELOW, please be sure to assemble all necessary information because you cannot save your application entries to finish at a later date and must complete the application form in one attempt. Download a blank copy of the application form to view the exact questions asked in the web-based application form.

Items necessary to submit your application:
  • - Contact Information (Name, Email, Phone Number, Current Address)
  • - Citizenship
  • - Current and Former University Information: name, location, start date, end date, major field of study, cumulative GPA, major GPA, expected graduation date, expected degree
  • - Unofficial Transcripts for your current university (Please use the following naming convention for your file: Lastname_Firstname_transcript.pdf ) Project Selection (ranking of top 3 projects)
  • - Short Essay #1: Describe your ranking selections above. Are there any educational or logistical reasons why you chose those projects? (max 200 words)
  • - Short Essay #2: Describe how your education and work experience to date have prepared you to complete research related to earthquake engineering and earthquake resilient communities. Also discuss the strengths that you will bring to your research project if selected. (max 300 words)
  • - Short Essay #3: Provide a statement of purpose that describes your academic and career goals. How would this internship research experience help you achieve these goals? (max 300 words)
  • - Resume (Please use the following naming convention for your file: Lastname_Firstname_resume.pdf )
  • - Contact information for two references: one faculty member or academic advisor, and one supervisor or someone for whom you have recently worked.
  • - Demographic information (optional)

Complete and Submit the 2014 PEER Internship Application Form

Application review for Heising-Simons UCB-GHI Internship begins:
Monday, January 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm (noon) Pacific Time.

The application form will remain open until all positions are filled, however applicants are strongly encouraged to apply before the application review begins.


Visit the PEER Internship Program web page for more general information and links to other 2013 internship opportunities.