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Research Project Description

Water Quality Model Development
Internship/Research Participation Program
Office of Water
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, DC

EPA Water 2014-323

Project Description:

A postgraduate research project training opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water. The appointment will be served with Management Operations Staff in the Project Management Office (PMO) in Washington, D.C.

PMO supports information technology project development and execution throughout the Office of Water. PMO also develops and applies the Hydrologic and Water Quality System (HAWQS), a national surface water quality model.  

EPA often uses predictive water quality models to simulate complex watersheds, and to assess changes in water quality and pollutant exposures and how they may be affected by changes in regulatory decisions. The intern will be involved in a wide range of activities, many relating to significant programmatic, policy and communications issues, and technical activities. S/he may be involved in:

  • Creating water quality models
  • Participating in system design and development
  • Developing and testing user friendly tools
  • Networking with other modeling researchers in academia, EPA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Geological Survey
  • Assessing technical details of proposed enhancements
  • Reviewing model input and output data (stream flow, soils, weather & monitoring data)  
  • Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping or evaluating the effects of climate change on water quality and quantity.

Through this project, the participant will acquire experience in: water quality modeling and management; project management; communicating scientific uncertainty in a policy setting; data analysis; system design, development, and testing; technical assessment of models and user interfaces; alternatives analysis; participation in working groups, technical committees and/or teams that include external groups, such as universities and other Federal agencies; and s/he may also gain experience in GIS mapping and/or climate change assessment.

The participant will gain exposure to IT design and architecture, environmental policy, communications, team building, and cross-organizational workgroups.


Applicants must have received a master’s degree in hydrology, engineering, environmental science, water resource management, or other physical sciences within five years of the desired starting date, or completion of all requirements for the degree should be expected prior to the starting date. Knowledge of hydrology and experience using water quality models, such as the USDA SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) model or a similar physically based water quality model, is desired. 

The program is open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, sex, religion, color, age, physical or mental disability, national origin, or status as a Vietnam era or disabled veteran. U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status is preferred (but a candidate also may hold an appropriate visa status; an H1B visa is not appropriate). Guidelines for non-U.S. citizens may be found at

The appointment will initially be for one year and may be renewed up to three additional years upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding. The participant will receive a monthly stipend. The annual stipend will range from $52,146 up to $55,000 based on educational level. The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance. The participant does not become an EPA employee.

Technical Questions:

The mentor for this project is David Wells (

How to Apply:

An application can be found at Please reference Project # EPA Water 2014-323 when calling or writing for information.