Information for Students and Research Assistants

interested in mentoring and advising

with more research than I can handle alone and

even with some money to pay someone to help

If you’re looking for hands-on research experience and advising in a high-powered, first-class research institution, you may just have found the right place. And if your interest is about more than just earning some money, I can offer valuable opportunities and skills:

  • challenging research topics
  • practice in social science research methods
  • practically relevant research
  • insight into the science-policy interface
  • critical-thinking, analysis, and communication skills
  • practical experience in the day-to-day work of a scientist

I am both a demanding and very supportive advisor. I’m busy but do my best to communicate clearly and frequently. And I appreciate good work, independence, self-motivation, and reliability. I’d be happy to talk with you if you’re interested in some research experience.
Contact Me.

Research Topics

I am interested in interdisciplinary research on environmental hazards and the human dimensions of global environmental change, including the causes, impacts, vulnerabilities, and societal responses to global climate change.

The pressing nature of many environmental and global change issues makes it paramount that relevant science is made available to policy- and decision-makers, and that the public knows about these problems and possible solutions. I thus have developed a specific interest in the science-policy interface, the use of (uncertain) science in decision-making, and the effective communication of climate change to different audiences.

Specific research topics include:

  • Coastal Hazard Management
  • Climate Change Impacts
  • Societal Adaptation to Climate Change
  • Effective Communication of Climate Change
  • Mitigation of Climate Change
  • The Use of Science in Decision-Making
  • Decision-Making Under Uncertainty
  • Stakeholder Participation in Assessments and Decision-Making

You can find out more about each of these topics on the Research page or on the page for Decision-Makers.

What You’ll Learn

Since most of us are not Einsteins or rocket scientists, I think of research as a learnable skill. It involves asking interesting questions, learning qualitative and quantitative research methods to gather, analyze, and interpret data, drawing useful conclusions from your findings, and communicating – in spoken and written word – your work back to those who may find it interesting or need to hear about it.

Research is more than skill though. It also involves curiosity and fun, ethical conduct and judgment, frustrations and breakthroughs, stamina and hard work, collaboration and interpersonal skills, and plain old common sense. Moreover, being a scientist involves learning one or more types of disciplinary jargon and “rituals” – to become a respected member of one’s field, and – quite frankly – then unlearning them again, so that you can be understood by the rest of humanity.

  I love teaching, mentoring, and advising others who are just beginning to make their way into the world of science.

Being both a researcher and a critical observer of what being a scientist entails (we call that a “participant observer”), I love teaching, mentoring, and advising others who are just beginning to make their way into the world of science.

Working with me would mean learning specific research skills, diving into the background on any one of the topics we’d be working on, and getting the bigger picture of the role of science and scientists in society.

What My Assistants Think

But don’t take my word for it…

Here is what my recent research assistants have said about working with me.

"Working with Susi was a great experience for me in the summer of 2004. Our research together really taught me the importance of having good work ethics, the significance of hard work, and the ability to communicate that work to the general public."

Clarence Mann
SOARS Student 2004


"My experiences as a research assistant to Susi have been exceptionally valuable to my desire to further pursue the social sciences. Her balanced qualities as a research advisor - like being engaging, perceptive, challenging, understanding, innovative, and resourceful – foster a cooperative and fulfilling work environment. Outside of her work, Susi is a compassionate, friendly, and awesome individual."
    John Tribbia, Research Assistant since 2005

Relevant Professional Experience

If you want to learn more about the publications, experiences and professional activities relevant to my teaching, mentoring and advising, see the following:


  • 2000-2001, Visiting Assistant Professor, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts; taught graduate seminar in the human dimensions of global change
  • 1997-present, guest lecturer in a variety of undergraduate geography and environmental studies courses at Clark University, Florida State University, University of Connecticut, University of Vermont, Worcester State College, Antioch New England Graduate School, University of Colorado-Boulder, University of California-Santa Cruz.
  • 1994, Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Geology
  • 1992, Teaching Assistant and field trip guide for a course on Interpretation of aerial photographs of the cultural landscape of Europe, Clark University/Luxembourg-Programme

Mentoring & Advising

  • Invited mid-career mentor, DISCCRS ( Dissertation Initiative for the Advancement of Climate Change Research) III Symposium, Kilauea Military Camp, Hawai'i Island, September 10-17.
  • Faculty staff for the Geography Faculty Development Alliance summer workshop for early career faculty in geography, University of Colorado, Boulder, June 17-24, 2006; invited again for June 2007.
  • 2007, invited mid-career mentor, DISCCRS Symposium, see
  • 2005, participant in the Geography Faculty Development Alliance summer workshop for early career faculty in geography, University of Colorado, Boulder, June 4-11; emphasis on effective advising and mentoring
  • 2004-present, Research advisor, John Tribbia, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
  • 2004, Mentor, SOARS Program for underrepresented minority students in the sciences

Teaching Materials and Program Development

  • 2003, participant, Biocomplexity Land/Water Interface/Climate Change Workshop – to design an interdisciplinary post-graduate capstone program, Catalina Island, CA
  • 1999-2003, developed curriculum guides for grades 9-12 to accompany Union of Concerned Scientists’ climate change impact reports on California and the Gulf of Mexico region
    • Moser, Susanne C. and Sharon Locke. 2002. Curriculum guide accompanying “Confronting Climate Change in the Gulf Coast Region: Prospects for Sustaining our Ecological Heritage.” Cambridge, MA: Union of Concerned Scientists.
    • Moser, Susanne C. 2001. Curriculum guide accompanying “Confronting Climate Change in California: Ecological Impacts on the Golden State.” Cambridge, MA: Union of Concerned Scientists.
    • Moser, Susanne C. et al. 1996. Human driving forces and their impacts on land use/land cover. Association of American Geographers: Washington, DC.
  • 1995/6, senior staff member on a NSF-funded, AAG/CCG2-coordinated project for Developing active learning modules on the human dimensions of global change; Principal Investigator and Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Susan Hanson

Publications on Pedagogy

  • Hanson, Susan and Susanne Moser. 2002. “Reflections on a discipline-wide project: Developing Active Learning Modules on the Human Dimensions of Global Change.” Journal of Geography in Higher Education 27(1): 17-38.
  • Moser, Susanne C. 1996. “A partial instructional module on global and regional land use/cover change: Assessing the data and searching for general relationships.” GeoJournal 39(3): 241-283.
  • Moser, Susanne and Susan Hanson. 1996. Notes on active pedagogy. Washington, DC: Association of American Geographers. Available online at:

Who I Am

I am a geographer with background both in the Earth and social sciences. I first went to school for Applied Physical Geography at the University of Trier, Germany, and then completed a Ph.D. in Geography at one the country’s premier geography programs at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Following that, I got a crash course in policy studies during a 2-year post-doc at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Since then I have worked for the Heinz Center in Washington, DC, the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, MA, and since 2003 here at NCAR’s Institute for the Study of Society and Environment.

While in graduate school, I also received some hands-on training in various psych-therapeutic modalities, worked as a staff member in a workshop center (Spring Hill™ of Ashby, MA, since closed), and have gone through various leadership trainings in ecopsychology (see The Ecopsychology Institute), deep ecology (see The Work That Reconnects™), as well as other professional, communication, and outreach skills (see, e.g., the UCAR Leadership Academy, the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program.… and the Donella Meadows Leadership Program)

In my spare time, I enjoy hiking and being outdoors, working out, reading, and spending time with my friends and my cat.

Other NCAR Opportunities

NCAR is not a teaching university, but many researchers here work regularly with students from the Boulder community and from across the country. A particularly exciting program is NCAR’s Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) Program.

SOARS offers summer research internships to undergraduates from mostly underrepresented minority populations who are interested in exploring a career in the atmospheric sciences or a related field such as biology, chemistry, computer science, earth science, engineering, environmental science, mathematics, meteorology, oceanography, physics, or social science.

Outside of the SOARS Program, research assistantship opportunities open up on an ongoing basis, so regularly check NCAR’s Job Opportunities page.