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RIT Global

Be part of an on-site research team led by RIT faculty Dr. Brian Tomaszewski, and partner with the University of Rwanda Center for Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing (CGIS) as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant.

  • Join a research team that is creating transformative knowledge on understanding the relationship between displacement and natural disaster resilience in an area of the world that is vulnerable to natural hazards.
  • Your research will make a difference by bringing global attention to displacement and disaster resilience research and GIS and potentially save or improve the lives of displaced people. 

An excellent opportunity for graduate and Ph.D. students with research interests in Geographic Information Science, Data Science, Applied Statistics, Disaster Informatics, and related areas. 

Note: the application deadline for the 2022 program has been reached. Email Dr. Brian Tomaszewski ( to inquire about the summer 2023 program.

Rwanda is a unique location for scientific research on spatially indexing and quantifying displacement natural disaster resilience due to the terrain and refugee population. Areas in Rwanda are more vulnerable to natural hazards including floods, landslides, severe storms, fires, and other disasters. Rwanda is a safe, stable country in East Africa where the project leaders have extensive experience bringing students to for research experiences. English is an official language of the country and many young people involved in the scientific sector speak English.  The research environment for the project will be the Center for Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing at the University of Rwanda (CGIS).  Located in the capital city of Kigali, it is a great opportunity to spend the summer at a vibrant international university

Program benefits:

  • Be exposed to a unique East African network of scientists, decision-makers, and disaster management practitioners through the project’s involvement with CGIS and MIDIMAR, providing opportunities for students to seek follow-up internships with US humanitarian organizations focused on disasters and displacement such as U.S. AID and the Peace Corps.
  • Being funded as a research scientist by the National Science Foundation is extremely prestigious and can open up additional opportunities for you in your international science career.
  • If selected for this opportunity, a full living stipend and travel expenses are provided.


  • U.S. Citizen or permanent resident
  • Graduate or PhD student preferred (4th and 5th year students may be considered)
  • GPA 3.0 or higher
  • Able to be in Rwanda for 10 weeks during summer 
  • Must be an enrolled RIT student at the time of the program (summer) and agree to participate in follow-up research activity in fall.

Selected students will be enrolled in IGME 771 - Introduction to GIS (online, spring). Application requires a personal statement and two letters of recommendation.

To Apply

1) Contact faculty director, Brian Tomaszewski, at

2) Start an application in the Study Abroad Compass

COVID-19 & Study Abroad

The RIT Education Abroad office is constantly monitoring how COVID-19 is affecting international travel, with student safety as our top priority. While RIT no longer requires students to be vaccinated, we highly encourage study abroad participants to stay up-to-date with immunizations, boosters and social distancing polices. In fact, study abroad partners and vendors, travel providers and foreign governments may have different requirements and it is the students responsibility to understand and adhere to all requirements and guidelines.

Language of Instruction: 
Course Discipline: 
Computing, Statistics, Geographic Info Systems
Open To: 

RIT Students only