Internships/Independent Study
The Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy has formal partnerships with two of New Orleans' celebrated community based organizations: and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB) and with the American Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services. All organizations collaborate closely with public agencies and work with local and regional communities affected by disasters. Through these partnerships, our students have an opportunity to gain real-world disaster preparation and response experience, while serving highly vulnerable communities in New Orleans, Louisiana and the Southeastern United States. 

DRLA students may enroll in a 3-credit hour independent study course while interning with organization. Specific roles and responsibilities will vary by semester based on the needs of the organization. For more information, please contact the Director of Student Affairs.


American Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services Southeast and Caribbean Division

The American Red Cross (ARC) Disaster Relief Services responds to approximately 70,000 disasters in the United States every year, ranging from home fires that affect a single family to hurricanes that affect tens of thousands, to earthquakes that impact millions. In these events, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, health and mental health services to help families and entire communities get back on their feet. Although the Red Cross is not a government agency, it is an essential part of the response when disaster strikes. The ARC work in partnership with other agencies and organizations that provide services to disaster victims.

Intern Responsibilities/Goals

Community Preparedness

  • Become conversant in our community preparedness programs
  • Organize and coordinate 2 events, either Fire campaign and/or  pillowcase project
  • Give 1 preparedness presentation to a group

Community Partnerships

  • Recruit or engage 1 community partner, creating strong dialogue between the 2 groups
  • Organize 2 collaborative projects/events between the Red Cross and the Community Partner
  • Train a liaison for the group to continue the community partner’s engagement after the internship is over

Area of Focus

  • Intern would choose a focus area in either mass care, direct client services, or logistics.  Can focus on a specific area like sheltering in mass care or be more general and focus on mass care as a whole
  • Intern, with input from the DCS team, would create a special project regarding their focus area.  Project would aim to increase and/or enhance Red Cross capacity
  • Intern would help with the onboarding process for at least 4 new volunteers in that focus area
  • Update or create a training tool/guide/local SOP for focus area
  • Help organize 2 group activities for volunteers interested in that focus area is 501(c)(3) organization that recruits, trains, and manages evacuation volunteers (Evacuteers) who assist with New Orleans' public evacuation option called City Assisted Evacuation (CAE). CAE activates when a mandatory evacuation is called, and is designed to move 35,000-40,000 New Orleanians without a safe or alternative option to evacuate. Through an existing agreement with the City of New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP), the City of New Orleans has authorized to manage all volunteers who work within the CAEP at 17 neighborhood pick-up points, at the Union Passenger Terminal for transportation connections, and at City Hall to assist with 3-1-1 hotline operations.

Louisiana Bucket Brigade

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade is a 501(c)(3) environmental health and justice organization working with communities that neighbor the state's oil refineries and chemical plants. The Louisiana Bucket Brigade uses grassroots action to create an informed, healthy society with a culture that holds the petrochemical industry and government accountable for the true costs of pollution.

Independent Study

Tulane's Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy allows Independent Study on a highly selective basis in the following circumstances:

  • If the Independent Study does not supplant a required course;
  • If the Independent Study does not replicate an elective already offered;
  • If the Independent Study can uniquely achieve requirements for graduation or
  • If the Independent Study can promote the student's deeper learning or integration of content relevant to their current field practice or area of specialty;
  • If scheduling conflicts beyond the control of the student have precluded their being able to register for a recommended elective;
  • If the student has demonstrated academic and personal capacity to work at a graduate level without close supervision; and
  • If there is a qualified full or part-time faculty member to facilitate the Independent Study.

In order to pursue an Independent Study, please contact the Director of Student Affairs in writing to outline the rationale of your request. Pending approval from the Director of Student Affairs, the following steps will need to be followed in order to process the request:

  1. Provided you receive permission to pursue the study, an instructor will be assigned to facilitate and advise the Independent Study based on faculty availability and specialization.
  2. Provided the instructor agrees to facilitate the Independent Study, the instructor and student collaborate to outline the course, including a brief description with learning objectives and course requirements.
  3. The requirements are specifically recorded on the "Contract for Independent Study" signed and dated by the student, instructor, and the Dean of the School. Specific due dates are recorded on this contract.
  4. The instructor will provide one copy of the signed and dated contract to the Program Coordinator who will file the document in the student's file, and circulate to necessary individuals.
  5. The instructor will grade the resulting work and turn in that grade to the DRLA Program Coordinator according to the due dates for grades for the given semester. The instructor will be available by phone, e-mail or in person for feedback and guidance for the student during the Independent Study. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact for questions, feedback, or clarification from the instructor. 

In cases of extended time being granted due to ADA accommodation or other extraordinary circumstances, the same form and procedures are followed, with the exception of a possibly extended timeline for completion of assignments. The timeline must be communicated to the Program Coordinator in writing. The SSW Internal Registrar will then communicate appropriately with the Dean, The Office of the University Registrar or other entities as appropriate. 

The DRLA will only accept up to 6 credits worth of Independent Study.