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Pennsylvania State University Part-time Ecological Research Assistant (Summer) in Monaca, Pennsylvania


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  • If you are NOT a current employee or student, please click “Apply” and complete the application process for external applicants (https://hr.psu.edu/sites/hr/files/Application_Process_for_External_Applications_Non-Penn_State_Employees_.pdf) .


Ecological Research Assistant with Penn State Beaver

Summer 2021 (for Students from other institutions, or not enrolled at a Penn State University campus)

Submit Applications by March 30, 2021 to Ensure Full Consideration

  • P art-time position expected to work up to 40 hours per week from negotiated date in May to at least July 31st.*

    Research: Dr. Autumn Sabo evaluates what factors determine the composition of forest plant communities. This summer, the part-time research assistant will help set up and gather data for a pilot experiment in our campus woods and, if feasible, depending on COVID-related travel restrictions, also help with related field work at additional sites within approximately 40 miles of Monaca, PA. Experimental treatments will focus on altering above- and belowground woody plant competition but this season will be primarily project set up and initial data collection. Position may also have the opportunity to contribute to a project exploring how deer and earthworm abundance affect the genetic diversity of wild leek populations, and other ongoing studies.

    Duration and Compensation: The part-time research assistant position includes 320-400 hours total over the summer, with the possibility for part-time work and/or independent research for credit extending into the academic year. Students must be willing to work at least four 8-hour weekdays per week, beginning in May (exact date to be negotiated with selected candidate) through at least July 31, although pre-scheduled unpaid vacation time will be granted. The position pays $9.50/hour.

    Expectations: The part-time research assistant position will be physically and mentally challenging as it involves exploring natural areas and investigating complex ecological questions.

    Qualified candidates will have an interest or background in forest ecology, natural resource management, field biology and/or environmental science. Candidates must be able to navigate rough terrain, be on their feet all day, handle heavy items, work in inclement weather conditions with poison ivy and biting insects, and closely follow detailed protocols. Work will include both independent tasks and teamwork with Dr. Sabo, so the candidate should be comfortable with both. Enthusiasm for the outdoors, a positive and easygoing attitude, dependability and promptness are all job requirements. Plant identification skills, and experience with scientific instrumentation, photography, Excel spreadsheets and building tools are advantages.

    A current driver’s license and reliable transportation to Penn State Beaver are both necessary. A candidate’s willingness to occasionally use his or her personal vehicle for transportation to sites near Monaca (with mileage reimbursement) is a plus.

    Work will be primarily off-trail in the campus woods and indoors at Penn State Beaver but some local travel may be required depending on COVID-related travel restrictions. Several optional, short-term, overnight trips to other locations in PA may arise (in which case lodging will be provided).

    Duties will include (but are not limited to) laying out and marking long-term experimental plots; inventorying trees, shrubs and herbaceous species; measuring environmental factors such as light, soils and forest structure; designing and preparing field equipment; identifying specimens using dichotomous keys; deploying motion-sensitive cameras and processing photo data; and recording, entering and checking data in Excel.

Apply Electronically in Workday: Include your resume, contact information for three references, and a brief letter of interest addressed to Dr. Autumn Sabo, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Penn State Beaver, 100 University Drive, Monaca, PA 15061. Complete applications should be submitted by Wednesday, March 30 to ensure full consideration. Later submissions may be reviewed, as needs direct.

Preference will be given to students in ecology-related majors, but interested students from other fields of study, are also encouraged to apply. Contact Dr. Sabo at axs182@psu.edu with questions.


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Monaca, PA

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