Positions Available

M.S. Graduate Assistantship- Human Dimensions of Private Lands Conservation

The Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech seeks to fill a M.S. position, working in close collaboration with the Smithsonian’s Virginia Working Landscapes Program. The project will explore the value of several landowner outreach mechanisms (e.g., interactions with professional scientists, interactions with citizen scientists, and peer-to-peer networking events) in influencing landowner conservation behaviors.  The student will have two three-month summer field seasons based in Front Royal, Virginia (housing provided at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute). The successful candidate will gain skills in qualitative and quantitative social science methods, as well as science co-production, working closely with university researchers, Smithsonian researchers and program managers, and a steering committee of citizen scientists and landowners. This approach will ensure that the project has utility for Smithsonian conservation programs and program participants.

The successful candidate will be fully funded (tuition and stipend) on a combination of graduate research assistantships and graduate teaching assistantships for two full years. The candidate will be mentored by Dr. Ashley Dayer (http://www.dayer.fishwild.vt.edu/) and Dr. Amy Johnson (https://nationalzoo.si.edu/conservation/amy-em-johnson).

Qualifications: Applicants should have a strong interest and a prior degree in conservation biology, social sciences (preferably psychology, sociology, or communications), human dimensions, natural resources, or related discipline.  Applicants should have past research experience (preferably social science or conservation biology), an outstanding academic record, and evidence of strong writing skills. Applicants must show an aptitude for co-produced science and communication with landowners and citizen scientists. Experience preferred: landowner outreach, other extension, or public education activities and conducting interviews or developing surveys.

Start date for the assistantship is January 2020.  Deadline for applications is Wednesday, October 16th.  However, applications will be reviewed as they are received.

To apply, please email a single PDF file to Dr. Ashley Dayer (dayer@vt.edu) containing (1) a one page cover letter outlining your research interests, career goals, and relevant experience for this position; (2) your CV; (3) undergraduate transcript(s) and GRE scores; and (4) full contact information for at least 3 professional references.  The subject line of the email must read: Private Lands Graduate Position.


PhD Assistantship in Demographic variation under climate change in ephemeral wetlands

Ph.D. graduate assistantship available to join a collaborative project on amphibian populations in a changing climate.  This work is part of (1) a multi-institutional SERDP project on effects of phenological shifts on ambystomatid salamander populations and (2) a long-term monitoring and management contract for rare and endangered species on Eglin Air Force Base. The candidate will be able to utilize an existing 9-11 year data set from a drift-fence study of reticulated flatwoods salamanders (Ambystoma bishopi) on the Florida Panhandle.  The focus would be on flatwoods salamander demography in response to changing weather patterns and hydrology.  Currently a postdoc is leading the hydrological modeling, but there may be opportunities to work on hydrology and habitat data sets as well.  Responsibilities include modeling population dynamics of reticulated flatwoods salamanders under various management scenarios and climate projections, producing annual reports, presenting and publishing results, and working with collaborators and managers to develop recommendations.  The assistantship covers tuition and stipend.  Most of the field work is conducted by technicians in Florida following an established protocol so this student would focus on data analysis and modeling but there are opportunities for field work.  The candidate would work under the supervision of Drs. Yan Jiao and Carola Haas, in concert with Dr. Nick Caruso (post-doc on the project) and other graduate students, project staff, and collaborators.

Qualifications:Candidates should have M.S. degree in Fisheries & Wildlife, Ecology, or a related field, have a strong quantitative background, have published in peer-reviewed journals, and preferably have experience with mark-recapture data sets, time-series, or demographic analyses. Successful applicants usually have an undergraduate GPA above 3.3.  Student must be comfortable working as part of a team with diverse goals and responsibilities.  

Anticipated Starting Date: Position would start in August 2019 but funding is available sooner for the right candidate with an interest to start in summer 2019. 

To apply:Applicants should submit a single file (with surname in the file name) containing a letter of interest, a c.v., and unofficial transcripts from undergraduate and M.S. degrees, as well as contact information for three references to Dr. Nick Caruso (nmcaruso@vt.edu).   Please put “salamander phenology grad position” in subject line of emails.  Promising candidates will be asked to submit an official application to the graduate school at Virginia Tech (http://www.grads.vt.edu/).  Applications will be considered as they are received, so inquiries made sooner are more likely to receive serious consideration. Contact information:  Dr. Carola Haas, Dr. Yan Jiao, Dr. Nick Caruso, Department of Fish & Wildlife Conservation, Mail Code 0321, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, yjiao@vt.educahaas@vt.edu,nmcaruso@vt.edu, 1-540-231-5573 (departmental office).