Thursday, September 4, 2008

Research Assistant - Skagit Alternative Futures Project

The School of Oceanography, part of the College of Ocean and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington, is seeking a currently registered UW graduate student to assist the Skagit Alternative Futures Project, sponsored by the U.S. EPA and being initiated by a partnership between Skagit County and PRISM (Puget Sound Regional Synthesis Model), a University of Washington special project. The student Research Assistant (RA) will assist the project’s interdisciplinary technical team (including non-university experts as well as university faculty and staff) in work with local stakeholders to develop a broadly supported vision and detailed implementation plan for an “alternative future” for the Skagit River watershed. Looking out 50 years, the plan is intended to accommodate future growth in a way that can also improve local ecological conditions and preserve the local farm economy. The Skagit is the largest and most ecologically important river basin in the Puget Sound area. It also supports the region’s largest concentration of farms, which are under pressure from both development and environmental requirements.

This part-time (50% FTE) RA position will commence Autumn Quarter and is offered for all three quarters of AY 2008-09. Following a performance review by the project team, the position may continue into the summer and through the next academic year for a total of up to 21 months. A tuition waiver is included. The RA will work directly with John Lombard (Manager, PRISM Applications, and UW Lecturer on the Puget Sound Ecosystem).

Expected Duties: The student RA will assist PRISM and local stakeholders in defining and evaluating an initial set of alternative futures for the watershed (with work extending from Autumn 2008 through Autumn 2009) and then in supporting a stakeholder group working to develop a preferred alternative (probably extending into Summer 2010). Other duties depend in part on the expertise and interest of the student. Project needs (not all of which must performed by this student) include using GIS to define landscape cover under different scenarios, coordinating research across disciplines (e.g., hydrologic and climate change and potential impacts on fish and wildlife), developing support materials for the stakeholders committee, and drafting reports for the public and technical reviewers. The work will be performed on campus but will require trips to the Skagit River basin on a regular basis.


  • Academic standing as a UW Graduate Student and eligibility to hold a Graduate Student Assistantship during all quarters of employment and is expected to frame his/her master’s thesis around the subject of the study.
  • Current Drivers License
  • Basic computer skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Comfort speaking and collaborating in groups
  • Genuine interest in Puget Sound ecology, policy development and ecosystem restoration
  • Interest in the topic of stakeholder participation in large-scale environmental restoration and in modeling complex ecological systems.
  • Skilled at synthesizing complex information
  • GIS skills a plus
Application Process:
Part of the application process for this position includes completing an on-line cover letter assessment as well as the Employment Eligibility Assessment to obtain additional information that will be used in the evaluation process. The assessments will appear on your screen for you to complete as soon as you select "Apply to this Position" on this job announcement. Once you begin the assessment, it must be completed at that time. If you select to take it later, it will appear on your "My Jobs" page to take when you are ready. Please note that your application will not be reviewed, and you will not be considered for this position until the assessment is complete.

NOTE: Please be prepared to submit a transcript that shows graduate coursework to date at UW (if any); an unofficial transcript is acceptable.

In the cover letter assessment, please:
  • indicate interest and qualifications
  • provide contact information for 2 references (name, title, phone, email) familiar with your work.
Preference will be given to applications received before/by Tuesday, September 9, 2008. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Decisions and notification to all applicants will be communicated by Friday, September 12, 2008.