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Current Opportunities:

MS Assistantships

Human Dimensions of Bottlenose Dolphins MS Assistantship

Conservation Governance Lab at Auburn University, United States 

Location: Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment, 602 Duncan Drive Auburn AL 36839

Timeline: Spring 2023 (18 month assistantship, this fully funds MS tuition and living stipend (e.g. a salary with healthcare benefits))

Salary: This position pays a standard GRA stipend at Auburn University of $18,000 annually, benefits, and tuition fully covered by assistantship (legal right to work in the United States required, this position cannot sponsor a visa).

Responsibilities: Serving as a teaching assistant and research assistant during spring and fall semesters, serving as a research assistant during summer semesters. Classes may include statistical methods, conservation law, habitat management, and other conservation-focused classes across different disciplines. Students must be confident that they can learn new things to achieve these interdisciplinary objectives.

Last date to apply: October 31, 2022, interviews will be in November (or on a rolling basis for particularly strong candidates)

Description:

The Conservation Governance Lab at Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment is looking for a competitive applicant for an MS student assistantship on human interactions with bottlenose dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico, using coastal  Alabama as a case study. View our lab’s up to date research project page here. The student will also work under the supervision of Dr. Janna Willoughby on applying different modeling techniques to the data, specifically agent based models. The specific project looks at conflicting uses between commercial and recreational fishermen, tourism operations, and wildlife viewers and how wildlife management can be improved in the state. Dr. Kelly Dunning, an expert in human dimensions of coastal systems, will serve as your PI. The student will receive mentorship in both science and public policy, which will make them very competitive for today’s job market.

Requirements:

  • Relocate to Auburn to begin your program in person in spring of 2023 (start date January 11, 2023) understanding that being in person for research and coursework will be required.
    • This will require proof of covid-19 vaccine per Auburn HR policy
    • This will require legal right to work in the United States as I am unable to sponsor a visa for this position
  • GREs are not required, but if they are provided they will be reviewed and considered as a positive aspect of the application only.
  • Student must be in our offices Monday-Friday from 9 am-5 pm, except during school breaks and paid vacation time (2 weeks).
  • A bachelor’s degree in marine science, public affairs, public policy, political science, economics, or another social science; biology; ecology; or a relevant field. This is an interdisciplinary degree, so you must be willing to take classes in both social and biological sciences. This takes enthusiasm and dedication.
  • Quantitative/statistical skills or a willingness to learn.
  • A willingness to implement human surveys of diverse groups of people in person and under difficult conditions (sunny, hot).
  • A demonstrated interest in some or all of these topics: environmental policy, conservation, human dimensions of wildlife, political science, economics, hunters and anglers, and public land.
  • Experience working in marine conservation in the Gulf of Mexico would help the student engage in the project’s case site but is not required.
  • Some previous work experience (this can be hourly or salaried, experience in the service industry is acceptable as well and should be indicated on the resume). Relevant work experience is preferred but not required.
  • A competitive GPA that shows ability to work hard in graduate and undergraduate.
  • Strong letters of reference from 3 former supervisors, mentors, or professors including your direct supervisor in one or more of your roles.

Application instructions:

Email the Conservation Governance Lab application submission email address at AUConservation@gmail.com with the following combined as a single PDF document. If you have a specific question about the application, this can be emailed to Kelly Dunning at khd0008@auburn.edu. Due to the large number of applications, Dr. Dunning cannot discuss the application process to applicants unless they are invited to interview. If the application does not follow these directions, it may not be reviewed.

  • A 1-2 page resume
  • A 1-2 page personal statement of why you are interested in this position, how your accomplishments meet these requirements, your willingness to pursue an interdisciplinary graduate degree, and your commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Bachelor’s transcripts (scanned copies will do, but official ones will be needed for the formal application to Auburn)
  • A writing sample that shows that you are a strong writer. This can be of any length and for any purpose.
  • Names and emails of three references. I will only obtain reference letters if the applicant is interviewed.
  • It is strongly recommended that you apply as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the Conservation Governance Lab cannot provide individual feedback on any applications. The Conservation Governance Lab often interviews on a rolling basis when particularly strong applications come through and reserves the right to make offers early.

About the lab:

The Conservation Governance Lab is led by Dr. Kelly H. Dunning. Dunning holds a PhD from MIT in Natural Resource Management and an MSc from Oxford University Christ Church College in Environmental Policy. Her 2018 Fulbright-funded book, Managing Coral Reefs (Anthem Press), examines how communities manage biodiversity resources through policy. This assistantship would be ideal for someone looking to pursue a career in environmental policy, wildlife conservation, and natural resource management with a coastal resilience focus.

Diversity and inclusion:

Diversity and inclusion are major priorities of the Conservation Governance Lab, all applicants from all backgrounds and abilities are welcome and encouraged to apply. Please see the Conservation Governance Lab website for our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy.

Service preference

If you have a record of service (e.g. military (reservists welcome to apply)), Peace Corps, Americorps) these experiences are viewed as highly favorable attributes of a candidate.


Human Dimensions of Gulf of Mexico Sea Turtles MS Assistantship

Conservation Governance Lab at Auburn University, United States 

Location: Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment, 602 Duncan Drive Auburn AL 36839

Timeline: Spring 2023 (18 month assistantship, this fully funds MS tuition and living stipend (e.g. a salary with healthcare benefits))

Salary: This position pays a standard GRA stipend at Auburn University of $18,000 annually, benefits, and tuition fully covered by assistantship (legal right to work in the United States required, this position cannot sponsor a visa).

Responsibilities: Serving as a teaching assistant and research assistant during spring and fall semesters, serving as a research assistant during summer semesters. Classes may include statistical methods, conservation law, habitat management, and other conservation-focused classes across different disciplines. Students must be confident that they can learn new things to achieve these interdisciplinary objectives.

Last date to apply: October 31, 2022, interviews will be in November (or on a rolling basis for particularly strong candidates)

Description:

The Conservation Governance Lab at Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment is looking for a competitive applicant for an MS student assistantship on human interactions with sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico, using coastal Alabama as a case study. View our lab’s up to date research project page here. The student will also work under the supervision of Dr. Janna Willoughby on applying different modeling techniques to the data, specifically agent based models. The specific project looks at conflicting uses between commercial and recreational fishermen, tourism operations, and wildlife viewers and how wildlife management can be improved in the state. Dr. Kelly Dunning, an expert in human dimensions of coastal systems, will serve as your PI. The student will receive mentorship in both science and public policy, which will make them very competitive for today’s job market.

Requirements:

  • Relocate to Auburn to begin your program in person in spring of 2023 (start date January 11, 2023) understanding that being in person for research and coursework will be required.
    • This will require proof of covid-19 vaccine per Auburn HR policy
    • This will require legal right to work in the United States as I am unable to sponsor a visa for this position
  • GREs are not required, but if they are provided they will be reviewed and considered as a positive aspect of the application only.
  • Student must be in our offices Monday-Friday from 9 am-5 pm, except during school breaks and paid vacation time (2 weeks).
  • A bachelor’s degree in marine science, public affairs, public policy, political science, economics, or another social science; biology; ecology; or a relevant field. This is an interdisciplinary degree, so you must be willing to take classes in both social and biological sciences. This takes enthusiasm and dedication.
  • Quantitative/statistical skills or a willingness to learn.
  • A willingness to implement human surveys of diverse groups of people in person and under difficult conditions (sunny, hot).
  • A demonstrated interest in some or all of these topics: environmental policy, conservation, human dimensions of wildlife, political science, economics, hunters and anglers, and public land.
  • Experience working in marine conservation in the Gulf of Mexico would help the student engage in the project’s case site but is not required.
  • Some previous work experience (this can be hourly or salaried, experience in the service industry is acceptable as well and should be indicated on the resume). Relevant work experience is preferred but not required.
  • A competitive GPA that shows ability to work hard in graduate and undergraduate.
  • Strong letters of reference from 3 former supervisors, mentors, or professors including your direct supervisor in one or more of your roles.

Application instructions:

Email the Conservation Governance Lab application submission email address at AUConservation@gmail.com with the following combined as a single PDF document. If you have a specific question about the application, this can be emailed to Kelly Dunning at khd0008@auburn.edu. Due to the large number of applications, Dr. Dunning cannot discuss the application process to applicants unless they are invited to interview. If the application does not follow these directions, it may not be reviewed.

  • A 1-2 page resume
  • A 1-2 page personal statement of why you are interested in this position, how your accomplishments meet these requirements, your willingness to pursue an interdisciplinary graduate degree, and your commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Bachelor’s transcripts (scanned copies will do, but official ones will be needed for the formal application to Auburn)
  • A writing sample that shows that you are a strong writer. This can be of any length and for any purpose.
  • Names and emails of three references. I will only obtain reference letters if the applicant is interviewed.
  • It is strongly recommended that you apply as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the Conservation Governance Lab cannot provide individual feedback on any applications. The Conservation Governance Lab often interviews on a rolling basis when particularly strong applications come through and reserves the right to make offers early.

About the lab:

The Conservation Governance Lab is led by Dr. Kelly H. Dunning. Dunning holds a PhD from MIT in Natural Resource Management and an MSc from Oxford University Christ Church College in Environmental Policy. Her 2018 Fulbright-funded book, Managing Coral Reefs (Anthem Press), examines how communities manage biodiversity resources through policy. This assistantship would be ideal for someone looking to pursue a career in environmental policy, wildlife conservation, and natural resource management with a coastal resilience focus.

Diversity and inclusion:

Diversity and inclusion are major priorities of the Conservation Governance Lab, all applicants from all backgrounds and abilities are welcome and encouraged to apply. Please see the Conservation Governance Lab website for our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy.

Service preference

If you have a record of service (e.g. military (reservists welcome to apply)), Peace Corps, Americorps) these experiences are viewed as highly favorable attributes of a candidate.


PhD Assistantships

Climate Resilience and Coral Reef Conservation in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary PhD Assistantship (CLOSES SEPTEMBER 30, 2022, January 2023 start)  

Location: Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment, 602 Duncan Drive Auburn AL 36839 

Timeline: Spring 2023 (3 year assistantship, this fully funds a PhD tuition and living stipend (e.g. a salary with healthcare benefits)) 

Salary: This position pays a standard GRA stipend at Auburn University of $22,000 annually, benefits, and tuition fully covered by assistantship (legal right to work in the United States required, this position cannot sponsor a visa). 

Responsibilities: Serving as a teaching assistant and research assistant during spring and fall semesters, serving as a research assistant during summer semesters. Classes may include statistical methods, conservation law, habitat management, and other conservation-focused classes across different disciplines. Students must be confident that they can learn new things to achieve these interdisciplinary objectives. 

Last date to apply: September 30, 2022, interviews will be in October (or on a rolling basis for particularly strong candidates). Legal right to work in the United States required, this position cannot sponsor a visa.

Description: 

The Conservation Governance Lab at Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment is looking for a competitive applicant for a PhD student assistantship on adaptive governance and climate resilience and coral reef conservation in the South Atlantic (Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary) and in the Gulf of Mexico (Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary). View our lab’s up to date research project page here. This PhD will investigate the relationships between stakeholders and managers in coastal settings; examine climate resilience; stakeholder engagement and empowerment in these settings; and focusing on the policy, management, and institutions of coral reef management in the United States. Dr. Kelly Dunning, an expert in human dimensions of coastal systems, will serve as your PI. The student will receive mentorship in both science and public policy, which will make them very competitive for today’s job market. The candidate will work closely with scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, but be based in Auburn, AL. 

Requirements:

  • Relocate to Auburn to begin your program in person in spring of 2023 (start date January 1, 2023) understanding that being in person for research and coursework will be required
    • This will require proof of covid-19 vaccine per Auburn HR policy 
    • This will require legal right to work in the United States as I am unable to sponsor a visa for this position 
  • GREs are not required, but if they are provided they will be reviewed and considered as a positive aspect of the application only. 
  • Student must be in our offices Monday-Friday from 9 am-5 pm, except during school breaks and paid vacation time (2 weeks). 
  • A masters degree in public affairs, public policy, political science, economics, or another social science; biology; ecology; marine science; or a relevant field. This is an interdisciplinary degree, so you must be willing to take classes in both social and biological sciences. This takes enthusiasm and dedication. 
  • Quantitative/statistical skills or a willingness to learn. 
  • A demonstrated interest in some or all of these topics: environmental policy, conservation, human dimensions of wildlife, political science, economics, hunters and anglers, and public land. 
  • Experience working in marine conservation in Florida and/or Texas would help the student engage in the project’s case site but is not required. 
  • Some previous work experience (this can be hourly or salaried, experience in the service industry is acceptable as well and should be indicated on the resume). Relevant work experience is preferred but not required. 
  • A competitive GPA that shows ability to work hard in graduate and undergraduate. 
  • Strong letters of reference from 3 former supervisors, mentors, or professors including your direct supervisor from your masters program. 

Application instructions:

Email the Conservation Governance Lab application submission email address at AUConservation@gmail.com with the following combined as a single PDF document. If you have a specific question about the application, this can be emailed to Kelly Dunning at khd0008@auburn.edu. Due to the large number of applications, Dr. Dunning cannot discuss the application process to applicants unless they are invited to interview. If the application does not follow these directions, it may not be reviewed. 

  • A 1-2 page resume 
  • A 1-2 page personal statement of why you are interested in this position, how your accomplishments meet these requirements, your willingness to pursue an interdisciplinary graduate degree, and your commitment to diversity and inclusion. 
  • Masters and bachelors transcripts (scanned copies will do, but official ones will be needed for the formal application to Auburn)
  • A writing sample that shows that you are a strong writer. This can be of any length and for any purpose.
  • Names and emails of three references. I will only obtain reference letters if the applicant is interviewed. 
  • It is strongly recommended that you apply as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the Conservation Governance Lab cannot provide individual feedback on any applications. The Conservation Governance Lab often interviews on a rolling basis when particularly strong applications come through and reserves the right to make offers early. 

About the lab: 

The Conservation Governance Lab is led by Dr. Kelly H. Dunning. Dunning holds a PhD from MIT in Natural Resource Management and an MSc from Oxford University Christ Church College in Environmental Policy. Her 2018 Fulbright-funded book, Managing Coral Reefs (Anthem Press), examines how communities manage biodiversity resources through policy. This assistantship would be ideal for someone looking to pursue a career in environmental policy, wildlife conservation, and natural resource management with a coastal resilience focus. 

Diversity and inclusion: 

Diversity and inclusion are major priorities of the Conservation Governance Lab, all applicants from all backgrounds and abilities are welcome and encouraged to apply. Please see the Conservation Governance Lab website for our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy. 

Service preference 

If you have a record of service (e.g. military (reservists welcome to apply), Peace Corps, Americorps) these experiences are viewed as highly favorable attributes of a candidate. 


Climate Resilience and Oyster Conservation PhD Assistantship (CLOSES SEPTEMBER 30, 2022, January 2023 start)

Location: Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment, 602 Duncan Drive Auburn AL 36839 

Timeline: Spring 2023 (3 year assistantship, this fully funds a PhD tuition and living stipend (e.g. a salary with healthcare benefits)) 

Salary: This position pays a standard GRA stipend at Auburn University of $22,000 annually, benefits, and tuition fully covered by assistantship (legal right to work in the United States required, this position cannot sponsor a visa). 

Responsibilities: Serving as a teaching assistant and research assistant during spring and fall semesters, serving as a research assistant during summer semesters. Classes may include statistical methods, conservation law, habitat management, and other conservation-focused classes across different disciplines. Students must be confident that they can learn new things to achieve these interdisciplinary objectives. 

Last date to apply: September 30, 2022, interviews will be in October (or on a rolling basis for particularly strong candidates) Legal right to work in the United States required, this position cannot sponsor a visa.

Description: 

The Conservation Governance Lab at Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment is looking for a competitive applicant for a PhD student assistantship on adaptive governance and climate resilience and oyster conservation in the Gulf of Mexico, using Mississippi and Alabama as a case study. View our lab’s up to date research project page here. Possible topics for PhD projects in this general research space include utilizing public policy research methods and literature to: investigate the relationships between stakeholders and managers in coastal settings; examine climate resilience; stakeholder engagement and empowerment in these settings; and focusing on the policy, management, and institutions of oyster management in the United States. Dr. Kelly Dunning, an expert in human dimensions of coastal systems, will serve as your PI. The student will receive mentorship in both science and public policy, which will make them very competitive for today’s job market.

Requirements:

  • Relocate to Auburn to begin your program in person in spring of 2023 (start date January 1, 2023) understanding that being in person for research and coursework will be required
    • This will require proof of covid-19 vaccine per Auburn HR policy 
    • This will require legal right to work in the United States as I am unable to sponsor a visa for this position 
  • GREs are not required, but if they are provided they will be reviewed and considered as a positive aspect of the application only. 
  • Student must be in our offices Monday-Friday from 9 am-5 pm, except during school breaks and paid vacation time (2 weeks). 
  • A masters degree in public affairs, public policy, political science, economics, or another social science; biology; ecology; marine science; or a relevant field. This is an interdisciplinary degree, so you must be willing to take classes in both social and biological sciences. This takes enthusiasm and dedication. 
  • Quantitative/statistical skills or a willingness to learn. 
  • A demonstrated interest in some or all of these topics: environmental policy, conservation, human dimensions of wildlife, political science, economics, hunters and anglers, and public land. 
  • Experience working in marine conservation in the Gulf would help the student engage in the project’s case site but is not required. 
  • Some previous work experience (this can be hourly or salaried, experience in the service industry is acceptable as well and should be indicated on the resume). Relevant work experience is preferred but not required. 
  • A competitive GPA that shows ability to work hard in graduate and undergraduate. 
  • Strong letters of reference from 3 former supervisors, mentors, or professors including your direct supervisor from your masters program. 

Application instructions:

Email the Conservation Governance Lab application submission email address at AUConservation@gmail.com with the following combined as a single PDF document. If you have a specific question about the application, this can be emailed to Kelly Dunning at khd0008@auburn.edu. Due to the large number of applications, Dr. Dunning cannot discuss the application process to applicants unless they are invited to interview. If the application does not follow these directions, it may not be reviewed

  • A 1-2 page resume 
  • A 1-2 page personal statement of why you are interested in this position, how your accomplishments meet these requirements, your willingness to pursue an interdisciplinary graduate degree, and your commitment to diversity and inclusion. 
  • Masters and bachelors transcripts (scanned copies will do, but official ones will be needed for the formal application to Auburn)
  • A writing sample that shows that you are a strong writer. This can be of any length and for any purpose.
  • Names and emails of three references. I will only obtain reference letters if the applicant is interviewed. 
  • It is strongly recommended that you apply as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the Conservation Governance Lab cannot provide individual feedback on any applications. The Conservation Governance Lab often interviews on a rolling basis when particularly strong applications come through and reserves the right to make offers early. 

About the lab: 

The Conservation Governance Lab is led by Dr. Kelly H. Dunning. Dunning holds a PhD from MIT in Natural Resource Management and an MSc from Oxford University Christ Church College in Environmental Policy. Her 2018 Fulbright-funded book, Managing Coral Reefs (Anthem Press), examines how communities manage biodiversity resources through policy. This assistantship would be ideal for someone looking to pursue a career in environmental policy, wildlife conservation, and natural resource management with a coastal resilience focus. 

Diversity and inclusion: 

Diversity and inclusion are major priorities of the Conservation Governance Lab, all applicants from all backgrounds and abilities are welcome and encouraged to apply. Please see the Conservation Governance Lab website for our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy. 

Service preference 

If you have a record of service (e.g. military (reservists welcome to apply)), Peace Corps, Americorps) these experiences are viewed as highly favorable attributes of a candidate. 


Postdoctoral Fellowships

Check back soon for postdoc positions.

**Check back soon for more opportunities. Dunning is always taking self funded students.


Past Opportunities

CLOSED and FILLED Coral Reef Conservation Masters Assistantship

Location: Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, 602 Duncan Drive Auburn AL 36839

Timeline: Spring 2022 through Summer 2023 (5 semesters/ just under 2 years)

Salary: Stipend and tuition fully covered by assistantship

Start date: the applicant must be able to be in Auburn to start in person on January 12, 2022. Auburn returned to fully in person in 2021. The applicant must have legal right to work in the U.S. and in accordance with Auburn policy and recent federal mandates, be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Description: The Conservation Governance Lab at Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife is looking for a competitive applicant for an MS student assistantship on coral reef management, policy, and planning in Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The ideal candidate has an interest in environmental policy, conservation biology, political science, economics, ecology, or a related field.

The research is interdisciplinary and examines the impacts of climate stress on reef management and on community well-being. The grant that covers your tuition and stipend is a National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Innovators Award. This grant provides an incredible opportunity for this MS student to combine world class climate modelling data analysis with equity-focused social science research on climate adaptation.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion of candidates of ALL backgrounds is a priority of the Conservation Governance Lab. Underrepresented people are strongly encouraged to apply.

The Conservation Governance Lab is led by Dr. Kelly H. Dunning. Dunning holds a PhD from MIT in Natural Resource Management and an MSc from Oxford University Christ Church College in Environmental Policy. Her 2018 Fulbright-funded book, Managing Coral Reefs (Anthem Press), examines how communities manage their reefs through planning and policy efforts. Get in touch with a single attachment that includes 1) your CV or resume (if your main experience has been in the service sector that is ok, indicate this); 2) a 1 page statement of interest; 3) a recent writing sample, and send this single attachment to KHD@auburn.edu. This assistantship would be ideal for someone looking to pursue a career in marine conservation, environmental policy, and natural resource management. Prerequisites to apply include coursework in social science research design/methods, environmental policy, and/or environmental conservation, however these are encouraged and not required.

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FULFILLED: Conservation Policy and North American Wildlife PhD Assistantship
Conservation Governance Lab at Auburn University, United States 

Location: Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, 602 Duncan Drive Auburn AL 36839

Timeline: Fall 2021 (3 year assistantship)

Salary: Stipend, benefits, and tuition fully covered by assistantship

Responsibilities: Serving as a teaching assistant and research assistant during spring and fall semesters, serving as a research assistant during summer semesters. Classes may include statistical methods, conservation law, habitat management, and other conservation-focused classes across different disciplines. Students must be confident that they can learn new things to achieve these interdisciplinary objectives.

Last date to apply: May 15, 2021 but apply as soon as possible because the PI, Kelly Dunning, interviews and fills positions on a rolling basis

Description:

The Conservation Governance Lab at Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences is looking for a competitive applicant for a PhD student assistantship on public policy and North American Wildlife conservation. Possible topics for PhD projects in this general research space include utilizing public policy research methods and literature to: investigate the relationships between stakeholders, managers, and wildlife in the North American context; examining how the history of conservation policy impacts the regulatory setting today, examining how partisan political disputes are related to public land management; examining how wildlife management policy is related to science and stakeholders; and focusing on the policy, management, and institutions of white-tailed deer, moose, and elk management in the United States. Of particular interest is the evolving situation with chronic wasting disease (CWD), a disease that poses a major threat to state wildlife populations, and linked challenges to management efforts. This is due to unique policy systems, namely the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, where hunting licenses play a major role in funding conservation. We will utilize public policy research methods and literature to investigate the relationships between stakeholders, managers, and wildlife in the North American context. The funding comes from a teaching and research assistantship. As a collaborative and interdisciplinary project, Dr. Steve Ditchkoff and Dr. Will Gulsby of the Deer Lab; Dr. Ryan Williamson in Political Science, and Dr. Christopher Lepczyk can/will serve on your dissertation committee with Dr. Kelly Dunning. This affords the student mentorship in both science and public policy, making them very competitive for today’s job market.

Requirements:

  • Relocate to Auburn to begin your program in person in fall of 2021 understanding that being in person for research and coursework will be required. 
  • A masters degree in public affairs, public policy, political science, economics, or another social science; biology; ecology; or a relevant field. This is an interdisciplinary degree, so you must be willing to take classes in both social and biological sciences. This takes enthusiasm and dedication.
  • Quantitative/statistical skills or a willingness to learn.
  • A demonstrated interest in some or all of these topics: environmental policy, conservation, human dimensions of wildlife, political science, economics, hunters and anglers, and public land.
  • Some previous work experience (this can be hourly or salaried, experience in the service industry is acceptable as well and should be indicated on the resume). Relevant work experience is preferred but not required.
  • A competitive GPA that shows ability to work hard in graduate and undergraduate.
  • Strong letters of reference from 3 former supervisors, mentors, or professors including your direct supervisor from your masters program.

Application instructions:

Email Dr. Kelly Dunning: khd@auburn.edu with the following combined as a single PDF document:

  • A 1-2 page resume
  • A 1-2 page personal statement of why you are interested in this position, how your accomplishments meet these requirements, your willingness to pursue an interdisciplinary graduate degree, and your commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Masters and bachelors transcripts (scanned copies will do, but official ones will be needed for the formal application to Auburn)
  • A writing sample that shows that you are a strong writer. This can be of any length.
  • Names and emails of three references. I will only obtain reference letters if the applicant is interviewed.
  • It is strongly recommended that you apply as soon as possible.

About the lab:

The Conservation Governance Lab is led by Dr. Kelly H. Dunning. Dunning holds a PhD from MIT in Natural Resource Management and an MSc from Oxford University Christ Church College in Environmental Policy. Her 2018 Fulbright-funded book, Managing Coral Reefs (Anthem Press), examines how communities manage biodiversity resources through policy. This assistantship would be ideal for someone looking to pursue a career in environmental policy, wildlife conservation, and natural resource management.

Diversity and inclusion:

Diversity and inclusion are major priorities of the Conservation Governance Lab, all applicants are welcome and encouraged to apply. GREs are not required.


FULFILLED: One year Post-doc funded by the National Science Foundation’s RAPID program.

Job ad here.

The Conservation Governance Lab housed in the School of Forestry and Wildlife at Auburn University is seeking a 12-month post doc funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The project is a special, urgent project funded by the NSF-RAPID program aimed at increasing our understanding of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Our project focuses on how marginalized communities, especially in the South, are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The project is interdisciplinary, and aims to understand how Southern communities in the states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana are receiving, responding to, and acting on the most up to date scientific information from leaders and the media. We will focus on how marginalized communities are consuming scientific information, and whether there needs to be changes to the way science is communicated during a global pandemic. Findings are useful to decision-makers and public health officials who seek to communicate effectively during this pandemic, and can inform future communications challenges like the eventual vaccine.

Because the research question spans many disciplines, emphasis is not on recruiting from any one particular discipline, but rather seeking recruit someone who can commit to managing a large scale research project, with minimal supervision, with rapid turnaround. Applicants with backgrounds in quantitative or qualitative social science, surveying, polling, urban planning, public opinion, political science, economics, anthropology, public health, public administration, biology, epidemiology, or a related field are welcome to apply. Emphasis when evaluating candidates will not be on home discipline, but rather on enthusiasm for the project, a shared understanding that COVID-19 is hitting marginalized communities hardest, and a willingness to see an NSF project through to completion in a short term project. The successful candidate will have the option to author grants to expand the work of this project, and as such, the position may be extended beyond the 12-month timespan contingent on available external funding

Applicants are required to have a PhD at the time the position begins in a social, biological, public health, or related science. The selected candidate must be able to meet eligibility requirements for work in the United States at the time appointment is scheduled to begin and continue working legally for the proposed term of the appointment.

Applicants are required to be in or with commuting distance to Auburn, AL for the majority of the term of the appointment. While some flexibility is possible, the success of the project will depend on this position’s presence in the lab as managing the project team will be a major part of the role.

Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Previous experience in managing undergraduate researchers, conducting research, preparing reports for funders, is desirable. Basic knowledge of surveys and statistical analysis and an enthusiasm and willingness to learn would also make you a competitive applicant. Strong writing and project management skills, and being comfortable leading meetings are also desired. Strong organizational and interpersonal skills necessary to communicate and interact effectively.

Applicants must complete the online application at this link: http://aufacultypositions.peopleadmin.com/postings/4269 to include a letter of interest, complete CV/resume, names and contact information of 3 references and transcripts (transcript should show conferral of Doctorate degree and date of conferral.) Questions on the role may be asked via email to Dr. Kelly Dunning at khd0008@auburn.edu. Given the large response typical of vacancies of this sort, individual feedback on applications is not possible. Review of applicants will occur beginning September 1, 2020, and will continue until the position is filled.