USFS Fellowship for Social Science Approaches to Assess Ecosystem Benefits in the Pacific Northwest

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Reference Code
How to Apply

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A complete application package consists of:

  • An application
  • Transcript(s) – For this opportunity, an unofficial transcript or copy of the student academic records printed by the applicant or by academic advisors from internal institution systems may be submitted.  Selected candidate must provide proof of completion of the degree before the appointment can start.  Click Here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts.
  • A current resume/CV
  • Two educational or professional recommendations. At least one recommendation must be submitted in order for the mentor to view your application.

All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.

Application Deadline
6/9/2023 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

USFS Office/Lab and Location: A research opportunity is currently available with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Forest Service (USFS) located in Seattle, Washington. Location is flexible, and this could be a remote appointment.

At the heart of the U.S. Forest Service's mission is their purpose. Everything they do is intended to help sustain forests and grasslands for present and future generations. Why? Because their stewardship work supports nature in sustaining life. This is the purpose that drives the agency’s mission and motivates their work across the agency. It’s been there from the agency’s very beginning, and it still drives them. To advance the mission and serve their purpose, the U.S. Forest Service balances the short and long-term needs of people and nature by: working in collaboration with communities and our partners; providing access to resources and experiences that promote economic, ecological, and social vitality; connecting people to the land and one another; and delivering world-class science, technology and land management.

Research ProjectWe seek two (2) social science research analysts to participate in projects to develop a science-based approach to gather public input on values, preferences, and needs for national forest lands. We seek to understand public perceptions of priority ecosystem benefits on the national forest and drivers of change that affect their ability to render those benefits from landscapes. This will be done through participatory activities that ask people to identify their benefit preferences and then use maps to indicate places on the national forest that they visit or use to gain those benefits. The project involves collaborating closely with the science lead and forest officials to help collect, analyze, and disseminate social science information and to learn about the engagement process.  

Project planning is underway in collaboration with national forest officials. We are actively engaged in scheduling of public sessions to be held in the summer and fall of 2023. We are beginning to prepare research tools with input from forest officials, staff from the NW Climate Hub, California Climate Hub, USFS ecologists engaged in postfire restoration, community leaders, and project partners.  

The research analysts will contribute to this process by collaborating with the lead scientist to:  

  • Conduct literature reviews on (a) social science around postfire restoration; (b) public engagement for forest and wildfire planning (ongoing);  
  • Help to develop and test research instruments and adapt based on pilot feedback 
  • Help prepare all materials and supplies for public engagement sessions 
  • Travel to and engage in data collection in public workshops on site (Oregon and California) 
  • Establish database and develop skills in data management
  • Engage in qualitative and quantitative data analysis
  • Summarize study results in reports and learn to prepare manuscripts, presentations, and other science dissemination outputs. 

Learning Objectives: The participants will build research skills, gain experience collaborating as a research fellow for the U.S. Forest Service, gain experience conducting research on a multi-disciplinary research team, learn about collaborative research, and further their professional development in the human dimensions of natural resource management.  There is potential for the research to be woven into a student thesis/project, or other student research, as desired (M.A. thesis or Ph.D. dissertation). 

MentorThe mentor for this opportunity is Lee Cerveny ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: May 15, 2023; start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for six months but may be extended upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is part-time (15 hours per week).

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience within the range of $30-$45 per hour.

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and foreign nationals. Non-U.S. citizen applicants should refer to the Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens Details page of the program website for information about the valid immigration statuses that are acceptable for program participation.

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should be currently pursuing or have received a master's or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields.

Preferred Skills:

  • Have or currently enrolled in a MA or PhD degree program in a social science-related field
  • Background in qualitative and/or quantitative research methods
  • Experience analyzing data in Excel
  • Some knowledge of natural resource management issues in the U.S. West (including fire)
  • Experience with literature reviews and synthesis
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Knowledge of GIS or spatial analysis would be especially helpful, not required.
Eligibility Requirements
  • Degree: Master's Degree or Doctoral Degree.
  • Academic Level(s): Graduate Students, Postdoctoral, or Post-Master's.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (3 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (15 )

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