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Moffett Research Lab Open Positions: Hiring

Student Opportunities


If in doubt — apply or inquire!  When you do — tell us about your strengths, even if you may think they are not ‘relevant’ to ‘hard science’ that the fault of ‘science’, not of you.  Science especially needs you if you have previously been made to feel like you did not belong or your strengths are not valued.  The challenging, creative business of scientific research and discovery requires — requires, needs!, must seek and include or ‘go home’ — diverse perspectives and skills, developed and shared from widely varying experiences and backgrounds.  This is not optional.  Will we rapidly invent or discover something totally new by doing things the same way, and from the same perspectives, that we “traditionally” have?  No!  The planet and societies need our best, most ground-breaking, most innovative ideas, now.  This means you and your unique strengths and ideas.

Your strengths — all of them — are relevant and valued here.  Let us make the space for you to bring your unique individual experience to our shared work, let us learn from your strengths — you are important, you belong, you can succeed here, and science needs you and your unique ideas — let us do the work to help you shine. We highly encourage scholars identifying with underrepresented groups or minoritized identities, individuals of diverse physical and mental abilities, genders, orientations, neurodiverse ways of thinking, non-Western ways-of-knowing, or other unique perspectives to apply to our open positions or inquire about creating other opportunities with Dr. Moffett’s research group.

Recognized by Insight Into Diversity Magazine as a top college for diversity, WSUV commits to inclusive excellence by advancing equity and diversity in all that we do. Situated on 351 scenic acres, WSU Vancouver is in the homeland of the Chinookan and Taidnapam peoples and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. WSUV’s strategic plan includes a commitment to equity and a goal to increase the success of historically minoritized students. We also offer fellowship opportunities for students who identify as Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander and women in STEM. WSUV is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and particularly encourages applications from members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, individuals with diverse physical and mental abilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members, and individuals who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our strategic goal of creating an equitable and inclusive community.

Specific Open Positions:

This is a QUANTITATIVE NATURAL SCIENCE graduate research position EMBEDDED IN AN ENVIRONMENTAL EQUITY/JUSTICE CONTEXT.  The successful applicant should wish to pursue and be qualified to pursue graduate research and science degree that is at least 75% natural scienceand should also be deeply and authentically interested in learning about urban environmental inequity and working on research aimed to better inform or improve future urban environmental equity. Social science and social and environmental justice mentors, learning, and research can be arranged to be a portion (~<= 25%) of the graduate degree/studies but are not formally required for the position or degree.

  • No preference for MS vs PhD applicants at this time.
  • Specific thesis/dissertation foci will be determined collaboratively by the student and the primary supervisor, Dr. Kevan Moffett, and may include aspects of and/or relate interests in, e.g., Urban Climatology, Urban Water, Urban Atmospheric Modeling, Urban Greenspace, Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, Green Engineering, Environmental Modeling, Hydrological Modeling, Soil Hydraulics, Tree Ecophysiology, Remote Sensing Data Analytics, Urban-Rural Land Cover Change, Urban Environmental Equity, Urban Planning, Greenspace Ecosystem Services, Urban Climate Resilience, Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, the Urban Indigenous Diaspora, Native Plants, and Native Cultures.
  • Please send an email as soon as possible to [BY DECEMBER 13, IF POSSIBLE]
    • describing your interests
    • and qualifications for advanced natural science graduate research and coursework and
    • please attach a CV/resume
    • and unofficial transcript.
  • Complete applications are due to the WSU online system by January 10 for priority review, but late applications may be accepted until the position is filled.
    • The application fee can be waived given demonstrated need –  please inquire with the admissions office for information.
  • Required qualifications:
    • BS (or equivalent) or MS (or equivalent) in a science or math or engineering field;
    • prior college- or graduate-level coursework in:  calculus (or higher maths)  AND  physics or similar engineering/technical courses  AND  biology or chemistry (or both);
    • experience conducting coursework and/or research in English, and fluency or near-fluency writing in English.
  • Desired qualifications:
    • personal strengths, resilience, creativity, independence, maturity, and unique, innovative perspectives, such as might be developed from “non-traditional” life or career pathways, ways-of-knowing and lived-experiences;
    • experience with computer-coding to achieve large data-set data analysis, experience with computational numerical modeling, experience with spatial or remote sensing analysis;
    • prior academic, research, work, or extracurricular experience showing self-motivation and somewhat independent project management;
    • insatiable curiosity, scientific creativity, personal maturity, life-resilience.
  • Position details:
    • Timing and Duration:
      • Enrollment and courses will begin on 16 August 2023 in a research-based MS or PhD in Environmental Science / Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences degree from the WSU School of the Environment.  There is not one timeline for degree completion that works for every student.
      • In general, we hope for MS students to graduate in/by their second summer (2 full years). Sometimes MS students can graduate in their second spring (but not before), or their research interests may require a third year of study to complete.
      • In general, PhD students in this area of natural science and research group take about 5 years to complete the degree, although up to 6 years is not unusual; 4 years is more unusual (but may be possible with a prior MS and substantial quick-starting ability and experience).
    • Location and Residency:
      • The student, degree, courses, and research will be primarily based at the Washington State University Vancouver (WSUV) campus.
      • After acceptance, the accepted student must move to live in Washington State near Vancouver, WA, by August 16 2023.
        • (A petition process is available for a hardship waiver regarding WA state residency, but only if absolutely necessary due to significant personal or family hardship, and only if the student already lives or can instead live within commuting distance to WSUV in the nearby state of Oregon (i.e., Portland-area). The outcome of the non-resident petition is not up to Dr. Moffett; the petition must be made to and approved by other university offices and approval is not guaranteed.)
    • Funding:
      • Tuition, stipend, and benefits are provided for the full duration of time needed to complete the degree (MS or PhD), while a student is making adequate annual research progress and exhibiting positive workplace behavior.
      • For the accepted and fully enrolled graduate student, a stipend for the academic year is guaranteed by the University, tuition is paid for the graduate student, and medical, dental, and vision insurance benefits are partially paid for the student.
        • The 9-month academic year pay is typically approximately $18,000-20,000 [old minimum; to be updated per year], for the mid-August-May academic year.  The rate is set by the University or funding agencies, not by Dr. Moffett or the student.  This is taxable income (although Washington State does not have an income tax).
        • Additional full payment of academic year tuition is made on the student’s behalf, of approximately ~$13,000 USD per year. The tuition bill is paid for the student.  This is not paid to the student and is not taxable income.
        • Additional partial coverage of health insurance costs is provided on the student’s behalf.  Students will still pay (from the stipend income) a part of insurance costs, some university fees, and all their own housing, medical, coursework and book, living, and other expenses for themselves and any children or other dependents.
        • Academic year stipends are typically provided by a combination of research assistantships (grant funds raised by Dr. Moffett), teaching assistantships (paid by the University for teaching work in introductory science lab courses), or fellowships (grants earned by the student), depending on the semester.
      • Summer wages are further provided in each year, as fully as possible from fellowships or from Dr. Moffett’s research grants, to raise the student’s annual income to a target level for a livable annual wage in Clark County, Washington State.
        • For example, Dr. Moffett would target paying the student about $12,000 [old minimum; to be updated per year] for the mid-May to mid-August 3-month summer period for full-time research work during this period.
        • These summer wages would therefore aim to complete a total annual student income target (not all is under Dr. Moffett’s control) of minimum of $30,000-35,000 [roughly rounded; old minimum; to be updated per year] — PLUS fully paid graduate tuition (an additional $13,000 untaxed benefit) — PLUS medical, dental, vision insurance (untaxed) benefits.
      • Students are NOT expected to pay any research expenses from their personal living stipend or summer wages.  All research-related expenses are expected to be covered by Dr. Moffett’s relevant research grants and/or by student research fellowships.
  • See also WSUV Science Graduate Programs.
General Positions
      • Postdoctoral researchers with outside funding or interested in writing an application for outside funding with Dr. Moffett as supervisor are encouraged to contact Dr. Moffett at any time with a specific statement about the proposed research topic and the potential source of funding.
      • Graduate students
        • Degrees available under the advisement of Dr. Moffett are:
        • Applicants for PhD or MS study beginning next fall are encouraged to contact Dr. Moffett after reading the above prospective students webpage, then to apply by early January to the Washington State University graduate program.
        • Full application instructions for graduate study are here.
        • Students at other institutions interested in collaboration or seeking an outside committee member or co-adviser are encouraged to contact Dr. Moffett at any time.
      • Undergraduate students seeking research experience, enrolled at Washington State University Vancouver or living in the Vancouver, WA or Portland, OR area, or visiting the area for the summer, are strongly encouraged to contact Dr. Moffett about possible ways to participate. Opportunities may be available to work in the research group for experience, course credit, or wages at Washington State University Vancouver.
      • High school students are also similarly invited to contact Dr. Moffett for possible research experience. (See above, similar to Undergraduate students.)