Job Type: Student / postdoc
Salary Details: monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience
Deadline: Aug 04, 2023

A fellowship opportunity is available with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) within the Pacific Southwest Research Station located in Davis or Placerville, California.

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.

The Post-Bac Fellow will be based at the Pacific Southwest Research Station locations in Placerville, but will also participate in Davis, as well as on a number of National Forests across California, Oregon and Washington. The Fellow will have access to a well-equipped Molecular Genetic laboratory, a greenhouse, and multiple field sites.  They will interact with both Genetics and Silviculture researchers in California, Oregon and Washington.

Research Project: The USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW) is seeking a post-Bac research fellow to join a team researching genetic and silviculture strategies to improve post-fire reforestation and sustain California forests under climate change. This multi-component effort will use a combination of field and greenhouse research to provide land managers with updated scientific guidance on reforestation under climate change. This project will investigate: 1) post-fire reforestation across an experimental network- assessing and evaluating where to plant, what to plant and how to plant it in California, Oregon, and Washington (this fellowship will focus on California) 2) Using already established provenance tests to examine the relationship between climate of origin and planting location. These two projects will work with existing out-plantings and involve the establishment of a new network of genetics-silviculture planting experiments, as well as greenhouse studies.

Learning Objectives

  • To better understand how genetics and silvicultural management can be combined to improve reforestation success and future forest resilience under climate change.
  • To enhance collaborative skills as a member of a scientific team by helping to formulate policy-relevant research questions, plan, implement, monitor, and analyze field studies, and identify other potential avenues for research applying existing long-term data.
  • To cultivate greenhouse plant culturing skills.
  • To gain experience analyzing and modeling, organizing, and securing project geospatial information, data, metadata for use in current and future research.

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

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: 2023.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

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

Level of Participation: The appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. 

Citizenship Requirements: This 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.

QuestionsPlease 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 have received a bachelor’s degree in one of the relevant fields (e.g. Forestry, Natural Resources, Plant Sciences, Ecology, Environmental Sciences, Biology), or be currently pursuing the degree with completion before June 1, 2023. Degree must have been received within the past three years. 

Successful candidates need to be able to hike 3 miles carrying 20 pounds and enjoy the outdoors and rugged natural landscapes. Interest in pursuing a career in research in Forestry, Genetics, Ecology or other Natural Resources is important. The mentors for this appointment are committed to providing a breadth of experience that will help the fellow prepare for and apply to a graduate research program in Forestry, Genetics or related fields.

While few candidates would necessarily have this full breadth of experience, preference will be given to candidates having among the following skills:

  • Experience with field data collection
  • Experience with ArcGIS and geospatial data collection and management
  • Experience with greenhouse
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Capacity to perform both independently and as part of a team
  • Evidence of written communication ability to assist with paper writing, developing protocols, and study documentation

All candidates must have a valid driver’s license.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Degree: Bachelor’s Degree received within the last 36 months or anticipated to be received by 6/1/2023 12:00:00 AM.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences
  • Age: Must be 18 years of age

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.  
  • 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.