Opportunities

Graduate assistantship in forest ecosystem modeling

The Thomas lab in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech has funding for one graduate student positions to start in Fall 2017.  We are looking for enthusiastic and highly self-motivated students at either the M.S. or Ph.D. level interested in studying the interaction between forest ecosystems and global environmental change. The project will focus on using Southeastern U.S. forests as a test-bed for developing ecological forecasting techniques to better predict how forest productivity and carbon cycling will respond to variability in future precipitation.

We seek conscientious and energetic students that can work independently while participating in a fun, collaborative research group environment. The students will be part of an innovative group of scientists and students actively pursuing research that integrates models and observations. Potential students comfortable using quantitative approaches to research (i.e. ecosystem modeling and statistical modeling) or students with the enthusiasm to learn quantitative approaches are especially encouraged to apply.  Students are also encouraged to apply to be a fellow in Virginia Tech’s Interfaces of Global Change graduate program (globalchange.vt.edu)

Virginia Tech, as the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and leading research institution, has a strong interdisciplinary focus on the environment and natural sciences (vt.edu). Virginia Tech’s location in scenic southwestern Virginia, its close proximity to forest research sites, and the university’s strengths in technology and computing make it an ideal place to live and purse innovative research linking field observations and ecosystem models.

Students will be funded through a combination of graduate research assistantships (GRAs) and graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs). In addition, I encourage prospective students to seek their own funding (through NSF Graduate Research Fellowships, EPA Star grants, and DOE fellowships) and am happy to help prospective students navigate the fellowship application process. GRAs, GTAs and fellowships include a stipend, tuition waivers, and health insurance benefits.

Interested students should send an email letter of inquiry containing an overview of your research interests, your C.V., an unofficial transcript, a list of past research experiences and mentors, and GRE scores (if available) to rqthomas@vt.edu.  Please visit the departmental website (frec.vt.edu) and research group website (epics.frec.vt.edu) and feel free to contact me, Dr. R. Quinn Thomas, with questions about the application process, the graduate process, or potential research questions.