Graduate Research Positions

Available graduate positions are not limited to those posted below. If you are interested in student opportunities in STEPS, please contact us.

PhD Positions at NC State

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Evaluating Environmental, Health, and Societal Impacts of Advanced Materials and Emerging Risks

Seeking highly motivated and diverse candidates for a PhD position at NC State University within the Department of Applied Ecology under the supervision of Dr. Khara Grieger. The PhD candidate would focus on developing and implementing interdisciplinary approaches to evaluate potential environmental, health, and societal impacts of advanced materials and emerging risks. The candidate would also be involved in a newly launched research consortium housed at NC State focused on sustainable science and technological solutions to nutrient management, and have the opportunity to work with faculty and students across the university and partner institutions. The ideal candidate is familiar with risk sciences including risk evaluations of novel advanced materials and is interested in communicating potential risks to academic and non-academic audiences.

The PhD candidate will conduct research to evaluate potential environmental, health, and societal impacts of new advanced materials and/or technologies, many of which are used in food, agriculture, and water sectors. In addition, the candidate will communicate results from their research to a range of stakeholders, including scientists, researchers, industry, policy-makers among others. The PhD candidate will be expected to lead manuscripts and other publications that report the research results and present at conferences and workshops.

The PhD candidate will start the position in January 2022 and join NC State’s Biology Graduate Program, specializing in the Integrative Biology concentration that integrates multiple concentrations and fields.

Potential applicants are encouraged to send CV, 3 references, writing samples, and a 1-page personal statement that describes your motivations and goals for the PhD position to Dr. Grieger (kdgriege@ncsu.edu), as soon as possible and no later than October 15, 2021. Applicants will also need to complete and submit a graduate application through the NC State Graduate School (https://grad.ncsu.edu/).

Full details of the position are here.

Graduate Assistantship in Soil Science

The Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at the North Carolina State University is recruiting a highly qualified PhD student to study Soil Legacy Phosphorus. The successful candidate will develop field trials and greenhouse experiments studying characterization and bioavailability of soil legacy P for field crops, working under the supervision of Dr. Luke Gatiboni. The successful candidate will be located on the main campus in Raleigh, NC, and could begin either in Spring, Summer, or Fall 2022. The assistantship includes an annual stipend, tuition, and health insurance. The required qualifications are an M.S. degree in environmental, soil science, agronomy, or closely related STEM area; Demonstrated excellence in course work; Demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in Soil Science; Skills in Statistical tools; Excellent written and oral communication skills; Ability to work independently and as a team member; Experience in field-based research is preferred. Interested students should contact Luke Gatiboni (luke_gatiboni@ncsu.edu) with a statement of interest, a CV, and contact information for three references.

PhD Position at the University of Florida

Graduate Student Assistantship in Phosphorus Sustainability

Starting Fall 2022, the Soil and Water Sciences Department at the University of Florida is seeking a highly qualified PhD student in the field of phosphorus (P) sustainability as it relates to soil, water, and the environment. The student will be located at the Everglades Research and Education Center in Belle Glade, Florida, working under the supervision of Dr. Jehangir H. Bhadha. The student will be working on research topics related to (i) developing treatment technologies to capture P from agricultural discharge, (ii) controlling and utilizing legacy P in soils and sediments, (iii) exploring materials for P sensing. This is a four-year multidisciplinary project with primary study location in South Florida, and coordinate efforts with collaborators across the nation. Candidates with a MS degree in Soil Sciences, Agricultural Engineering, Water and Environmental Sciences, or related fields will be desired. Looking for a highly motivated applicant with experience in field and lab work. High GPA, along with a strong publication record, experience working with hydrological modeling is desired.

For more information, contact Dr. Jehangir Bhadha jango@ufl.edu, and submit a formal application to the UF Soil and Water Sciences Department Graduate Program by January 2, 2022: http://soils.ifas.ufl.edu/academics/graduate-studies/apply/

PhD Position at NC State

We are recruiting a PhD student in the areas of geospatial modeling, nutrient biogeochemistry, and environmental/agricultural data analysis. The student will be co-advised by Dr. Natalie Nelson (Biological and Agricultural Engineering) and Dr. Dan Obenour (Environmental Engineering) at NC State University, and could pursue a PhD in either Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, or Geospatial Analytics. The student will work with a team of environmental and agricultural modelers to develop new approaches for simulating phosphorus fluxes in agriculturally-intensive watersheds using a combination of models ranging from mechanistic to machine learning. The work will largely be computational, though there will be opportunities to engage in field activities. Prior modeling and/or programming experience is preferred, particularly in open source languages like R or Python.

For more information and to apply, please contact Dr. Natalie Nelson (nnelson4@ncsu.edu) and Dr. Dan Obenour (drobenou@ncsu.edu).


Post-doc Positions

We invite applications for a postdoctoral research scholar position in the areas of geospatial modeling, nutrient biogeochemistry, and environmental/agricultural data analysis. The postdoctoral research scholar will report directly to Dr. Natalie Nelson and also work closely with Drs. Owen Duckworth (Crop and Soil Sciences) and Dan Obenour (Environmental Engineering). Interested applicants should be available to start by February 2022. The position is expected to be funded through the summer of 2023 subject to satisfactory performance. The successful candidate is expected to perform literature and data syntheses to generate modeling strategies and datasets for representing phosphorus retention in agricultural lands and surface waters at the national scale. The scholar will perform literature reviews and inform the development of national phosphorus inventories, as well as generate peer reviewed publications in scientific journals and assist with leading research efforts. Specifically, the candidate will be expected to:
  • Review and synthesize quantitative studies related to legacy phosphorus dynamics
  • Manage large datasets from multiple sources
  • Create and implement a roadmap for estimating phosphorus retention and losses at the national-scale
  • Generate peer-reviewed manuscripts and technical reports, and present the work at technical conferences and stakeholder meetings.

For more information and to apply, please contact Dr. Natalie Nelson (nnelson4@ncsu.edu).

Undergraduate Positions

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

STEPS REU and Research Experience for Future Farmers (REF)

STEPS will support 15 students for ten weeks during the Summer 2022 through a multi-institutional REU/REF program. Students will work on independent research projects within the Center under the mentorship of STEPS Scholars and faculty. Students will be placed on projects that align with their research and career interests at one of the eight STEPS academic institutions.
Learn more and apply here.

Basic and Environmental Soil Science Training (BESST) REU

Learn from a broad and diverse group of mentors, developing skills in chemistry, physics, microbiology, ecology, geology, and hydrology. Join us for a 10-week individualized summer research experience including a week-long traveling field camp, workshops with leading scientists, and opportunities for post-summer travel to National Professional Scientific Meetings.

Learn more and apply here.