Apply Now Clicking "Apply Now" opens the link in a new window.

Job Summary

Applications are sought for a Research Assistant to conduct laboratory and field activities in support of forest, soil, and watershed projects at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) in Pellston, Michigan. The term of employment is 5/13/2019 – 9/30/2019 (end date is flexible). The technician will be expected to work on average 40 hours per week.  Housing may be available at the UM Biological Station campus during this appointment. 

Mission Statement

The mission of the University of Michigan is to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying knowledge, art, and academic values, and in developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.  The University of Michigan is committed to foster learning, creativity and productivity, and to support the vigorous exchange of ideas and information, not only in the classroom but in the workplace by: 

  • Creating a work environment in which people treat each other with respect and dignity, regardless of roles, responsibilities or differences. 
  • Providing support, direction and resources enabling us to accomplish the responsibilities of our jobs and to reach the goals that are set for professional and personal growth.


The responsibilities and duties of this position support several closely related projects. Laboratory activities include: unpacking boxes of soil samples and carefully organizing them into physical and digital archives; sieving, oven-drying, and weighing soil samples; filtering, acidifying, and preserving water samples in refrigerators and freezers; freeze-drying soil and water samples; entering and updating data from laboratory measurements into shared data files. Field activities for these projects include: tagging and identifying trees to species level and measuring their diameter; measuring downed woody debris; collecting and drying leaf litterfall; coring soils, constructing, deploying and retrieving root ingrowth cores; constructing, deploying, and reading dendrometer bands to measure the incremental growth of trees; measuring water levels in groundwater wells; collecting water samples from streams, lysimeters, and groundwater wells.

Required Qualifications*

Associate’s degree and 1 to 2 years of employment or college course experience in laboratory settings (e.g., soil and water preparation or wet chemistry), resulting in familiarity with basic laboratory infrastructure such as balances, drying ovens, and vacuum filtration systems. Must be able to utilize personal transportation for travel to and from research sites (all within 5 miles of the UM Biological Station in Pellston, Michigan). The ideal candidate must be detail-oriented, highly organized, able to alternate between independent and team-based tasks and solve problems in both settings, and able to listen to and learn from co-workers acting in training and certification roles. Possess the ability to utilize a compass, GPS, and maps, and to navigate two-track roads, forest trails, and uneven terrain, sometimes in difficult weather. While working independently must be able to move and transport soil and water samples and tools weighing up to 50 pounds in a laboratory setting, and up to 30 pounds in the field. The successful candidate must have the ability to perform computer-aided job functions such as entering, manipulating and managing data.

Desired Qualifications*

A bachelor’s degree or Master’s in a natural science field or engineering discipline is preferred.  Familiarity with UMBS facilities and properties; documentation or certifications related to laboratory hygiene, safe conduct and standard practices; ability to operate and troubleshoot outdoor power equipment (e.g., chainsaw, power auger, snowmobile); interest in mentoring undergraduates conducting guided research on related projects; willingness to engage visitors to the UMBS property in conversation about its mission and about the research being conducted is also highly desired.

Background Screening

The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background checks.  Background checks are performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.