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USFS US-Affiliated Pacific Islands Graduate Research Opportunity

USFS Office/Lab and Location: A fellowship opportunity is available with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) within the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry located in Hilo, Hawaii.
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.
Research ProjectThe Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry ( of the USDA Forest Service and the University of Hawaii at Hilo Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) Graduate Program ( will work together to support 2 graduate student ORISE participants who are dedicated to a career in forestry, conservation biology, and environmental science in the US Affiliated Pacific Islands (US-API). In addition to collaborating with scientist from IPIF (, the student participants will also be mentored by a faculty member in TCBES to develop a project in the US-API (Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Republic of Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia). Through research, knowledge sharing, and partnership the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry provides scientific and technical information needed to restore, conserve, and sustain tropical forests and wetlands of the Pacific. The overall goal of the USDA Forest Service and the TCBES partnership for this ORISE opportunity is to help develop the next generation of forestry and environmental leaders (e.g., conservation biologists or environmental scientists) in the US-API. 
This ORISE opportunity provides generous support for 2 academic years, including a stipend, tuition costs, health insurance, and costs for travel and supplies needed to conduct research activities associated with the research project. The participants are expected to participate with their IPIF mentor part-time in the school year and full-time in the summer breaks. 
Depending on the interest of the graduate student participant, the participant will be paired with a scientist from IPIF that best matches their interests. The topics of focus that the participant may be involved with include, but are not limited to tropical forest ecology, restoration ecology, wetland and mangrove ecology, tropical stream hydrology, agroecology, invasive species issues, place-based environmental and bio-cultural education, social science, and urban and community forest management. 
Learning ObjectivesThis opportunity will help the successful applicant build knowledge, experience, and competence in the following areas:
  • Research project design
  • Project implementation
  • Community surveys or field data collections
  • Research sample processing
  • Data management and quality control
  • Data analysis
  • Presentation and reporting of research findings
MentorThe mentor for this opportunity is Susan Cordell ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: August 1, 2023.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.
Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for twenty-two months but may be extended upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds.
Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time during the summer and part-time during the school year.
Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. 
Citizenship RequirementsThis 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.
Questions: Please 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. Degree must have been received within the past year.
Preferred Skills/experience:
  • Undergraduate coursework or employment experience relevant to forest ecology or forest management.
  • Previous professional experience in the US Affiliated Pacific is preferred.
Applicants should have a valid state driver's license.