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NM Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI) Graduate Student Assistant

Graduate School Information for this assistantship:

In addition to this job application being submitted to the handshake system, the candidate must also fill out and complete an application for admission into the NMSU Water Science and Management Graduate Program via the NMSU Graduate School website:

While completing the NMSU Graduate School application packet, there is a section that asks, "How do you plan on funding your graduate studies?"; in this section please list this NM WRRI graduate assistantship you are applying for. Student Program Coordinator, Carson Pharris, can be contacted directly at for questions about the Water Science and Management Graduate Program. More information about the WSM graduate degree program can be found here:

Job Duties:

Several graduate research assistantships are available starting in the Fall 2023 semester. Currently admitted NMSU graduate students and Spring 2024 applicants studying and obtaining work assessing water dynamics are highly encouraged to apply. Each position will specialize in one of these areas: water budget analysis, spatial analysis, hydrologic modeling, and system dynamics modeling. Depending on project funding, this position may cover tuition at New Mexico State University up to 9 credits, funded through the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI). The positions are exciting opportunities to be part of a transdisciplinary group, involving collaboration between stakeholders and scientists, that is seeking innovative solutions to long-standing and pressing dryland agricultural and water management questions. The positions are for related grant projects funded by USDA, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the New Mexico Environment Department. The projects’ goals focus on collaboration with regional agricultural communities to identify pathways to agricultural and water resilience in the face of current challenges, particularly climate change. The projects cover three main regions of New Mexico that include traditional agricultural communities of acequias and tribes and pueblos and larger irrigation districts. Each position would focus on one particular region. A central question in these projects is what watershed-scale strategies can optimize water supply and demand while achieving resilience of both the water and agricultural systems, as defined collaboratively with the communities. The research, fieldwork, and systems science modeling use an integrative approach between the social and the natural systems. The field positions each have different objectives, which include: 1) assessing water use of extreme drought-tolerant crops, 2) the effects of riparian restoration on downstream creek flows that supply water for a small acequia community, and 3) the ability for watershed restoration to mitigate downstream flooding.


Responsibilities will be to assist and take leadership of certain portions of the following work: 
  1. The setup, operation, maintenance, and downloading of data of research equipment for the site. The candidate will work towards assuming responsibility for the field research site.
  2. Working with stakeholders to adapt results to be useful for their objectives. 
  3. The research and synthesis of the analysis of the field findings. 
  4. Specializing in one area of the research relevant across the sites. The areas include water budget analysis, spatial analysis (particularly the ability to process and analyze geospatial data in ArcGIS and ArcPro, compile and verify data, maintain basic metadata, and make maps, and work with remote sensing data), hydrologic modeling (Hec-RAS 2-d), and integrating the field data into system dynamics modeling 
  5. Publishing results in peer-reviewed academic journals and developing materials for reports and presentations to provide the results to project partners and stakeholders. 

Opportunities exist to synthesize the research and expand work in these and other community-based planning projects to inform future land and water management. The student will work closely with team leaders, graduate students, and all will report to Dr. Fernald.

  • Successful candidates will have a strong academic record in one or more of the following fields: hydrology, ecology, biology, environmental science, or a similar natural resource-related field, as well as the ability to effectively collaborate and work independently.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who have an interest in addressing stakeholder issues, have previous field research experience, and an enthusiasm for working outside in southwestern US climates.
  • Preference will also be given to applicants with skills in one of the specialty areas: water budget analysis, spatial analysis, hydrologic modeling, and system dynamics modeling experience.
  • Requirements also include a valid driver’s license or the ability to obtain a license within three months of hire, the ability to lift 40 lbs and carry heavy equipment.

Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted and interviews will be held on a rolling basis until all positions are filled.