EMPLOYS Program – Dual Degree with Potential for Stipend/Tuition

Western Colorado University
Gunnison, Colorado
Job Category
Fellowships & Scholarships
Last Date to Apply
Western Colorado University seeks outstanding and diverse candidates to apply for the National Research Traineeship in Ecological Management and Public Lands Opportunities for Young Scientists (EMPLOYS) program. Students accepted into the EMPLOYS program will engage in a research theses and community projects, rigorous coursework, and training to prepare them for science and management careers in an era of unprecedented social and ecological change, each earning two Master’s degrees in three years: a Master of Science in Ecology and Master of Environmental Management with an emphasis in Integrative and Public Land Management. EMPLOYS students will learn cutting-edge research and professional skills, perform data management and analysis using advanced technology, and implement management actions to respond to complex environmental challenges. Utilizing the unique landscape of Gunnison’s 1.7 million acres of public lands as a platform for learning, students will engage with community stakeholders and agencies including but not limited to the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, National Park Service, National Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The small course sizes and collaborative atmosphere of Western’s Clark School of Environment and Sustainability foster strong relationships between students and faculty mentors, connections to the local community, and opportunities for students to find and fulfill their individual academic and career goals. A limited number of competitive assistantships in the EMPLOYS program are available – generally awarded for a one-year term and including a stipend and tuition waiver. Example program focus areas include using field data and cutting-edge remote-sensing methods to answer questions in fire and forest ecology, examining wildlife habitat selection, and modeling population of imperiled species under varying disturbance and management scenarios. All projects provide opportunities for students to utilize big data to study ecological questions while simultaneously applying research findings to allow natural resource managers to take action. The EMPLOYS webpage highlights current projects, however we invite prospective students to propose and pursue their personal interests within the fields of ecology and environmental management.
To be considered for the NRT EMPLOYS program, students must be accepted into both the Master of Environmental Management (MEM) and the Master of Science in Ecology (MSE) programs at Western Colorado University. Applicants will be evaluated on a number of criteria including previous coursework and experience, professional goals, preparedness for graduate school, and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion principles as assessed by the submission of a personal statement, resume, and letters of recommendation. Competitive applicants will have undergraduate training in natural resources, environmental sciences, or human dimensions of natural resources, such as coursework in biophysical science, social sciences, math, and statistics. Exceptional students will hold excellent academic standing with a GPA of 3.5 or higher and have experience in public service, such as the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps, or in natural resource/land management. As noted above, a limited number of competitive assistantships are available each year to US citizens or permanent residents, funded by the National Science Foundation. Assistantships are generally awarded for a one-year term and include a tuition waiver and stipend. Selections for the EMPLOYS program will be made on a rolling basis beginning in February, with earlier applicants given preference for funding. Please contact Courtney King at Courtney.king@western.edu for more information. To apply for the EMPLOYS graduate program at Western Colorado University, please follow these steps: 1. Submit a formal application to Western’s Clark School of Environment and Sustainability Graduate program. Interested students must qualify to be admitted to the MEM and MS Ecology programs. Contact Lindsay Dolezal at ses@western.edu or call 970-943-2248 for assistance in transferring materials between applications. Indicate in your application that you are applying for the EMPLOYS program. If you are a current Western graduate student, you may skip this step and apply directly through the Program Coordinator, Courtney King, at courtney.king@western.edu. 2. Apply to the NRT program in addition to submitting your application through Western Colorado University. Your essay responses will be included in your online application when you check the box indicating your desire to apply to the EMPLOYS program. Please respond to the following prompts to apply: a. Describe your background experiences relevant to advanced training at the interface of ecology and natural resource management. Consider describing particular formative experiences, challenges you’ve overcome, and attributes or unique perspectives you might bring to the program rather than repeating aspects of your resume. b. Explain your motivation for a 3-year program at the nexus of ecological science and land management such as particular skillsets you seek to acquire as well as your personal and professional ambitions upon completion of the program. c. Discuss how you will bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the EMPLOYS cohort, public land management agencies, and the larger MSE and MEM graduate community, as well as your commitment to inclusion and equity among your cohort and graduate program. d. Identify a current ecological concern or question of interest in the context of global environmental change, outline a research need, and describe how new scientific information could lead to management applications to inform conservation and maintain ecosystem functions. Upon submission, applications will be reviewed by the MEM and MS program directors and the EMPLOYS program selection committee. Western will strive to make admission decisions within 6 to 8 weeks of the application deadline, and admitted students will have 4 weeks to accept or decline enrollment in the program. The Graduate School will send out official letters of admission to the MEM and/or MS programs. Funding decisions, including EMPLOYS assistantships, will be announced separately via email at the address you provide in your application.
Contact Person
Program Coordinator, Courtney King
Contact eMail
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