Graduate Student Data Analytic Tools For Grassland Management

South Dakota State Universtiy
Brookings or Rapid City, SD
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
Tuition waivers and a 12-month stipend
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
One Master’s Student position and one PhD student position are available to participate in a USDA-funded effort to improve prediction of the quantity and quality of forage available to rangeland livestock in the Northern Great Plains. The project integrates remote sensing data and climate data with field data collection and laboratory analysis using AI algorithms with the goal of producing web and mobile applications that will be made available to livestock producers. The project will also conduct outreach efforts to make local producers aware of this technology and train them in its use. The MS student will handle field data collection and laboratory analysis and assist with outreach efforts. The PhD student will be involved in field data collection, data pipeline creation, and artificial intelligence model development. The work is a collaboration between faculty in Natural Resource Management, Animal Science, and Statistics departments. These positions are available beginning August 2022. The successful candidates will receive tuition waivers and a 12-month stipend. The Department of Natural Resource Management (Range, Wildlife, Fisheries, and Ecology) and the Department of Animal Science at South Dakota State University are within the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences. The graduate programs strongly emphasize conservation and wise-use of natural resources. SDState is the Land Grant University for the state and has approximately 13,000 students. SDState is located in Brookings, SD ca. one hour north of Sioux Falls and four hours east of the Twin Cities, and offers a friendly, small, college-town atmosphere. Both departments have faculty in Rapid City, SD. There is an option for the PhD Student to complete part or the whole degree program based in Rapid City. To apply, send a single PDF with (1) CV; (2) a letter describing how you meet the required qualifications, research interests, and career goals; (3) unofficial transcripts; and (4) contact information for three professional references to Josh Leffler ( for the MS position or Jamie Brennan ( for the PhD position. Formal application to the university only needs to be made after selection of the successful candidate. Application is open until positions are filled. For full consideration, please apply by 17 February 2022.
Required Qualifications (MS): (1) A BS/BA degree in Biology, Ecology, Environmental Science, Rangeland Ecology, Natural Resource Management, or related field by May 2022; (2) strong academic record including undergraduate research experience; (3) quantitative skills including advanced Excel and introductory R; (4) excellent written and oral communication skills. Required Qualifications (PhD): (1) A MS degree in Biology, Ecology, Environmental Science, Rangeland Ecology, Animal Science, Natural Resource Management, Statistics, Math, or related field by May 2022; (2) strong academic record including thesis work leading to publication; (3) advanced quantitative skills including GIS, R, Python, and supervised/unsupervised classification; (4) excellent written and oral communication skills.
Contact Person
Jameson Brennan
Contact eMail
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