Association of Polar Early Career Scientists


Job Board

Graduate Research Assistantship in Public Policy, Natural Resource Management
Anchorage, Alaska, USA
University of Alaska Anchorage & University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Undergraduate

MA in Anthropology; MA/MS in Interdisciplinary
Studies; Masters of Public Administration (MPA),
public policy emphasis

Sustainability and resilience of arctic urban and rural social-ecological systems
Location: This position will be located in Anchorage, Alaska, at the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Description and responsibilities: The successful candidate will be responsible for conducting research to understand sustainability and resilience of arctic urban and rural social-ecological systems.  There are several research opportunities available, and we will match candidates’ skills and interests with the appropriate research topic. 

These Alaska based topics include:

  • retaining STEM teachers
  • modeling social-ecological connections
  • assessing climate-related environmental hazards
  • designing fuel treatments to reduce wildfire risk
  • building community resilience to wildfire
  • measuring sustainability for arctic cities
  • economic assessment of firefighting activities 

The skills needed for these positions vary, but all require the ability to manage data and an interest in applied empirical research.  Some focus on quantitative data analysis, while others will include qualitative data analysis and interviews.  Familiarly with GIS or an interest in learning GIS is preferred, but not required. 
The student will be advised by Dr. Matthew Berman and/or Dr. Jennifer Schmidt. These positions are funded by various research projects including: Alaska EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research; more information can be found at, AURA (Arctic Urban Risks and Adaptations;, Socio-ecological considerations for sustainAble Fuel treatments to Reduce wildfire Risk (SAFRR), Sufficient COmpensation for Retention and Equity (SCORE).
Qualifications: A Bachelor’s degree in natural resource management, environmental studies, ecology, economics, anthropology, or a related field before enrollment in a UA graduate program is required. The successful applicant will be highly motivated and creative; possess excellent writing and communication skills; have interdisciplinary training in social and natural sciences; demonstrate leadership or public engagement experience; and show an interest in using qualitative and quantitative approaches to address policy-relevant questions in sustainability and resilience of arctic urban and rural social-ecological systems. Experience with any of the topics listed above is preferred and for some positions fieldwork conducting interviews is a plus but not required.
Funding: We offer two full years of funding (tuition, stipend, and benefits). Positions supported by the research projects listed above. PhD students are welcome to apply, with the understanding that the positions only offer two years of funding.
Closing Date: Applicant review will begin immediately until all positions are filled.
Start Date: August 2022
To Apply: Apply online at UA jobs:
When you do apply e-mail the following to Dr. Matthew Berman (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Dr. Jennifer Schmidt (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.):

(1) cover letter describing why you wish to pursue a MS degree, your interest in the project, and qualifications;
(2) CV or resume;
(3) unofficial transcripts;
(4) technical writing sample; and
(5) contact information for two references.
Please contact Dr. Berman with any questions.
In your cover letter, please also report your GRE scores from the General Exam or planned date of exam.
Dr. Matthew Berman, Professor of Economics (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Dr. Jennifer Schmidt, Assistant Professor of Natural Resource Management and Policy (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
University of Alaska Anchorage
3211 Providence Dr., AK 99508 (907) 786-5426;
Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)
The University of Alaska is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution.  The University of Alaska does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, citizenship, age, sex, physical or mental disability, status as protected veteran, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, parenthood, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation or belief, genetic information, applies to students, employees, and applicants for admission and employment.  Contact information, applicable laws, and complaint procedures are included on UA's statement of non-discrimination available at


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