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USDA-APHIS Ecology & Biology Science Fellowship

ORISEFort Collins, CO
Paid Internship

2 months ago


*Applications are reviewed on a rolling-basis.

APHIS Office/Lab and LocationA research opportunity is currently available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) located in Fort Collins, Colorado. The selected participant may either relocate to Fort Collins or participate remotely.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is a multi-faceted Agency with a broad mission area that includes protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, regulating genetically engineered organisms, administering the Animal Welfare Act and carrying out wildlife damage management activities. These efforts support the overall mission of USDA, which is to protect and promote food, agriculture, natural resources and related issues. APHIS' mission also includes addressing issues such as wildlife damage and disease management; regulation of genetically engineered crops and animal welfare; and protection of public health and safety as well as natural resources that are vulnerable to invasive pests and pathogens.

Research Project: The participant will collaborate with wildlife biologists, ecologists, statisticians, and economists, specializing in population prediction, epidemiology, risk analysis, disease modeling, to operationalize and when needed improve analytical tools. Activities will support improvement and implementation of national scale models to prediction feral swine population size and changes in population. Additionally, the participant will aid in development of adaptive risk-based approaches to identify feral swine populations of importance for disease surveillance. 

Specific activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Collaborate closely with quantitative ecologists to evaluate quality of feral swine population predictions made by national scale catch effort models.
  • Develop approach to make catch-effort population predictions routinely available to managers and policy makers.
  • Develop data pipeline to facilitate easy routine running of models.
  • Collaborate with subject matter experts and policy makers to ensure analytical tools are developed in a way that meets program needs.
  • Participate in professional shadowing experiences or short details to enhance knowledge and skills in disease risk modeling and application to support programmatic decisions and policy.

Learning ObjectivesThe fellowship will provide opportunities for the participant to learn about applied ecology and aid in operationalizing analytical tools that support national scale programmatic decisions and policy.

MentorThe mentor for this opportunity is Ryan Miller ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: October 2023.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for two years but may be renewed upon recommendation of APHIS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participants will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. The current annual stipend for this opportunity is $55,000 - $64,000 and includes a medical insurance supplement.

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens only.

Background Investigation Requirements: Background investigations are required for the selected candidate so the individual can work in biocontainment without an escort and handle select agents. Adjudication of a Special Agency Check (SAC) is required before the selected candidate can start at Plum Island Animal Disease Center. An advanced BI security clearance will be conducted/adjudicated after start date, allowing for unescorted access to biocontainment. An APHIS Select Agent Clearance is also required so that the selected candidate can work with select agents. Paperwork for all of these clearances will be sent to the selected candidate after acceptance of the official offer from ORAU.

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 APHIS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, APHIS, 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.

This is an equal opportunity program open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, mental or physical disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or covered veteran’s status.

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 master's or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields or be currently pursuing one of the degrees with completion before December 29, 2023. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date.

Preferred Skills:

  • Demonstrated skills with working with biological and spatial data. 
  • Skills in R preferred.

Employer Job ID: USDA-APHIS-2023-0320

Required graduation year

2018 - 2023


  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Master's Degree or Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 months or anticipated to be received by 12/29/2023 12:00:00 AM.
  • Discipline(s):
  • Communications and Graphics Design (2 )
  • Computer, Information, and Data Sciences (17 )
  • Earth and Geosciences (21 )
  • Engineering (27 )
  • Environmental and Marine Sciences (14 )
  • Life Health and Medical Sciences (48 )
  • Mathematics and Statistics (11 )
  • Other Physical Sciences (12 )
  • Other S&E-Related (2 )
  • Physics (16 )
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (28 )


ORISE is a U.S. Department of Energy asset that enables America’s scientific competitiveness by training the next generation of STEM experts; conducting scientific and technical reviews; and evaluating radiation exposure, environmental contamination, and worker health. ORISE is managed by ORAU, a university consortium of more than 150 major Ph.D.-granting academic institutions and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. ORAU has been working with government agencies, universities, and corporate entities since 1946 to advance scientific research and education, protect health and the environment, and strengthen national security.
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Skills you'll need for this internship

    public health
    qualitative research


provided by employer

What happens after you send in your application?

ORISE has not provided an expected interview date. Due to the volume of applications, ORISE has indicated that they will not follow up unless you are selected for an interview.

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