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USFS Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Remote Fellowship

Paid Internship

3 months ago


*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

USFS Office/Lab and Location: A research opportunity is currently available with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Office of Sustainability and Climate. This is a virtual opportunity that will require limited travel (less than 25%).

The Forest Service (FS) mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Forest Service manages a system of 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands in 44 States and Puerto Rico. These lands encompass 193 million acres, an area almost twice the size of California. They have some of the richest resources and most breathtaking scenery in the world, as well as drinking water for millions of Americans; these lands also help create or maintain hundreds of thousands of jobs. Impacts from climate change, extreme weather, and other disturbances—along with changing human demands—challenge our ability to ensure that ecosystems are healthy, resilient, and thus more adaptable to changing conditions. 

The Forest Service Office of Sustainability and Climate provides information and tools, technical assistance, and policy support on climate change adaptation, carbon stewardship, and sustainable operations for the Forest Service.

Research ProjectThis is a virtual fellowship. The Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Fellow will be part of a collaborative team of researchers and practitioners that includes the Office of Sustainability and Climate, the USFS Southern Region and Southern Research Station, and the Nature Conservancy. The team will be integrating the latest scientific information to assess the vulnerability of forested ecosystems in the Southern Appalachians region of the United States. Activities anticipated for the fellow may include include:

  • Virtual and in-person collaborative meetings and workshops to assess the vulnerability of forested ecosystems and other resources in the Southern Appalachians region to climate change
  • Coordination with teams developing geospatial tools and forest ecosystem models for the region to develop results relevant to natural resource professionals in the Southern Appalachians Region
  • Reading, organizing, and compiling the latest scientific literature on climate change impacts into a science synthesis report
  • Creating visual information resources to convey complex scientific information, such as tables, figures, and maps

Learning ObjectivesThe participant will have a chance to:

  • Learn about and test climate change impact models and vulnerability assessment frameworks;
  • Collaborate with a multi-organizational and multidisciplinary community committed to assessing climate change risks and vulnerabilities and developing effective strategies for climate adaptation;
  • Enhance their research, writing, and data analysis skills in geospatial analysis and tool development, science synthesis, and climate assessments;
  • Hone their communication and facilitation skills by participating in workshops and learning to create effective outreach materials for diverse audiences.

MentorThe mentor for this opportunity is Leslie Brandt ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.

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

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for one year but may be extended upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. The current stipend for this opportunity is up to $89,000 per year.

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

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

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. Degree must have been received within the past three years.

Preferred Skills:

  • Knowledge and/or experience in the ecology and/or management of terrestrial ecosystems, preferably Eastern US forests.
  • Interest and/or experience working on climate change impacts and/or adaptation.
  • Strong written/verbal communications skills, including preparing manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication and experience presenting scientific information to a variety of scientific and non-scientific audiences.
  • Experience and skills in collaboration and participatory processes.
  • Strong research and data analysis skills, including geographic information systems and statistics.

Employer Job ID: USDA-USFS-WO-2023-0372

Required graduation year

2020 - 2023


  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Master's Degree or Doctoral Degree received within the last 36 month(s).
  • Discipline(s):
  • Earth and Geosciences (1 )
  • Environmental and Marine Sciences (9 )
  • Life Health and Medical Sciences (4 )
  • Other Non-S&E (1 )
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (1 )


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

    data analysis
    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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