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EPA Postgraduate Fellowship in National Wetland Condition Assessment Plant Data Research & Support

*Applications may be reviewed on a rolling-basis and this posting could close before the deadline. Click here for information about the selection process.

EPA Office/Lab and LocationA postgraduate research opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water (OW), Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds (OWOW) located in Washington, D.C.

Research Project: The selected participant will contribute research to a project designed to support scientific research efforts on wetland plant data collected in the National Wetland Condition Assessment (NWCA). NWCA is a statistical survey designed to assess the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of wetlands and produce population estimates for indicators of wetland condition at national and regional scales every 5 years. It is a component of EPA’s National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS) and conducted in close collaboration with state and tribal water quality agencies and federal partners.

Learning Objectives Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will have the opportunity to:

  • Conduct research on wetland plant species characteristics and compile information on species traits (e.g., nativity, coefficients of conservatism);
  • Learn techniques to compile, perform quality assurance, and conduct statistical analysis on national-scale biological data sets;
  • Develop skills to communicate results of scientific analysis to diverse audiences of wetland scientists, managers, and policy makers;
  • Collaborate with a broad and diverse group of partners to accomplish water-quality assessment objectives; and,
  • Participate in scientific workshops, trainings, and meetings.

Mentor(s)The mentor(s) for questions about this opportunity is Gregg Serenbetz ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s) directly.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: August 2022.  All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.

Appointment LengthThe appointment initially may be for one year and may be renewed upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. At this time, the annual stipend for master's degrees is ~$61,947 per year and doctoral degrees ~$74,950. Click here for detailed information about full-time stipends.

EPA Security ClearanceCompletion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at EPA.

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 EPA. Participants do not become employees of EPA, 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.

ORISE offers all ORISE EPA PhD graduate students and Postdocs a free 5 year membership to the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA).

The successful applicant(s) will be required to comply with Environmental, Safety and Health (ES&H) requirements of the hosting facility, including but not limited to, COVID-19 requirements (e.g. facial covering, physical distancing, testing, vaccination).

Questions: Please see the FAQ section of our 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 five years.

Preferred Skills:

  • Experience identifying plants and proficiency in the use of pertinent floras and taxonomic keys for field projects and/or research
  • Understanding of plant taxonomy and the use of floras, taxonomic keys, and floristic databases to assist with nomenclatural standardization of plant species names for data spanning a wide geographic range
  • Experience compiling information and data describing species traits (e.g., native status, growth habit, coefficients of conservatism, functional traits)
  • Experience with plant ecological field work, data collection, and data analysis
  • Strong computational skills and experience using the R software environment for data management and analysis
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications (i.e., Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook)
  • Strong organizational, written and oral communication skills