Graduate Student Research Assistant

Washington Sea Grant seeks a Graduate Student Research Assistant for social science research related to West Coast fishing communities.

 Department: Washington Sea Grant (in partnership with your home academic department)

Date Available: 2017- 2018 Academic Year (3 quarters), possible summer quarter considered

Supervisor: Dr. Melissa Poe,

Purpose: Washington Sea Grant (WSG) has an exciting opportunity for a social science graduate student research assistant. Based at the University of Washington, WSG provides statewide research, outreach, and education services addressing the challenges facing our ocean and coasts

WSG is leading a study of West Coast fisheries to better understand the various social factors that explain the motivations and benefits of commercial fishing and changes in fishing-based livelihoods. Marine livelihoods are heavily influenced by the inherent variations in the ocean, intrinsic economic uncertainty, and the effects of fisheries management. Working with NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, this research will use quantitative surveys and ethnographic interviews to improve understanding of how fisheries participants respond to these changes. A collaborative team of anthropologists, social scientists, economists, ecologists and ocean modelers are further considering these dynamic social-ecological changes through coupled human and natural sciences frameworks as part of a project funded by the National Science Foundation. For more information:

General Duties/Description: 

WSG is looking for a research assistant (RA) to join our team for the 2017-2018 Academic Year to:

  • Work with the WSG lead (Poe) to conduct ethnographic interviews with fisheries participants in West Coast communities
  • Contribute to the analysis of quantitative (survey) and qualitative interview data
  • Review and synthesize relevant literature (e.g., fishing communities well-being, etc.)
  • Contribute to project outputs, including work on peer-review manuscript(s) and presenting results at a professional conference
  • Provide project support as needed, including during stakeholder workshops


The ideal candidate for this position is a graduate student with interest in environmental social sciences, particularly focusing on West Coast fisheries or other natural resource based livelihoods. This could be an ideal opportunity to support a thesis project. We are seeking a candidate with experience or training in qualitative and quantitative social science research methods. The candidate must be able to travel to coastal communities in WA, OR, and CA to conduct interviews for multiple 1-2 week periods. Field work likely to take place in late fall or winter quarter. Travel expenses are covered through project funds. Experience with data analysis tools such as AtlasTi and SPSS, R-Survey, etc., is desired. To succeed in this position, the person will possess good communication and writing skills, and be committed to following professional ethics. A successful applicant should be prepared to carry out work in an organized fashion, able to work independently, and also be comfortable working with people. Must be a currently enrolled UW graduate student and hold a current driver’s license

Schedule: Flexible. Workload is approximately 20 hours per week. Will involve out-of-town travel for fieldwork. Anticipated start date is September 16, 2017.

 Salary: Salary based on UW Graduate Student Assistantship rates, including tuition and health benefits.

How to apply: Email a cover letter, resume/CV, and contact info for 2 professional references in a single PDF to
Dr. Melissa Poe at First consideration will be given to applications received by August 10.

 The University of Washington is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.  To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Disability Services Office at 206.543.6450 / 206.543.6452 (tty) or