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EPA Office/Lab and LocationA postgraduate research training opportunity is currently available with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 5 Land, Chemical & Redevelopment Division (LCRD) within the Land & Chemicals Branch located in Chicago, Illinois.

Research Project: The participant will research and analyze environmental data to locate potential underserved communities. The findings will then be presented (by the participant) to EPA scientists and managers for potential utilization. The participant will then research the most efficient ways to identify community representatives to engage for outreach and education, and actually engage the representatives to identify and address community needs to reduce exposures to lead-based paint and pesticides. The participate will also determine efficiencies by actual implementation of the community initiatives.

By identifying these underserved communities, EPA, including the participant, can then assist the communities to potentially reduce exposures to lead-based paint and pesticides. In doing so, the participant will help fulfill EPA’s mission to protect public health and the environment.

In addition to analyzing environmental data, identifying methods and efficiencies in identifying, communicating with, and addressing needs of underserved communities, the participant may also support:

  • Quality assurance activities to ensure that data is accurate;
  • Lead renovation and abatement targeting and research; and
  • Children’s health and healthy homes efforts.  

Learning ObjectivesThe participant will learn how to apply their scientific and technical knowledge in the field of public health, while learning how to collect relevant statistical data, interpret results, and explain those results to EPA employees, state environmental agencies, and tribal representatives, and develop and implement community-based initiatives. Through this project, the participant will have the opportunity to:

  • Observe how science is used at the EPA
  • Learn how EPA utilizes (and quality assures) public health data
  • Learn about existing EPA environmental tools
  • Develop skills to develop and implement community-based initiatives
  • Develop skills in scientific writing and public presentations
Mentor(s)The mentor to contact for questions about this opportunity is Juan Mendez ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Fall 2022. All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.

Appointment LengthThe appointment may be initially 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. The current yearly stipends for this opportunity are $46,000 (BS), $56,000 (MS), and $72,000 (Ph.D.). 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 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 bachelor’s degree in one of the required fields (Environmental Science, Physical or Health Science, Public Health, Environmental Engineering), or be currently pursuing a master’s degree. Degree must have been received within five years of the starting date.

The following preferred skills or experience would be favorable for a potential candidate:

  • Understanding and communicating (verbally and written) science, data, and/or policy to non-technical audiences;
  • Geographic information systems and data analysis to identify underserved communities;
  • Environmental data analysis;
  • Development and implementation of public health or community initiatives.