EPA Office/Lab and Location: Two postgraduate research opportunities are currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 10, Water Division. The appointments will be served in Seattle, Washington. Working remotely part of the time may be possible.
The mission of EPA R10 Water Division is to restore, maintain, and enhance the overall quality of the water resources to protect the health and diversity of the environment for present and future generations. EPA has 2 opportunities:
1. Watersheds Section: The participant will learn about impaired and threatened waters and watershed restoration plans, the nonpoint source pollution control program, and tribal relations. The participant may also learn about wetlands, water quality standards and permits.
2. Safe Drinking Water Program: The participant will learn about Tribal public drinking water systems where the EPA has primacy and gain hands-on experience implementation the drinking water regulations. The participant also will learn how EPA informs and engages with a broad range of stakeholders, and gain experience in collaborating with water system operators in rural areas.
Research Project: Under EPA mentors, the selected applicant will have the opportunity to learn how to:
- review and make recommendations on various documents or plans for consistency with regulations, EPA policy and/or accepted technical practices
- provide technical support for agency decisions or actions
- review data using appropriate data analytics to support EPA staff and managers in making recommendations on agency actions or decisions
- conduct research or investigations on technical topics to support agency actions or decisions
- help prepare technical and scientific documents related to litigation
- effectively communicate orally, in writing and through a formal presentation effectively for the targeted audience
Learning Objectives: These opportunities will provide participants with exposure to a broad range of technical and policy issues surrounding watershed protection/restoration and drinking water programs. The participants will be trained in the various components of these programs, observe how the programs fit together to support EPA’s goals and reporting requirements, learn how EPA informs and engages with its broad range of stakeholders, and gain experience in program development and implementation.
Appointment Length: The appointment may initially be for one year and may be renewed up to four additional years upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding.
Level of Participation: The appointment is full-time.
EPA Security Clearance: Completion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at EPA.
ORISE Information: This 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).
The qualified candidate should have received a master’s or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields (science, public health or engineering), or be currently pursuing the degree with completion by the appointment start date. Degree must have been received within the past five years.
• Experience or familiarity with computer programs and statistics such as R, Studio, Excel, Access, GIS, and/or modeling software
• Interest, knowledge and/or experience with environmental policy, law and federal regulations, especially in the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act
• Familiarity with water quality monitoring and/or collecting samples
• Experience or interest interfacing with the public and diverse audiences, working with people from diverse backgrounds and the ability to maintain cultural sensitivity
• Strong oral and written communication skills