The United States Department of Agriculture and Kansas State University (Manhattan, KS) are looking for two PhD students to help run and grow the Invasive Mosquito Project (www.citizenscience.us). The Invasive Mosquito Project (IMP) is a partnered citizen science project that pairs schools with local professionals to teach about scientific research and recruit the next generation of STEM students while conducting mosquito surveillance and public health education. The project is summarized well by this ABC national news report (http://www.wcvb.com/politics/usda-launches-nationwide-project-to-track-invasive-mosquitoes/39871684).
With the help of USDA-APHIS, dynamic mosquito species distribution maps will be created and KSU collaborators will use the data to model emerging mosquito transmitted pathogen threats. To build the network and gather data, the graduate students will work with the local professional throughout the United States and likely in other countries to process the citizen science collected samples and curate the data submitted to the website. They will interact with professionals including local, state, and national public health officials, industry representatives, academic institutions, and local experts from mosquito control districts. They will help establish the classroom project in schools and work to make the IMP sustainable after they graduate with the aim of achieving the project goal of having 20% of schools in the United States participating for 20 years. The students will travel nationally and internationally to give presentations to governments, societies, and for schools.
PhD projects from the mosquito data will be according to the student’s interests in disease vector studies (GIS, population genetics, virology, ecology, public education via citizen science, etc.).
Skills ideal for the project include: strong writing and speaking skills in the English language, strong planning and management skills, excellent personal and relationship building skills, engaging and dynamic speaker, insect rearing experience, mosquito identification, computer skills (programing or website design), database management, social media communications, and media relations. A single individual need not have all these skills, but they must be able to identify their role on the team and how they support the other team members. Each individual must work independently as wall as part of a group.
Please submit as a single document: a cover letter describing career goals and research interests; curriculum vitae; statement of research interests; and contact information, including email addresses of at least three references; to Lee.Cohnstaedt@ars.usda.gov.
Applicants must be authorized to work in the United States at the time of employment.
Screening of Applications Begins September 24th and continues until suitable candidates are found. One student will begin January 2017 and the other start date is negotiable. I will be at the International Congress of Entomology if people would like to meet in person.
Please distribute to any interested individuals and email any questions to Lee.Cohnstaedt@ars.usda.gov.