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Research Intern - Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey

Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey
Madison, Wisconsin
$30,952 Full-time Annual
Closing date
Jun 18, 2021

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Hydrology, Interdisciplinary/Other
Career Level
Student / Graduate
Education Level
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Job Details

The Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey is seeking a Research Intern.

Wisconsin Geological & Natural History Survey (WGNHS) Mission:

The Survey, which is part of UW-Madison's Division of Extension, conducts earth-science surveys, field studies, and research. We provide objective scientific information about the geology, mineral resources, water resources, soil, and biology of Wisconsin. We collect, interpret, disseminate, and archive natural resource information. We communicate the results of our activities through publications, technical talks, and responses to inquiries from the public. These activities support informed decision-making by government, industry, business, and individual citizens.

Position Requirements

Please note that this position is being cross-listed a Research Associate (Postdoctoral) position. Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply.

Minimum Requirements:

  • A MS or MA in hydrogeology, water quality, water resources engineering, geography, or a closely related field of study.
  • Degree must be completed and verified prior to the start of employment.
  • Training and experience in collecting and manipulating large spatial data sets.
  • Training and experience in geographic information system (GIS) applications and data analyses, including spatial statistics.
  • Ability to work independently and creatively to draw inferences from large spatial data sets.

Job Duties

We seek a Research Intern to work on the project “Advancing the use of nitrate findings to inform groundwater protection and improvement strategies”.  This 14-month project is designed to test the hypothesis that sufficient information and tools exist and are accessible for use by counties to develop and implement targeted strategies to ensure good quality groundwater. The project will focus within Wisconsin’s Central Sands region that comprises portions of Adams, Juneau, Marquette, Portage, Waushara, and Wood Counties.

This project offers a unique opportunity for an individual to work and learn at the intersection of groundwater science, water quality, public policy, and outreach at the state and local levels.  

The researcher will undertake an extensive information review and synthesis focused primarily on nitrate and on neonicotinoid pesticides in groundwater, beginning with numerous key data sources. The researcher will report to the project co-PIs and will also coordinate with Dr. Kenneth Bradbury, Director of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey (WGNHS) in Madison.  Dr. Bradbury will assist and mentor the researcher in gaining access to and navigating the Survey’s data sources, including unpublished and open-file sources. The WGNHS has also agreed to provide the researcher physical workspace in its offices, as allowed under COVID-19 restrictions and protocols. Principal duties include:

Collects data according to established specifications (approximately 50%)

1. Search and download data from public databases and other records


2. Review reports and publications related to groundwater quality in the project area and develop annotated bibliography summarizing findings.


3. Review land-use data, state, county, and local ordinances related to groundwater quality, and zoning ordinances for the project area.


4. Visit state, county, and local land-use officials to understand local groundwater quality issues.


Develop databases and GIS coverages (approximately 30%)

1. Organize data into appropriate databases and data layers


2. Develop and document map-based GIS coverages using Esri GIS software


3. Conduct simple statistical and spatial analyses to understand data patterns and spatial trends


4. Relate groundwater quality conditions and trends to previously mapped or modeled groundwater flow patterns and dynamics.


Reporting (approximately 15 %)

1. Working with the project PIs, prepare, edit, and assemble interim and final reports and document project findings.


2. Attend periodic meetings of a steering committee to report on project progress


Outreach (5%)

1. Work with PIs and outreach committee to plan periodic outreach events related to the project.


2. Participate in outreach activities.


3. Provide updates to the six-county groundwater organization

How to Apply

Submit the following materials to by the deadline.

  • Submit a cover letter, explaining your interest in and qualifications for this position
  • Submit a CV or resume
  • Submit the names and contact information for three potential references

Salary (full-time annual)


Percent Time


Start Date


Contact Name

Ken Bradbury

Contact Address


Contact Phone

(608) 263-7921

Contact Email


The Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey (WGNHS), a part of the University of Wisconsin–Extension, is an interdisciplinary organization that conducts natural resources surveys and research to produce information used for decision making, problem solving, planning, management, development, and education. 

The WGNHS is ideally located in Madison, Wisconsin. Madison is home to the State Capitol and University of Wisconsin-Madison, the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System. Surrounded by lakes, our bike-friendly college town is a vibrant hub of art, music, local foods, and outdoor activities. Our city consistently ranks as a top place to live, work, and play.

Find Us
3817 Mineral Point Rd
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