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NM Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI) Graduate Student Assistant - Comm

New Mexico State University Water Science & Management Program
3170 South Espina Street, Las Cruces, New Mexico 88001
Job salary will range from $26,252 - $27,467 annually at 20/hours per week.
Closing date
Apr 1, 2023

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Hydrology, GeoHealth
Career Level
Student / Graduate
Education Level
Job Type
Relocation Cost
No Relocation
Sector Type

Job Details

Submit the application directly to the handshake system. If the candidate is not a NMSU student, they would need to also apply for graduate school: More information about NM WRRI can be found at:, and the NMSU Water Science and Management Graduate Program at Dr. Sam Fernald can be contacted directly at about the Water Science and Management Graduate Program.

This assistantship will focus on systems science analysis in collaboration with agricultural communities, available starting in the summer or Fall 2023 semester covering tuition at New Mexico State University, funded through the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI). The position is an exciting opportunity to be part of a transdisciplinary group, involving collaboration between stakeholders and scientists, that is seeking innovative solutions to long-standing and pressing dryland agricultural and water management questions. The position is for related grant projects funded by USDA, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the New Mexico Environment Department. The projects’ goals focus on collaboration with regional agricultural communities to identify pathways to agricultural and water resilience in the face of current challenges, particularly climate change. The projects cover three main regions of New Mexico that include traditional agricultural communities of acequias and tribes and pueblos and larger irrigation districts. Each position would focus on one particular region. A central question in these projects is what watershed-scale strategies can optimize water supply and demand while achieving resilience of both the water and agricultural systems, as defined collaboratively with the communities. The research, fieldwork, and systems science modeling use an integrative approach between the social and the natural systems. This systems science analysis position has different objectives, which include: 1) assessing the water balance implications of the water use of extreme drought-tolerant crops, 2) the effects of riparian restoration on downstream creek flows that supply water for a small acequia community, and 3) the ability for watershed restoration to mitigate downstream flooding.

Job Duties and Responsibilities :

  • The creation and collaborative development of regional system dynamics models with the goal of working towards assuming responsibility for the regional model. This will involve the collection of data on the natural and social systems, in particular hydrologic, watershed characteristics, and socio-economic data.
  • Collaborative work with community members in which the student will collaboratively conduct and handle the collection, analysis, and synthesis of the data from interviews or focus groups with agricultural stakeholders in a region of New Mexico.
  • Research and synthesis of the analysis of the field findings by the student to help develop visualization tools to assist community members and other team members in understanding the analysis.
  • Publish results in peer-reviewed academic journals and develop materials for reports and presentations to provide the results to project partners and stakeholders.
  • Synthesize research and work on community-based planning projects to inform future land and water management.
  • The candidate will work closely with team leaders, and all will report to Dr. Fernald.

Requirements and Preferred Qualifications:

  • Successful candidates will have a strong academic record in one or more of the following fields: system science, system dynamics modeling, hydrology, ecology, biology, environmental science, or a similar natural resource-related field
  • Ability to effectively collaborate and work independently.
  • Preference will be given to applicants with system dynamics and water modeling experience, who have an interest in addressing stakeholder issues, experience with interview data collection, previous field research experience, and an enthusiasm for working with people.
  • Candidate must have a valid driver’s license or the ability to obtain a license within six months of hire, the ability to lift 40 lbs and carry heavy equipment. 

Hours per week:

  • 20 hours

When applying for the position, please include in the cover letter: 1) your general research and career goals and 2) if you are interested in obtaining a MS or PhD. Note that interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis until position is filled.

NMSU is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities, and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply.


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