School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences – Research Associate (NN22255)

Position Overview

Organization: College of the Environment, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

Title : Research Associate

Search Number : NN22255

Position Details

The Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) in the College of the Environment at the University of Washington is looking for a Postdoctoral Research Associate (job code 0148) with expertise in educational research. This is a 12-month, full-time (100% FTE) appointment, starting in Winter 2017 and renewable for a second year, subject to approval, satisfactory performance, and availability of funding. This position will be located on the main campus in Seattle, in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. COASST is a 17-year-old citizen science project primarily focused on beachcast marine birds as indicators of changes in, and forcing of, coastal ocean ecosystems in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. Starting from a program of 12 participants on the south coast of Washington in 1999, COASST has grown to ~850 participants collecting data on more than 500 beaches. Current participation includes ages 7 to 93; students to park rangers to homemakers to teachers to community organizers; novice-to-master birders; tribal elders and three-generation families to recent arrivals; urbanites to residents of remote villages.  Survey sites range from Mendocino, CA to Kotzebue, AK and west through the Aleutian Islands. This grain and extent makes COASST the largest beached bird program in the world. In the last two years, COASST has also developed and implemented a small and growing marine debris data collection program. COASST data include a rich, high quality data set derived from participant data collection, which is used in a wide range of science and natural resource management. This dataset also includes individual participant self-assessment of expertise, accuracy (as assessed by independent verification), and effort (surveys per unit time), as well as a range of demographic information. Together with collaborators at Oregon State University and Conservation International, COASST has received an NSF grant to examine recruitment to, and retention in, rigorous citizen science programs, using COASST as a model. We are situating our study within frameworks of Activity Theory, and Community of Practice. As part of this effort, extensive survey data have been collected from both seasoned (more than one year of participation) and novice (just signed up for a training) participants. Additional data sources include an intensive journaling project, and focus groups. Archived data include previous surveys allowing population-level and individual tracking of participant responses over time. Essential Qualifications: PhD or foreign equivalent in a relevant field prior to the proposed start date.  Access to reliable transportation to locations across the state. Desirable Qualifications: The ideal candidate for this position has experience with qualitative data types (open and closed ended survey answers; transcripts of focus groups and interviews, and observational field notes), has performed and refined qualitative coding using appropriate software (e.g., NVivo, Dedoose), and has expertise in a range of qualitative and quantitative (multi-variate) analysis of categorical, ranked, and numeric data (e.g., CCA, NMDS, machine learning). In addition, candidates with demonstrated experience in peer-reviewed publication in education, citizen science and/or natural science journals are highly desirable, as a central responsibility of this position is creative analysis of these large datasets in order to move citizen science, and more broadly informal science education, forward. Finally, we are looking for an independent person who can leap into analytical work, be self-directed, and who is also willing to be an interactive member of the team of faculty, postdocs, staff and students who collectively comprise COASST.  The position will require regular travel to meet with collaborators, conduct participant interviews, and observe COASST trainings, refreshers and other events. The University of Washington, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, and COASST promote diversity and inclusivity among our students, faculty, staff, and public. Thus, we are strongly seeking candidates whose experiences have prepared them to fulfill our commitment to inclusion and have given them the confidence to fully engage audiences from a wide spectrum of backgrounds. The University of Washington (UW) is located in the greater Seattle metropolitan area, with a dynamic, multicultural community of 3.7 million people and a range of ecosystems from mountains to ocean. The UW serves a diverse population of 80,000 students, faculty and staff, including 25% first-generation college students, over 25% Pell Grant students, and faculty from over 70 countries. The UW is a recipient of a National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Award to increase the advancement of women faculty in science, engineering, and math (see

All University of Washington faculty engage in teaching, research and service.

Application Instructions

Interested individuals can find out more about COASST by visiting our website (, and/or by contacting Julia Parrish, COASST Executive Director and Professor at the University of Washington ( For questions about this position, including potential disability accommodations, please contact Katie Effert, ( apply, please submit electronically to Julia Parrish ( the following: (1) A letter of interest detailing your skills and experience that would serve you well in this position, and how these would add substantively to the social science and educational research part of our group. Please tell us why you want this job, and why we want to interview you!  (2) A curriculum vitae, which includes a publication list.  (3) A statement of scholarly work outlining your short-term and longer-term career goals.  (4) The names and contact information for three references.   Priority review of applications will begin on 20 January 2017 and proceed until a candidate is recruited.

University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.