Postdoctoral Scholar: Youth Community Action and Science in Our Forests


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Job Description:

The Center for Community and Citizen Science (CCCS) seeks an accomplished science education researcher to join a collaborative team working on a large-scale National Science Foundation DRK12-funded research and development project. The Youth Community Action and Science in Our Forests (“Our Forests”) project is a partnership between the Center for Community and Citizen Science at UC Davis, the Sierra Streams Institute (SSI), and the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools (NCSoS). Together we are developing, implementing, and studying a field-based education program for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students and their teachers, who partner with local forest scientists, land managers and community organizations to study local forest health and fire risk in Nevada County, California. In addition to joining this project team, the Postdoctoral Scholar will be an important member of the growing community of faculty, staff, and students that make up the Center for Community and Citizen Science at UC Davis. They will have the opportunity to play a key role in shaping the education research activities of the Center into the future.

This is a full-time one-year (12-month) position with the possibility of renewal. Application review will be on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 

Position Expectations

The Postdoctoral Scholar will co-lead with the PI and current Postdoctoral Scholar mixed-methods, primarily qualitative, case-study research as well as some basic quantitative survey administration and analysis. This role includes research design, data collection on-site at elementary schools in Nevada County, data analysis, literature reviews, leading and supporting writing of peer-reviewed journal articles, coordinating and leading research-focused virtual and in-person meetings, and assisting SSI Project Staff in developing outreach and communication materials as defined in the proposal. This may also involve training and supervising data collection by research assistants from UCD, SSI staff, and partner teachers assisting with data collection. 

Importantly, because this is a researcher-practitioner partnership, the Postdoctoral scholar  will also collaborate with and support Project Staff at SSI and NCSoS in the development and delivery of the elementary teacher summer institute and monthly teacher meetings. The Postdoctoral Scholar will also lead the development of research products such as conference presentations and journal articles. Core responsibilities of this position are:

  • to co-lead design of all research components of the project, and to oversee the daily research activities of the project.
  • to adapt and refine observation, interview and survey instruments, building on those from the previous year, and conducting literature reviews as necessary to develop/update instruments;
  • to lead qualitative and quantitative data analysis of observational, interview and survey data collected at case study programs in field-based settings over for each year;
  • to lead and contribute to presentations at professional conferences about this project;
  • to lead author and co-author peer-reviewed journal articles in areas of science education, environmental education, learning sciences, and/or conservation;
  • to support the design, development and implementation of teacher summer institute and monthly teacher meetings with SSI collaborators. 
  • to assist SSI Project Staff in the continuing refinement of the Forest Investigation field day curricula
  • to mentor and supervise the research assistants as needed;
  • to assist with the planning and implementation of virtual and in-person Advisory Board meetings, and assist with writing annual NSF reports; and
  • to contribute to products useful to practitioners in collaboration with SSI. 

The primary worksite location is the Center for Community and Citizen Science, UC Davis with travel to Nevada County schools and the Sierra Streams Office in Nevada City. 

Required Qualifications, Knowledge & Skills

  • Ph.D. in education or environmental studies with a preferred focus on science education, environmental education, learning sciences, youth development, or related field.
  • Experience working with youth (ages 8-11 preferred but not required).
  • Experience with qualitative research methods including interview data collection and analysis, field and ethnographic observational data collection and analysis.
  • Experience with data management for large projects.
  • Ability to write independently and collaboratively on deadline, and documented evidence of scholarly publications.
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills, and preferably some project management experience.

Preferred Qualifications, Knowledge & Skills

  • Experience with community and citizen science (research and/or practice)
  • Knowledge of social learning theories and issues in education (formal or informal settings)
  • Experience with Dedoose or other qualitative data analysis software 
  • Demonstrated capacity to lead a social science research team in highly collaborative research
  • Demonstrated ability to mediate and facilitate a process involving multiple stakeholders with diverse interests 

How to Apply:

Send a CV and cover letter to with subject line Our Forests Postdoc. Application review will be on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

Job Compensation:


Contact Name:

Heidi Ballard

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