Research Assistant I - Full-time (Soil Ecology)
Lisle, IL
Full Time

The Morton Arboretum is a world-renowned nonprofit dedicated to protecting and growing trees locally and globally. We are seeking a research assistant with soil ecology expertise to support basic and applied research on plant traits and soil functions, oak ecosystem restoration, and urban soil reclamation. Research Assistants at The Morton Arboretum are involved in all aspects of research: designing studies, planning and executing laboratory and field work, maintaining and using variety of scientific instruments, lab management, testing protocols, training volunteers, organizing data, performing analysis, reading scientific literature, interpreting results, and editing manuscripts. You’ll be part of an incredible team working together to make the Arboretum exceptional.

Position Summary:
Assist in laboratory and field operations for the Soil Ecology Lab in the Center for Tree Science, a global hub of research and expertise focused entirely on trees. Work with a team to translate fundamental understanding of plant-soil interactions into effective techniques for restoring and managing natural and urban ecosystems. Participate in research projects by performing the assigned tasks and duties.

Essential Functions: 

  • Assist in coordinating research activities in the laboratory and/or field in order to meet assigned research goals. Consult with research supervisor in order to assist in planning and implementing scientific studies. 

  • Perform assigned research activities. Record and analyze results in order to provide clear, well-documented data for research projects. 

  • Maintain materials, equipment, methods, and records of research procedures, including evaluations of data accumulated.

  • Compile and summarize results for reports, manuscripts and articles for publication. May present and communicate findings to internal and external professional and academic peers.

  • Research literature in order to maintain a current knowledge of laboratory research methods and terminology.

  • Provide guidance to seasonal employees, students, and volunteers, and communicate with external collaborators.

  • Ensure safety and cleanliness of assigned laboratory and research sites. 

  • Operate, calibrate, and maintain laboratory/field instruments and equipment in order to ensure proper functioning, accuracy, and compliance with written specifications. 

  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications:  Bachelor’s degree required in the specific field of research or related science field. 1+ years of related work experience preferred. Experience with standard field/laboratory procedures and safety requirements, in addition to experience performing analytical and research techniques in an area related to research being performed required. May require software experience specific to the area of research. May be required to possess a valid driver’s license, which is subject to insurability and an annual Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) report. Proficiency with Microsoft Office and Google applications beneficial.

Success Factors:  Ability and willingness to work independently in laboratory and field environments. Good written and oral communication skills. Clear thought, visual acuity, and manual dexterity needed. Ability to embrace and operate in line with our employee core values to take ownership, work together, keep learning and make the Arboretum exceptional.

Physical Demands and Work Environment: The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

  • Physical Demands: Requires physical activity: walking over varied terrain, bending, limited lifting and carrying (up to 50 lbs. assisted). Use of chemicals may be necessary. Some travel required. 

  • Work Environment: Office environment, Arboretum grounds, and off-site locations. Work is performed indoors and outdoors, in a variety of weather conditions.

  • Equipment: General office equipment, field and laboratory equipment, including specialized equipment relating to particular field of research, hand and power tools, Arboretum pick-up truck and/or utility vehicle.

  • Schedule: Work may require occasional evenings and weekends.

For full consideration, please include cover letter and CV with application.

The Morton Arboretum is a champion of diversity, supporting a culture of inclusion that attracts, inspires, and engages people to achieve success.  The Arboretum is committed to hire and develop employees based on job-related qualifications irrespective of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or veteran status.  To increase diversity in professions related to the public garden realm, we encourage applications from underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans.  

The Morton Arboretum is dedicated to complying with our obligations as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All applicants are guaranteed equal consideration for employment. 

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