SUNY ESF is seeking a team of five qualified students to serve as Graduate Assistants to support our USDA Climate Smart Commodities’ “NYS Connects: Climate Smart Farms and Forests” project – a collaborative partnership with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, Cornell’s College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, Syracuse University, and others.

This project utilizes a transdisciplinary research approach that builds on strong existing partnerships in the forestry, agriculture, renewable energy and conservation communities in NY state.

Our portion of this project will fund and support the implementation of multiple climate smart practices in forests and related systems, utilize modern tools to quantify results of those practices, use the data to improve state programs that support climate smart practices, and build connections between landowners, companies, and consumers to increase demand for climate smart commodities.

We seek PhD students beginning in fall 2023 to serve as Research Assistants to assist with a project that will help NYS state reach its ambitious climate change targets. All graduate assistantships require 20 hours of work on the project per week.

Research Interests: Our mentor-based PhD programs enable students to develop individualized programs of study. We seek graduate students with thesis or dissertation research interests in:

  1. Effectiveness and impacts of afforestation, reforestation, and rapid afforestation using shrub willow (primarily responsibility: Drs. Volk, Beier)
  2. Techno-economic analysis (TEA) of biofuels and bioproducts production systems and integration with life cycle assessments (Drs. Brown, Volk, Kumar, Malmsheimer, Therasme)
  3. Environmental life cycle assessment of biofuels and bioproducts and integration with TEA analyses (Drs. Therasme, Kumar, Volk, Brown)
  4. Management practices that increase the carbon sequestration and storage potential of forests – particularly in historically marginalized communities (Drs. Vander Yacht, Beier, Volk, Malmsheimer)
  5. Visualizations of climate smart practices and products (Drs. Ackermann and Malmsheimer)

    Students interested in #1-#4 (above) should enroll in the:

    1. Department of Sustainable Resource Management’s (

    a. Sustainable Energy PhD program (, or

    b. Forest Resources Management PhD program (,

2. Graduate Program in Environmental Science (GPES) Climate and Energy PhD program (

Students interested in #5 (above) should enroll in the GPES Climate and Energy PhD program (


Admission and assistantships are competitive. Students interested in a PhD must have (1) a record of publishing, and (2) masters (or equivalent degree) in environmental studies, environmental science, economics, finance, forestry, natural resources management, environmental/mechanical/chemical engineering, or a related field. Applicants should have superior grade point averages, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, and excellent references.

Benefits: Research Assistants receive a stipend, tuition waiver, summer salary, and the opportunity to purchase discounted health insurance. Assistantships are for one year, with up to four additional years available upon satisfactory review after the first year.

Application Procedures: Interested students must apply for admission to SRM’s or GPES’s PhD degrees (  Note: Please disregard the January 15 application deadline on this page. It does not apply to these assistantships. Since our students work closely with faculty, we encourage interested students to (1) reach out to professors involved in the project, and (2) review the webpages of the professors involved in the program:

Due Date: For optimal consideration for assistantships, all application materials must be received as soon as possible.  Last Date to Apply: 05/15/2023

Contact Person: Andy Vander Yacht; Contact eMail:

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