Careers at Virginia Tech

Postdoctoral Associate

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Work type: Research Faculty
Senior management: Natural Resources
Department: Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Location: Blacksburg, Virginia
Categories: Research / Scientific, Natural Resources

Job Description

A postdoctoral associate with a passion for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in conservation and/or life science to conduct research to inform how three ornithological societies can facilitate culture change in ornithology. The postdoctoral associate will be mentored by Dr. Dayer (conservation social scientist) at Virginia Tech and be part of her dynamic lab, collaborate closely with PI Dr. Shizuka at University of Nebraska - Lincoln, as well as part of a project team of ornithologists passionate about fostering DEIB. Virginia Tech values diversity and continually strives to maintain and promote an inclusive learning and research environment that embrace all students, faculty, and staff. We are particularly interested in applications from persons identifying with groups currently underrepresented in natural resources fields, including but not limited to Black, Indigenous, people of color, people with disabilities, and underrepresented genders and sexual identities. This would include cis women, trans women, trans men, non-binary people, and those who are otherwise marginalized.

The project is a two-year project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Leading Cultural Change Through Professional Societies of Biology (BIO-LEAPS). We are working with American Ornithology Society, Wilson Ornithological Society, and Association for Field Ornithologists. Through social science research and a transformative resilience framework, the project will design a process for co-creating cross-society affinity groups (identity-based groups created by and for members from historically excluded communities). Methods will include surveys of ornithological society members (quantitative) and focus groups and interactive workshops (qualitative) to develop a plan for a future implementation phase of the project. The ultimate goal is to transform ornithology into an inclusive discipline that leverages the talents of the diverse communities of learners, scientists, and practitioners to solve urgent problems in ecology, conservation, and environmental justice.

The postdoctoral associate will: 1) Coordinate project logistics; 2) Design and implement membership surveys of 3 ornithological societies to assess diversity and determine interest in affinity groups; 3) Focus group with an existing ornithological society affinity groups; 4) Work with the PI and Co-PI to develop and implement workshops to co-design affinity groups; 5) Lead the writing of an evidence-based plan to be presented for community feedback at the North American Ornithological Conference in 2025; 6) Mentor undergraduate student interns; 7) Publish peer-reviewed articles; 8) Communicate results at conferences and webinars; 9) Be an active member of the Dayer Lab and a growing post-doc community in the Global Change Center; and 10) Be mentored to gain diverse and marketable skills (e.g., grant-writing, student mentoring) following a Postdoc Mentoring Plan.

Required Qualifications

- Ph.D. in conservation social science, natural resources, multi-cultural studies or other field related to the project. PhD must be awarded no more than three years prior to the effective date of appointment with a minimum of two years eligibility remaining.
- Knowledge of social science (e.g., psychology, sociology) concepts, principles, and qualitative and quantitative methods sufficient to contribute to project design, data collection, and data analysis.
- Demonstrated skills in collaborating with others on teams to accomplish shared objectives.
- Research experience related to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and/or justice.
- Excellent communication skills and organizational skills.

Preferred Qualifications

- Experience in project coordination and management of complex projects involving multiple stakeholders, researchers and/or partners.
- Experience with workshop or focus group facilitation.
- Experience communicating scientific results and methods to conservation professionals.
- Experience mentoring students or interns.
- Expertise in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging program design
- Familiarity with science co-production approaches.
- Experience with ornithological or ecological societies


Appointment Type


Salary Information

Salary Range of $50,000-$56,000

Review Date


Additional Information

The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Jennifer Phillips at during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

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