A graduate research assistantship is available in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University, starting in August of 2022. The successful applicant will work with Dr. Elizabeth (Bess) Perry, and progress toward a MS or PhD in Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas Management or Community Sustainability.

The position is focused on a project with the Indiana Dept of Natural Resources – Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to understand which visitor monitoring technique combinations are the most accurate and least costly to estimate recreation use among the Department’s 23 Fish & Wildlife Areas. They range from higher use areas near urban centers in the northwest to lower use areas across the state’s rural landscape and collectively support a variety of four-season outdoor recreation activities. This study will assist managers in understanding the spatial-temporal variety and distribution of those activities, recreationists’ perceptions, and efficient/effective methods to inform sustainable management approaches. The graduate research assistant will support Dr. Perry and the co-PIs, Drs. Emily Huff and Raju Pokharel, on study aspects from implementation through reporting. This work includes leading field data collection efforts and equipment monitoring throughout the seasons as well as remote data collection and descriptive, statistical, and spatial analyses.

The graduate research assistantship includes a stipend and tuition waiver for up to 24 months, dependent on progress. Funding for additional years on other projects may be available for a PhD student initially funded on this work. Beyond taking leadership in the primary project described above, the successful applicant will have opportunity to engage with efforts and team members in Dr. Perry’s lab, including work with regional park systems’ climate action planning, Michigan state game areas’ recreation use assessments, national park visitor use assessments, trail sustainability and community impacts inquiries, and more.

Interested applicants should contact Dr. Perry ([email protected]) with their CV and a brief email stating their interests, skills, and goals. Potential applicants are advised to consult the graduate admissions process/requirements, though strongly encouraged to contact Dr. Perry in advance of submitting an application. Priority will be given to applicants with related skills / interests / goals who are also able to submit a complete application package (e.g., GRE scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation) shortly.