Local recruitment: Masters Intern – Fisheries Hydropower

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Richland, WA, USA 🇺🇸

Job Description


PNNL’s Earth System Science Division enables energy independence and national security through leadership in earth systems science, engineering, and decision analytics. Our work focuses on solving complex problems in the dynamic Earth system. Our interdisciplinary scientists steward a breadth of efforts that encompass research on plants to groundwater science and coastal zones, to storm prediction.

Our research focuses on understanding and mitigating operational risks at the interface of human and natural environments. This includes predicting the impacts of natural hazards and extreme climate events on Earth and human systems, along with the impacts of wildfire, flooding, sea level rise and storm surges. We focus on understanding and mitigating environmental contamination and increasing the resiliency, security and sustainability of water resources. We provide geointelligence through advanced sensing and data analytics to forecast complex system behaviors and operational performance to understand human-natural systems. This includes informed decision making and enhanced community resilience, advanced monitoring, and remote sensing of environmental systems for energy and national security. It also includes developing energy systems, including geothermal energy, sustainable oil and gas production, storage and utilization, along with carbon sequestration.

Driven by a “science-to-solutions” philosophy, we provide scientific leadership and technology to enhance national security, mitigate natural hazards and optimize disaster response. In the critical areas of energy, environment, intelligence, and defense, we deliver insights and decision support through the development of tools and solutions.

The Earth Systems Science Division (ESSD) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is seeking a Post-Masters Research Associate to join our Operational Systems Engineering (OSE) Group.  This represents a fantastic opportunity to be a key contributor to an internationally recognized research group that is pushing the envelope in operational systems ranging from hydropower and ecological systems to clean, renewalble energy systems.  

Assist with research on (1) effects of hydropower operations on survival of juvenile and adult salmon through the White, Columbia, Snake, and Willamette River hydropower systems, (2) general development of acoustic and radio telemetry techniques and data analyses to determine behavior and survival of salmonids, and (3) investigations on the physiology of fish as it relates to recovery of ESA listed salmonids in the Pacific Northwest. Project responsibilities may include fieldwork, collecting and documenting habitat of fish, handling fish, and contributing to a team effort to conduct large fish passage and survival studies at White, Columbia, Snake, and Willamette River dams. These studies involve deploying, retrieving, maintaining, and testing acoustic telemetry and radio telemetry equipment, assisting with surgical implantation of transmitters in fish, and post-surgery holding, transport, and release of live tagged fish according to a detailed time schedule.

Studies also include the evaluation of the physiological effects of dam passage. Team members will help collect, process, and analyze acoustic and radio tag detection data and physiological data, and assist with writing technical reports. The successful candidate may also assist with laboratory studies handling fish, conducting in-depth necropsies, and maintaining fish populations and aquaculture facilities.

An ideal candidate will have a demonstrated commitment to data quality and accuracy, strong written and oral communication skills as evidenced by scientific publications and conference presentations and be able to work independently and in a team setting. Candidates will also demonstrate:

  • Strong written and presentation skills for diverse audiences
  • Understanding of energy and natural resource issues
  • Excellent organizational skills


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Candidates must be matriculated/enrolled in a Master’s program at an accredited college or university. 
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 is required.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in fisheries, environmental sciences, or a biology-related field and within the last two years graduated with a master’s degree in a similar discipline.
  • Knowledge or telemetry study design and array maintenance is desirable.
  • Other desirable experience includes physiological responses of fish to stress, handling fish, and managing and analyzing data (MS Excel, R Programming, SigmaPlot, etc.).
  • Desirable characteristics include attention to detail, the ability to work both independently and as a member of a team, possession of a strong work ethic, and a willingness to work many extra hours when warranted.

Hazardous Working Conditions/Environment

Long hours, inclement weather, industrial hydroelectric projects, work on water, and heavy lifting.
Additional Information

Extensive travel may be required of this position.

Due to business needs and client space, US Citizenship is required.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is subject to the Department of Energy Unclassified Foreign Visits & Assignments Program site, information, technologies, and equipment access requirements.
Testing Designated Position

Not Applicable.
About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a world-class research institution powered by a highly educated, diverse workforce committed to the values of Integrity, Creativity, Collaboration, Impact, and Courage. Every year, scores of dynamic, driven people come to PNNL to work with renowned researchers on meaningful science, innovations and outcomes for the U.S. Department of Energy and other sponsors; here is your chance to be one of them!

At PNNL, you will find an exciting research environment and excellent benefits including health insurance, flexible work schedules and telework options. PNNL is located in eastern Washington State—the dry side of Washington known for its stellar outdoor recreation and affordable cost of living. The Lab’s campus is only a 45-minute flight (or ~3 hour drive) from Seattle or Portland, and is serviced by the convenient PSC airport, connected to 8 major hubs.
Commitment to Excellence, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Equal Employment Opportunity

Our laboratory is committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment dedicated to solving critical challenges in fundamental sciences, national security, and energy resiliency. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. In support of this commitment, we encourage people of all racial/ethnic identities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities to apply for employment.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory considers all applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), protected veteran status, and any other status or characteristic protected by federal, state, and/or local laws.

We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application procedures and in employment. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, contact us at careers@pnnl.gov.
Drug Free Workplace

PNNL is committed to a drug-free workplace supported by Workplace Substance Abuse Program (WSAP) and complies with federal laws prohibiting the possession and use of illegal drugs.
Mandatory Requirements

Battelle requires employees to have a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment, subject to accommodation.  Applicants are required to disclose their vaccination status following a conditional offer of employment and must attest to being fully vaccinated with a Center for Disease Control (CDC)-approved COVID-19 vaccination, or provide documentation of need for medical or religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from having any affiliation with the foreign government of a country DOE has identified as a “country of risk” without explicit approval by DOE and Battelle. If you are offered a position at PNNL and currently have any affiliation with the government of one of these countries you will be required to disclose this information and recuse yourself of that affiliation or receive approval from DOE and Battelle prior to your first day of employment.
Rockstar Rewards

Regular Hourly:

Employees are offered an employee assistance program and business travel insurance. Employees are eligible for the company funded pension plan and 401k savings plan, once eligibility requirements are met.

Temporary Hourly:

Employees are offered an employee assistance program and business travel insurance.




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