Land-Grant Programs Research & Extension Assistant

POSITION TITLE: Land-Grant Programs Research & Extension Assistant


REPORTS TO: Melanie Kirby, Extension Educator  

STATUS: Regular, Full-Time



About the Roger Arliner Young Fellowship

In an effort to make the conservation and clean energy fields more equitable and accessible, the Roger Arliner Young (RAY)Fellowship Program aims to increase and facilitate environmentally-related career pathways for emerging leaders of color. The RAY Fellowship Program is a paid fellowship designed to equip recent college graduates with the tools, experiences, support, and community they need to become leaders in the conservation and clean energy sectors—one that, in our visions of the future, fully represents, includes, and is led by the diverse communities, perspectives, and experiences of the United States.


About Institute for American Indian Arts:

Mission: The mission of the Institute of American Indian Arts is “to empower creativity and leadership in Indigenous arts and cultures through higher education, lifelong learning, and community engagement.” This mission is more than a statement. It is the driving force behind all that we do and the guiding principle for our dedicated faculty and staff.

Values: Strong values make IAIA a place where creativity and scholarship flourish. Our community promotes well-being for ourselves, each other, and our environment, recognizing that good health and contentment are crucial to success. Our most revered values are:

  • Collaboration: Working together for student success
  • Excellence: Upholding high standards for students, faculty, and staff
  • Creativity: Encouraging bold expression in art and life
  • Respect: Fostering the appreciation of cultures, perspectives, and identities through diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility
  • Integrity: Expecting and honoring reciprocity, accountability, honesty, and responsibility to ourselves, our community, and our world
  • Leadership: Cultivating leaders in Indigenous arts, cultures, and communities
  • Stewardship: Taking care of IAIA’s material and human resources
  • Sustainability: Protecting the earth and our environment




The Land-Grant Programs Research & Extension Assistant will report to the Land-Grant Programs, Extension Educator and is responsible for delivering an integrated set of research and outreach support services through a holistic and culturally relevant approach, focused on agriculture and land stewardship research and educational programs. Working in collaboration with the Land-Grant Programs Department, the incumbent will provide research support and services in the following project areas:

  • Pollinator Stewardship course assistant and serve as the lead for programs at multiple points throughout the year.
  • Assisting Extension Educator with a Grasslands and Pollinator research project to include developing a pollinator atlas, documenting diverse grass and animal species, and working with departmental staff and students to develop a pollinator stewardship and habitat building guide for Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU’s) as part of a cooperative agreement with the USDA-Office of Tribal Relations.
  • Assisting Land-Grant Department with various outreach programming and events, including student and visitor instruction in Indigenous foodways, apiculture, forestry, conservation, and restoration efforts on campus and in neighboring tribal communities.
  • Assisting in collecting data and documentation of culturally relevant foods and crops, pollinator forage and plants for nutritional analysis with USDA-ARS collaborators.
  • Contribute to all other Land-Grant Programs related extension and outreach efforts when and where required. The fellow must be willing to learn more about Indigenous perspectives from our students who are from over 90 different tribes, work with various institutional departments on community engagement outreach opportunities, some light travel with program staff to provide educational exhibits, presentations, and workshops on various topics, including Indigenous Youth Agriculture, train- the-trainer events, and helping to organize events with visiting agencies, organizations, and Indigenous scholars.



In addition to the responsibilities at the host institution outlined above, RAY Fellows will spend, on average, 2-4 hours per week (5-10% of work time) on the following:

  • Actively communicating and building community with their RAY Fellow cohort and previous RAY Fellows. 
  • Meeting regularly with mentors both inside and outside the host institution. 
  • Attending monthly professional development webinars, trainings, and other opportunities to build knowledge and skills as scheduled.
  • Developing a Personal Leadership Plan (PLP) in their 2nd year with the support of supervisor(s), mentors, RAY program staff, and their RAY Fellow cohort. The PLP will serve as a tool for self-reflection, planning, and assessing progress towards professional, personal, and leadership goals.
  • Preparing and leading an hour-long end-of-fellowship webinar highlighting their Fellowship experience.

RAY Fellows will also attend:

  • A 3-day Orientation Retreat in late Summer 2024.
  • A 3-day Mid-Fellowship Leadership Retreat in Fall 2025.



Eligible RAY Fellow applicants will:

  • Come from a racial/ethnic background underrepresented in conservation and clean energy and demonstrate a commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Be no more than 3 years out of college and have a Bachelor's Degree by July 2024 (we are not considering individuals with graduate degrees at this time).
  • Have not had a full-time job in conservation or clean energy.
  • Have the ability to work in the United States and commit to the entire fellowship.



  • Effectively, plan, organize, and lead field research data collection on campus.
  • Coordinate with Land-Grant Programs Department, on project-based objectives and their timely completion.
  • Assist with the development, organization, implementation, and scheduling of campus pollinator and culturally relevant food research and documentation including selecting monitoring sites on campus, creating spreadsheets, Gantt charts, selection of priority species, and FAQ sheets on plant and pollinator species.
  • Contribute in a highly collaborative manner to all Land-Grant Programs related outreach development, implementation, and assessment.
  • Monitors research design and implementation to make timely suggestions an corrections for solid data collection, documentation, and data security.
  • Perform other duties as assigned/required.


Requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as Biology, Forestry, Conservation Management, Environmental Science, Ecology, Agriculture, Science Communication, etc.


  • Ability to co-lead, motivate and manage research and outreach services and resources.
  • Ability to develop a systematic approach for meeting the daily needs of project objectives.
  • Ability to organize and maintain systematic files for programs and support services provided.
  • Ability to prioritize assignments to ensure they are completed in a timely manner.
  • Ability to work effectively and efficiently without close supervision.
  • Ability to be a self-starter and highly self-motivated to improve programs and processes.
  • Ability to plan, organize, and facilitate Land-Grant Programs and/or campus-wide events.
  • Ability to respond to requests in a timely manner.
  • Ability to function effectively and efficiently as part of a team.
  • Demonstrated experience working in a deadline-driven environment.
  • Must have exceptional and courteous interpersonal skills, which foster a collaborative, safe and engaging learning environment.
  • Must have excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Must have proficient knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, email, and the internet.
  • Must have demonstrated knowledge of general office procedures and general office equipment.
  • Must adhere to appropriate professional standards of conduct and ethics, including confidentiality, integrity, and honesty.
  • Ability to comply with management directives and adapt to a changing work environment.
  • Ability to cooperate with a wide range of audiences, which always includes demonstration of mutual respect with others.
  • Participate in meetings and committees as required.
  • Extensive interpersonal interactions with a wide range of individuals in a leadership and team organizing role.
  • Occasional out-of-town travel for meetings or conferences.
  • May sit at a desk for extended periods of time. May spend significant periods outdoors as part of research and documentation tasks in varying weather conditions.
  • Ability to reach for, grasp and extend hand or arm in any direction as part of completing essential clerical tasks.
  • Ability to effectively utilize a keyboard/computer for extended periods of time.
  • Ability to receive, interpret and respond to information communicated in various forms (verbal, written, etc.).


This is a two-year, full-time fellowship starting on or after July 15, 2024.



The Fellowship is compensated and sponsored by IAIA who offers a competitive benefits package as well as training and professional development opportunities. The salary for this position is $49,000.



  • This description is a general statement of required major duties and responsibilities performed regularly or continuously.
  • There may be other duties as assigned.
  • Management has the authority to change/augment/revise the function and duties of this position, with or without notice.
  • This job description does not constitute an employment agreement.



To apply for the RAY Fellowship Program, applicants must:


  1. Complete the online application survey on the RAY Fellowship Program website: Apply here
  2. Follow the instructions on the linked application webpage to submit a resume or curriculum vitae, one essay response, one visioning response, one short answer response, and a letter of support. 


Applications must be submitted to the RAY Fellowship Program no later than April 5, 2024. Transcripts and additional writing samples are not required. 


If you have questions please see our FAQ page and any further questions about the application process can be submitted to