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Student Research Assistant Positions at CLF

Throughout each academic year, the Center for a Livable Future provides opportunities for a limited number of Johns Hopkins University undergraduate and graduate students to work with staff and faculty as Research Assistants (RA). The duration of work is subject to work priorities and funding and it may not last for an entire academic year. During the academic year, RAs typically work with the Center between 8 and 19 hours per week. The hours required for each position are specified in the descriptions below. CLF compensates RAs at a rate competitive with other JHU student positions.

Research Assistants are important members of our team. They are involved in challenging work assignments and receive helpful supervision and mentoring from staff members. Work responsibilities can involve a range of skills and expertise, including: conducting scientific literature reviews; data collection, performing data analysis; contributing to the development of scientific papers and synthesis documents; providing project assistance for the Center's activities; and developing communication materials to inform education, advocacy and policy activities. Performing administrative support activities is also part of a RA’s scope of work. Our RAs are encouraged to attend CLF-sponsored seminars and lectures that may be scheduled throughout the year.

There are four openings at the Center.

Consumer research: Survey data analysis and case study

Scope of work: The research assistant will support a project to understand waste of seafood among US consumers. Primary tasks will be to analyze consumer survey and diary data regarding their perspectives on purchasing, consumption, and waste of seafood; contribute to writing a manuscript; contribute to development of a qualitative case study project on consumer seafood waste. Duties will include, but will not be limited to analyzing survey and diary data; supporting project logistics; working with colleagues to design and implement case study project; and contributing to academic manuscript.

Skills required: Experience and/or training related to quantitative survey data analysis; qualitative data collection and analysis experience a plus; excellent written and oral communication skills; knowledge of food systems, public health, seafood, consumer behavior, and/or wasted food issues; high degree of professionalism and confidentiality; strong attention to detail and a recognition of the value of rigorous analysis and careful work; an independent worker who can also work effectively in a collaborative team-oriented environment.

Special requirements: Must have a computer.

Hours/Week: 19

Level of education: Master’s or PhD student

Salary range: Commensurate with educational level

Reducing Meat Consumption: A Systems Modeling Approach

Scope of work: The research assistant will assist with a project that aims to understand and model the factors and mechanisms of meat consumption in the United States to inform food policy, especially as it relates to Covid-19.  Primary tasks will be to develop a hybrid model and simulation tools that will combine discrete-event simulation, system dynamics and agent-based modeling. Duties will include, but will not be limited to reviewing literature, conducting statistical analysis of various public health datasets, and creating data visualizations. The research assistant will provide support in generating and running the simulation model.

Skills required: The ideal candidate is a PhD student; experience with modeling complex systems using Systems Dynamics simulation methods; ability to interpret and articulate modeling results; and ability to work independently and in teams.

Special requirements: Knowledge of Vensim, Anylogic, and Treeage. Experience working with Python.

Hours/Week: 19

Level of education: PhD student

Salary range: Commensurate with educational level

Covid and Agriculture in Maryland

Scope of work: The research assistant will assist with a qualitative analysis of the impacts of the Covid Stay-at-Home order on fruit and vegetable growers in Maryland. Primary tasks will include qualitative data cleaning (working with raw in-depth interview data), exploratory analyses with farm-level/demographic data, creation of tables and figures, and some writing. Other duties may include research and administrative duties as needed to assist with other FPPH urban agriculture projects or other CLF projects.

Skills required: The ideal candidate is a Master’s or PhD student; experience with qualitative research is strongly desired, especially with the NVivo software package; knowledge of food systems and public health; maintains a high degree of professionalism and confidentiality; strong attention to detail and recognizes the value of rigorous analysis and careful work; and is an independent worker who can also work effectively in a collaborative team-oriented environment.

Special requirements: Must have a computer

Hours/Week: 19

Level of education: Master’s or PhD student

Salary range: Commensurate with educational level

Immigration Reform, Farmworker Protections and Food System Change

Scope of work: The US. food production, processing and distribution system would not function without both immigrant and undocumented workers, and this fact is all the more important in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The research assistant will help to determine what federal and state-level protections already exist for these individuals, where there are gaps and how those gaps can be addressed through legislation and regulation. The research assistant will assist with research and writing to update the 2017 research report titled “Public Health, Immigration Reform, and Food System Change.” The tasks will involve working with all food system policy program staff and coalition partners to create a concise report that documents existing peer-reviewed literature that describes public health threats that farmworkers face — particularly migrant and seasonal work­ers — in the United States. Duties will include but not be limited to literature synthesis and policy research, and supporting other general research and writing requests related to policy program work.

Skills required: Strong writing skills and interest in federal and/or state immigration policy; strong qualitative research methods; excellent written and oral communication skills; knowledge of food systems, public health; high degree of professionalism and confidentiality; strong attention to detail and recognition of the value of rigorous analysis and careful work; an independent worker who can also work effectively in a collaborative team-oriented environment.

Special Requirements: Must have a computer

Hours/Week: 10

Level of education: Master’s or PhD student

Salary range: Commensurate with educational level


Applications for CLF student research assistants must be received by 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 19, 2020. Process and additional information will be provided to selected shortlisted applicants only o/a August 26, 2020.

Instructions for applying for a 2020-2021 CLF Student Research Assistant position
Please submit the following to clf@jhsph.edu:

  • Completed CLF RA Application Form
  • An updated CV or resume describing your work experience, academic background, specific skills and expertise.
  • Two or three references and contact information, to include both academic and work setting references.
  • A writing sample of a paper you have developed from start to finish and that involved a review of literature.
  • A cover-letter outlining the following:
    • why you are interested in working with CLF;
    • what you hope to gain through a CLF research assistant’s experience;
    • a brief description of what you see yourself doing in five years.