Master of Science (M.S.) Research Assistantship on Social Dimensions of Aquaculture Production in the Great Lakes Region

We are recruiting an MS student to study the social dimensions of aquaculture production in the Great Lakes region as part of a large, interdisciplinary research and extension project. The goal of the project is to understand the barriers to increasing aquaculture production throughout the Great Lakes region. The student will be advised by Dr. Stuart Carlton, housed in the Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, and will work closely with the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) aquaculture team.

The student is expected to start in the fall semester of 2020, though it may be possible to start in the late summer of 2020. Applications are due on January 15, 2020.

This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in the social dimensions of aquaculture or other natural resources, who wants to expand their career options in science, resource management and/or extension.

Inclusion and Ethics

At IISG, we strive to be an inclusive organization, and we strongly encourage women, minorities and people from traditionally underrepresented groups to apply. For more on our commitment to inclusion, please see our values statement. In addition, the Carlton Lab is guided by the World Economic Forum Code of Ethics for Researchers (background at “A code of ethics to get scientists talking” and “About the Code“).

What will the student do?

  • Travel throughout the Midwest to conduct in-person interviews with aquaculture producers to understand their perceptions about fish farming as an industry and their trust in and use of different information sources
  • Perform a social network analysis on a subset of aquaculture producers to understand how information flows through the system
  • Communicate research findings to key stakeholders to help improve aquaculture outreach and extension in the Great Lakes region
  • Work as part of the larger project team on other research and outreach tasks as needed

What will the student gain?

  • A world-class education from Purdue’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
  • Hands-on research experience in cognitive interviewing and social network analysis
  • Exposure to other quantitative and qualitative social science research methods
  • A chance to improve science communication skills by working with the award-winning IISG Communication team to share their findings with relevant stakeholders
  • A chance to interact with aquaculture stakeholders and Sea Grant staff throughout the Great Lakes region
  • A two-year assistantship including a salary of $20,920 per year, a tuition waiver, and health insurance

Minimum Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree with a major or minor from a relevant science or social science discipline OR a bachelor’s degree with significant relevant experience
  • GPA 3.2 or equivalent
  • Good communication and writing skills
  • A strong interest in collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving
  • Ability and willingness to work in team settings and independently

Preferred Qualifications

  • Familiarity with aquaculture
  • Experience interacting with stakeholders and communicating science
  • Experience with social science research methods, potentially including interviews, surveys, or other methods


Before applying, please contact Stuart Carlton directly to discuss your research interests, academic and related work experience, and career goals. To apply, submit an electronic application. Review of applications will begin on January 16, 2020 and the position will be open until filled. Purdue University is an equal opportunity affirmative action employer.

More Information

Contact Stuart Carlton, Assistant Director, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University (email:; phone: 765-494-3726).

Please also visit the websites of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant for more information.

PDF of Research Assistantship Announcement

Location Details

West Lafayette-Lafayette, Indiana is a metro area of over 174,000 people centrally located between Indianapolis, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois. It is an easy place to live with a high quality of life, good schools, safe neighborhoods, and excellent public facilities and amenities, including over 40 parks and extensive trail systems. We are home to three farmers markets from May to October, year-long festivals and community events, and Purdue Convocations, one of the oldest collegiate performing arts divisions that has brought excellent concerts, lectures and performances to campus since 1902.

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Dive into the latest challenge from Ask Dr. Fish! Next month, we're challenging you to explore a new body of water, snap a pic, and share using #askdrfish. Watch the full episode and more on our YouTube channel.

Dive into the latest challenge from Ask Dr. Fish! Next month, we`re challenging you to explore a new body of water, snap a pic, and share using #askdrfish. Watch the full episode and more on our YouTube channel. ...

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