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Center for a Livable Future


Student Research Assistant at CLF

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

SRAs are important members of the CLF Team. They are involved in challenging work assignments and receive helpful supervision and mentoring from CLF 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 CLF activities; and developing communication materials to inform education, advocacy and policy activities. Performing administrative support activities is also part of a SRA's scope of work. SRAs are encouraged to attend CLF-sponsored seminars and lectures that may be scheduled throughout the year.

This year, CLF is offering Student Research Assistant positions for nine (9) separate projects.

  1. Public Affairs Research Assistant 
    Scope of work: To support a variety of public relations efforts designed to communicate CLF work and research to multiple audiences (traditional journalists, bloggers, and NGOs). As well as support and facilitate targeted social media engagement for a food system focused curriculum. The selected research assistant will work closely with the Director of Public Affairs to monitor and assess food system, public health, and environmental media coverage (traditional and new). The research assistant will work to translate scientific literature and complex food system issues into public relations messages and materials. In addition, the research assistant may be asked to assess the current CLF media database for accuracy as well as organize and provide updates as needed. Under the supervision of the Director of Public Affairs, the selected research assistant will work closely with the CLF Editor/Social Media Manager to support and provide content for several social media channels designed to promote a food system curriculum.
    Education: Master’s or Doctoral student
    Hours: 10 hours/week
    Skills: Strong ability to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences across multiple platforms. Experience using multiple social media platforms (primarily Facebook and Pinterest). Exceptional writing and editing. Must be organized and good with excel. Communications background or course work in communications preferred.

  2. Food System Resilience Research Assistant
    Scope of work: Assist with qualitative research and writing tasks for Baltimore Food System Resilience Project. Tasks may include summarizing information for the Food System Resilience Plan; reviewing and coding key informant interview transcripts; contributing content to a manuscript for publication about food system resilience. Other duties may include reviewing relevant literature, contributing content to the CLF blog, performing other writing, research, and administrative duties as needed to assist with FSSPH or broader CLF projects.
    Education: Master’s or Doctoral student
    Hours: 10 -15 hours/week
    Skills: Strong research, analytical, oral and written communications skills are required.

  3. Food System Sustainability Food Waste Research Assistant
    Scope of work: Assist with food waste projects including policy research and possible development, collection, and analysis of food waste diaries for a pilot project. RA will support various food waste research projects, which may include coding and analyzing food waste policies, collecting and analyzing food waste diary information. Other duties may include reviewing relevant literature, writing content for the CLF blog and performing other writing, research and administrative duties as needed to assist with FSSPH or broader CLF projects
    Education: Master’s or Doctoral student
    Hours: 10 -15 hours/week
    Skills: Excellent written and oral communication skills. Has knowledge of food systems, public health, and ideally food waste issues; maintains a high degree of professionalism and confidentiality; has strong attention to detail and recognizes the value of rigorous analysis and careful work; is an independent worker who can also work effectively in the CLF’s collaborative team-oriented environment. Ideally, candidates will also have experience with nutrition diary research and/or policy research.

  4. Food Communities Food Policy Network Research Assistant
    Assist the Food Policy Networks (FPN) project to build the capacity of organizations and groups to work on local and state food policy by analyzing the results of a recent national survey of food policy councils across the US, by researching, writing and managing resources for food policy councils and by supporting a local food assessment in Baltimore City. The position will assist the Food Policy Networks project by analyzing responses to the recent Food Policy Council directory survey in order to understand trends in food policy priorities and technical assistance needs; by researching and writing policy briefs and case studies on current issues of interest to food policy councils, such as leadership structures, advocacy strategies and message framing, food workers, and food access and by managing an online resource library. There is also an opportunity for the position to provide minimal support for a community food assessment focused on persons experiencing homelessness in Baltimore City by performing a literature review of research on the diet quality and nutritional needs of persons experiencing homelessness
    Education: Master’s student
    Hours: 19.5 hours/week
    Skills: Keen attention to detail and organized. Strong writing and communication skills. Ability to work independently. Proficiency in MS Office Suite.

  5. Food Communities Maryland Food System Map Project Research Assistant
    Assist with data collection, cleaning, and analysis for the Maryland Food System Map Project. The research assistant will assist CLF with data collection, cleaning and analysis for the Maryland Food System Map Project. The tasks will involve working with the project team on cleaning and analyzing data from the Healthy Food Availability Index survey conducted in Baltimore City as a part of the CLF’s food desert research. The student will help with completing written descriptions of results. In addition to this specific project, the student will assist with other data collection tasks, general writing, and administrative tasks
    Education: Master’s student
    Hours: 19.5 hours/week
    Skills: Experience in data analysis. Attention to detail. Good writing skills. Ability to work independently and on a team. GIS experience preferred

  6. Food Production Meatless Monday and Safe Urban Harvest Projects Research Assistant
    Impact on Land, Water, and Climate Footprints from Adopting Plant-Centric Diets in Selected Countries (the “Meatless Monday” study) and Safe Urban Harvest project. The RA would be responsible for a combination of the following: 1) conducting field surveys and collecting samples at Baltimore urban farms and community gardens, 2) processing samples collected from farms/gardens for chemical analyses, 3) survey data analysis. 4) searching academic journal databases for life cycle assessment (LCA) studies documenting the environmental impacts of selected food items, 5) assisting in developing search methodologies, 6) reviewing LCA studies, extracting relevant results, and converting results to standardized metrics, 7) assisting in the design and development of a model for measuring the environmental impacts of diets, 8) assisting in modeling nutritionally-feasible substitutions of animal products in plant-centric diets, 9) general data cleaning, and 10) co-authoring a manuscript.
    Education: Master’s or Doctoral student
    Hours: 19.5 hours/week
    Skills: General knowledge of food systems and urban agriculture issues.  Exceptional attention to detail, strong quantitative skills, strong written and verbal communication, and general knowledge of food systems, food production methods, and/or nutrition. Familiarity with LCA and experience with complex Excel formulas preferred.

  7. Food Production IFAP Research Assistant
    Support tracking of CLF’s technical assistance work related to assisting communities impacted by industrial food animal production through data collection, data entry, and summarizing results. The tasks will involve working with members of the Food Production and Public Health Program team to finalize an online form, collect information about previous requests for assistance and CLF responses, enter data into the online form, and summarize results. Additional tasks may include contributing to a grant application to secure funding for future work in this area, as well as assisting CLF program staff in preparing materials in response to community requests.
    Education: Master’s student
    Hours: 10-15 hours/week
    Skills: Experience as a member of a research team and have strong writing and critical thinking skills. Familiarity with food systems and industrial food animal production is a plus.

  8. Food Production Aquaculture Research Assistant
    NOAA-funded study of how farmed oysters from the Chesapeake Bay move from producers to consumers through supply chains, and use this information to understand the regional food system, product traceability, and food safety. The RA will assist with study start-up, study participant recruitment and interviews for case studies, and background data collection.  The RA will also draft case reports, conference abstracts, and slideshows, and assist with general administrative tasks.
    Education: Master’s or Doctoral student
    Hours: 15 hours/week
    Skills: Experience with case study methodology, qualitative methods, and conducting interviews is strongly desired. Other general skills needed are: experience working with a team; scientific writing; strong interpersonal skills; and general knowledge/interest in the food system and supply chains. Business, Economics, and Public Health students and other related disciplines are encouraged to apply
    Special Requirement: Applicants must be available to participate in occasional offsite interviews in the Baltimore-DC region on weekdays.

  9. Food System Lab @ Cylburn Research Assistant
    Assist with farm work and educational programming at the Food System Lab @ Cylburn, an urban farm run by the Center for a Livable Future. Responsibilities include assisting with both farm operations and educational programs. Farm operations include feeding fish, monitoring water quality, planting, harvesting and other projects. Assisting with educational programs includes developing and implementing activities for students and teachers from K-12 schools focused on aspects of food production and the Baltimore food system, as well as hosting a weekly, two-hour open house every Sunday.
    Education: Undergraduate or Master’s student
    Hours: 19.5 hours/week
    Skills: General knowledge of and interest in food systems and public health. Experience in education, farm tours and/or farming and gardening is preferable but not required.
    Special Requirements: Includes weekend hours. Must have reliable transportation to Cylburn Arboretum, 4916 Greenspring Avenue.

  10. Community Supported Agriculture Project Research Assistant
    Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Project. Individual would work Monday afternoons (12:15 pm – 5:15 pm) and Tuesday mornings (9:00 am – 12:00 pm) to help with CSA drop off and distribution, including meeting with representatives from One Straw Farm and Franciscan Center; assisting with ongoing CSA publicity efforts; and communicating with CSA members on an ongoing basis. The intern would also assist with other communications tasks, including distribution of promotional materials at JHSPH and Homewood campuses; development of postings to CLF’s social media properties; and maintenance of CLF’s graphics libraries
    Education: Undergraduate student
    Hours: 8 hours/week
    Skills: Customer service experience. Organizational skills. Knowledge of social media.
    Special requirements: Must be available hours as indicated above.

 CLF Student Research Assistants are compensated at an hourly rate that is consistent with student employment at JHU.

  • All applications must be received between July 17, 2016 and July 31, 2016. No applications will be accepted after midnight July 31, 2016.
  • Process and additional information will be provided to selected shortlisted applicants only o/a August 5, 2016.

Instructions for Applying for a CLF Student Research Assistant Position.

Please submit the following to between July 17, 2016 and July 31, 2016.

  • 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:
    • which position you are applying for* (you may list more than one );
    • why you are interested in working with CLF;
    • what you hope to gain through working with CLF;
    • a brief description of what you see yourself doing in five years.

*Indicating a preference for one position will not keep you from being considered for other open CLF Student Research Assistant positions.