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Graduate Student Research & Teaching Assistantships

The UMass Lowell Department of Environmental, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences (EEAS) offers exciting graduate research and teaching assistantships for motivated students.

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The Department of Environmental, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences (EEAS) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell offers exciting graduate research and teaching assistantships for motivated students for the Fall 2020 semester. The following positions are currently open:

Investigating the Glacial History of Antarctica and New England

Assoc. Prof. Kate Swanger’s research group focuses primarily on glacial history, permafrost stability and rock weathering in Antarctica, with a new project investigating deglaciation of New England. Graduate student opportunities are available in both areas. Current Antarctic projects are focused on mapping and dating previous glacial fluctuations and investigating the origin and stability of buried ice and permafrost in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (the largest unglaciated region on the continent). These projects include the analysis of ice crystal and gas inclusions in ice cores and major ion geochemistry of buried ice. The goal of the research is to understand the role of buried glacier ice and permafrost in a cold-desert hydrologic system, that includes stratified lakes and unique ecosystems. Prospective students are also welcome to inquire about a new project, investigating the most recent deglaciation of southern New England.

For further information, please contact Prof. Kate Swanger by email:

Atmospheric and Climate Science

The Climate System Dynamics Group in the Department of Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Lowell is recruiting graduate students interested in atmospheric and climate science for funded M.S. positions starting in Fall 2020. Motivated students interested in working with large climate data sets and climate models to study wide-ranging earth system topics, including weather extremes and hydrologic changes in modern,future, and paleo climates are encouraged to apply.

Applicants should have a background in Atmospheric Science, Physics,or a related field. Some experience with Python, Matlab, NCL, R, or other programming languages is essential. Interested applicants should email Christopher Skinner at: to learn more about the M.S. program at UMass Lowell, and to discuss potential research projects. Please include a CV and a brief summary of research interests in your initial email. Examples of past and ongoing research projects can be found on the the Climate System Dynamics Group website.

Geochronology and Isotope Geochemistry

Asst. Prof. Richard Gaschnig specializes in geochemistry, petrology, and geochronology, and uses elemental and isotopic measurements to answer questions about how the Earth’s continents have formed and evolved.His laboratory is currently recruiting M.S. students who are interested in these topics. Specifically, Gaschnig has recently received NSF funding for a study of the behavior of Mo and Tl isotopes in metamorphic rocks and has two years of Research Assistantship support for qualified M.S. applicants.

Other projects include the provenance of Precambrian and Mesozoic sedimentary sequences in the western US and the tectonic origin of gneiss complexes in central Idaho.

All projects involve lab work and some entail fieldwork. For further information, please email Asst. Prof. Richard Gaschnig:


Research opportunities are available in the Hydrogeology Group at UMass Lowell to explore coastal groundwater-surface water interactions in bays, marshes, estuaries, and the coastal ocean. Projects involve field work, numerical modeling, or both, to study hydrological processes across a range of temporal (wave to climate) and spatial (beach to global) scales, including saltwater intrusion, submarine groundwater discharge, and groundwater biogeochemistry.

We are seeking motivated students to begin Fall 2020. If interested, please send an email to Asst. Prof. James Heiss at: and include your resume and a short description of your research interests. Students with prior field experience and/or a quantitative or programming background are encouraged to apply. Additional information regarding research can be found on the the Hydrogeology Group website.

Mercury Contamination in the Parker River Wildlife Refuge salt marsh of Massachusetts

This project aims to study the degree of mercury pollution, a toxic trace metal, in a coastal salt-marsh ecosystem and impacts on biota in Massachusetts. In this project, we will sample water, plants and soils in the salt marsh ecosystem of the “Great Marsh” of the Parker River Wildlife Estuary in Massachusetts. Among aquatic ecosystems, salt marshes are among the most productive and play an important role at the interface between land and sea ecosystems. They provide critical ecosystems services and are important as sources and sinks for nutrients and contaminants. Our preliminary data shows high mercury contamination and we now intend to delineate the sources of this contamination. This area in general, together with larger parts of New England, is known to be a hot spot of mercury contamination with high mercury levels observed in the blood of birds and other wildlife. However, the reasons for these high mercury exposures are not fully understood. The student will work with a group of other researchers (postdocs and Ph.D. students) to test the hypothesis that salt marsh plants, which show a high primary productivity, absorb substantial mercury from the atmosphere and serve as an important source of mercury inputs to this estuary by means of litterfall (when plants shed leaves) and senescence (when plants die).

This research includes trace metal laboratory analysis of mercury and other elements, field sampling and sample preparation, and the ability to work collaboratively in a team. For further information, please contact Prof. Daniel Obrist by email:

Other TA opportunities

Further teaching assistantships opportunities are available in the department on a competitive basis.

If interested in applying for a TA position, please apply to the Graduate program and contact EEAS faculty about your interest in joining their research groups.

About the University and the Department of Environmental, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences

The University of Massachusetts Lowell (also known as UMass Lowell) is an urban public research university in Lowell, Massachusetts, and part of the University of Massachusetts system. With nearly 1,150 faculty members and 18,058 students, it is the largest university in the Merrimack Valley and the second-largest public institution in the state.

The Department of Environmental, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences (EEAS) offers unique interdisciplinary study programs encompassing Geosciences, Meteorology, Hydrology, and Environmental Chemistry. Our research and teaching engages students in today’s critical environmental challenges including climate change, sustainability, and environmental pollution. EEAS offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Environmental Sciences, with concentrations in Environmental Studies, Geosciences, and Atmospheric Sciences. At the graduate level, the department offers an MS and PSM (Professional Science Masters) in Environmental Studies with options in Atmospheric Science and Environmental Geoscience.

All programs provide a firm base in science and mathematics and a broad understanding of the natural environment. Programs of study prepare students for a variety of careers in research labs, industry, consulting firms and governmental agencies. Graduate School admission policies are found on the Graduate Admissions website.

You may further contact the EEAS Graduate Program Coordinator, Assistant Professor, Richard Gaschnig by email at