Two Faculty Assistants

Soil landscape analysis, Geospatial analysis, Remote sensing

University of Maryland, Environmental Science and Technology, College Park, MD.

The Department of Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland has two open positions for full-time Faculty Assistants. Please contact Dr. Jyoti Jennewein ( with any questions related to the position (use subject line: “Interest in UMD Faculty Assistant Position”). Note that since there will be two hires for this position, candidates do not need to be able to perform the full scope of the tasks individually. See this link for full information about the position and application instructions (note that the best consideration date of 9/1/23 is not firm and may be extended):

Position Summary/Purpose of Position:

These two positions will provide soil landscape analysis, integration of multiple data streams into web-based decision support tools, and geospatial analysis support for the Precision Sustainable Agriculture (PSA) team (a national network of sustainable agriculture scientists) and numerous private partners. The candidates will work with a team of applied agricultural scientists, software developers, and data scientists to improve the existing PSA cover crop nitrogen calculator decision support tool. Major tasks include calibrating and validating geospatial models to predict cover crop biomass and nitrogen content within fields and integrating COMET–Planner tools into the PSA nitrogen calculator to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from reduced nitrogen application rates.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Conduct and lead soil landscape analysis (digital soil mapping, spatial disaggregation, SSURGO analysis).
  • Conduct geospatial analysis of cover crop biomass, species, and nitrogen content using a variety of remotely sensed data combined with field sampling and landscape analysis. 
  • Explore linkages between soil landscape analysis, remote sensing, and process-based models for greenhouse gas emissions such as COMET-Planner. 
  • Assist with automation of data acquisition and integration from a wide variety of data sources (e.g., SSURGO soil survey data, remotely sensed imagery, gridded weather data, terrain attributes, etc.).
  • Conduct team-oriented research and exhibit exceptional leadership and organizational abilities.

Required job qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree (Ph.D. preferred) in applied agricultural or soil science, spatial statistics, landscape ecology, data science, remote sensing, or related field.
  • ●        Ability to process, integrate, and analyze tabular and geospatial data to perform terrain analysis and digital soil mapping.
  • Demonstrated ability to deliver and communicate scientific results and concepts.
  • Established research credentials through publications in relevant refereed journals, and an existing record of, or strong potential for, successful grant procurement.
  • Ability to work smoothly as part of a well-organized research collaboration.
  • Attention to detail, ability to keep detailed records of data processing and analytics.

Preferred job qualifications:

  • Ph.D. preferred.
  • Expertise and experience in processing and analysis of soil survey and topographic data.
  • Expertise in predictive modeling frameworks for large datasets such as machine learning.
  • Expertise in process-based models for greenhouse gas inventories such as DayCent/COMET-Farm.
  • Expertise in soil variation in landscapes, soil mapping, and soil influence on plant growth.
  • Experience with agricultural cropping systems and field data collection and/or analysis.
  • Ability to develop, debug, and revise software code (e.g., Python, SQL, IDL, JavaScript, R, and/or Bash).
  • Ability to migrate data streams into and out of the GIS software (e.g., ESRI, QGIS).
  • Working knowledge of cloud platforms (Azure, AWS, or GEE).
  • Well-organized with strong writing and project management skills.
  • Ability and interest in periodic field work that requires lifting and carrying (up to 25 lbs) and manual labor which may require standing, kneeling, bending, stooping, and reaching.
  • Valid driver’s license.

Key partners/mentors will include:

Dr. Brian Needelman, Department of Environmental Science and Technology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742,, 301-405-8227

Dr. Steven Mirsky, USDA-ARS Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory, Beltsville, MD,, 240-304-9479

Dr. Dean Hively, USGS stationed at USDA-ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Beltsville, MD,, 301-504-9031

Dr. S. Chris Reberg-Horton, Department of Crop and Soils, North Carolina State University, Raleigh,, 919-515-7597

Salary: Competitive starting salary and benefits package

Location: College Park, MD

Diversity Statement:     

The University of Maryland, College Park, an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action; all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment. The University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, protected veteran status, age, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, creed, marital status, political affiliation, personal appearance, or on the basis of rights secured by the First Amendment, in all aspects of employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.

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