» Jobs » Graduate Research Assistant – Master’s Level with Cornell University in Ithaca and Geneva, NY

Graduate Research Assistant – Master’s Level with Cornell University in Ithaca and Geneva, NY

Type of position Graduate Research Assistantship – Master’s Level
Employer Cornell University
Description of Employer Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university as well as New York’s Land Grant Institution. Our inclusive community of scholars, students and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose and contribute creative ideas to further the university’s mission of teaching, discovery and engagement.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty, and staff of all identities and backgrounds. We strongly encourage individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply. CALS is a pioneer of purpose-driven science and home to Cornell University’s second largest population of students, faculty and staff. We work across disciplines to tackle the challenges of our time through world-renowned research, education and outreach. The questions we probe and the answers we seek focus on three overlapping concerns: natural and human systems; food, energy and environmental resources; and social, physical and economic well-being. CALS is fundamentally invested in improving the lives of people, their environments and their communities both in New York state and around the world.

The School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS) is the largest academic unit in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, providing a unifying framework for five sections with interrelated activities: Horticulture, Plant Biology, Plant Breeding & Genetics, Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology, and Soil & Crop Sciences. The sections are associated with distinct disciplines and graduate fields, but are increasingly connected by urgent local and global challenges and the revolutionary scientific tools now available.

Cornell AgriTech serves an evolving agricultural sector that remains an economic engine for New York state, valued at over $36.7 billion a year. Originally established by an act of the New York State Legislature on June 26, 1880, “for the purpose of promoting agriculture in its various branches by scientific investigation and experiment”, Cornell AgriTech has grown to become the important hub for food and agriculture research and extension that it is today.
Our renowned scientists conduct ground-breaking, interdisciplinary research and discovery in our laboratories and 900 acres of fields, orchards and vineyards. The work of our faculty, staff and students covers the continuum of food and plant research from farm to fork, from plant pests to biofuels, and from food security to climate change. Whether it’s apples or broccoli or industrial hemp, we grow crops to test our ideas first-hand.

Our scientists have developed over 280 new varieties of fruits and vegetables, pioneered insect attractants for pest control and invented ultraviolet pasteurization and the gene gun to improve crops. Horticultural research and production technologies developed here continue to fuel New York state’s booming wine and cider industries.
We educate the best up-and-coming minds in our fields so that they can lead the next wave of breakthroughs. We work alongside communities throughout the state, translating our research into information, training and education to support the farmers and entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow. We continue to grow and evolve, working together across disciplines to reimagine the future of food and agriculture systems.
We are Cornell AgriTech and we’re growing a healthier population, economy and environment for New York state and the world.

Location Ithaca and Geneva, NY
Description of Location The Geneva campus is located at the north end of Seneca Lake, 50 miles north of Ithaca at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. It is about a one-hour drive from Rochester, Syracuse and Ithaca. Geneva has a small-town atmosphere but is a vibrant, evolving city with a merging of diverse culture, educational opportunities, and businesses. It has the beauty of the Finger Lakes at its fingertips, and more than 100 wineries in the region. Boating and fishing along with many outdoor sports and recreations are popular year round. The Geneva community is rich with events such as the Musselman Triathlon, summer concert series and other cultural events that are often held at the Smith Opera House. Geneva is a “green community” with a number of businesses focused on low-impact production, use of locally grown or locally produced goods. The city of Geneva has excellent schools and health care systems and is also home to Hobart and William Smith Colleges which has just completed a state of the art performing arts center. Cornell faculty in Geneva are able to use the sports field house at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and often collaborate on research projects with HWS faculty and students. For more information, visit. http://www.visitgenevany.com/.
Salary $40,000 to $42,000 (approx.)
Benefits Tuition and health insurance provided.
Closing date of competition December 1, 2021
Date position available September 1, 2022
Description of duties

One graduate research assistantship at the Master’s level is available beginning in September of 2022 to investigate the impacts of electrical weed control (EWC) in organic fruit production. Organic weed control requires frequent soil disturbance, hand labor, high rates of organic herbicides, or the application of large amounts of organic or synthetic mulches. These factors can be barriers to economic, soil health, and sustainability goals. EWC could simultaneously address several of these challenges in the US high value organic perennial cropping sector. The student research assistant on this project will evaluate the performance, safety, and environmental sustainability of EWC under field conditions. This will include describing the influence of weed type, size, and age, as well as soil type and moisture conditions on control success. Additional side projects may include examining the impacts of EWC on insect pests, predators and pollinators in fruit systems. The student will also conduct crop assessments and describe impacts of EWC on perennial crop vigor. The student research assistant will analyze results and engage with local stakeholders ato present their data at field meetings and extension outreach events. In addition to preparing a thesis, the student will collaborate with the PI/Co-PIs to prepare manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals. 

Qualifications sought

Prospective students should hold a Bachelor’s degree in biology, plant science, horticulture, ecology, or agronomy, or other closely related field. Desired qualifications include excellent oral and written skills, field or greenhouse research experience, and an interest in weeds and weed management. The ideal candidate should be motivated, organized, and able to work independently and in a team setting. Creativity is key to being a successful research scientist and its value to a laboratory can not be understated. While the candidate will not be expected to operate heavy equipment, experience and comfort working around machinery is appropriate.

The research will require travel between sites and a US driver’s license will need to be obtained. 

Please see the graduate admissions website for additional qualifications.




Contact for additional information Dr. Lynn M. Sosnoskie
220 Hedrick Hall
635 W. North Street
Geneva, NY 14456


Application procedure  
Submit what Please see the graduate admissions website for required documents.




Submit to https://gradschool.cornell.edu/admissions/apply/
Additional Information The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty, and staff of all identities and backgrounds. We strongly encourage individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply.
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