Position: Two positions as field research assistants for Yale PhD student at the Lomas Barbudal Monkey Project (capuchins, Costa Rica)
Hiring Organization: Yale University, United States
Project Description: What are white-faced capuchin nutritional goals? How does achieving (or not achieving) these goals relate to lifetime fitness? How does achieving these goals relate to survival during an extreme drought in 2015? We are looking for passionate and hands-on field assistants to complete our team to address these questions! Together, we will collect data, contribute to the Lomas Barbudal Monkey Project’s long-term database, develop invaluable professional (and personal) skills and build a connection with the natural world. This is a perfect steppingstone and opportunity for a future career in ecology or conservation.
Responsibilities: Assistants are on a three-day rotational schedule. We spend two days in the field and one day at home. Field days are generally 12-14 hours, during which time we follow monkeys through the forest. This can be challenging, because it involves hiking and pushing through undergrowth, while also collecting behavioral data, food samples and occasionally collecting fecal samples. It is important that we support each other and remain optimistic when we have the capacity to do so. Every third day, responsibilities involve editing behavioral data, processing food and fecal samples (i.e., weighing, drying, labelling and sealing into bags), completing one daily chore and cooking dinner (and lunch for the following day) for the field team. These are not days off, but they offer the opportunity to recharge and catch up on sleep. Each month, two days are spent conducting phenology surveys (2 days/month), and these field days will be ~8 hours.
*We have and enforce a strict anti-harassment policy, including sexual harrassment.*
Applicants are required to read the field guide for the Lomas Barbudal Capuchin Project to get a sense of the terrain and typical work schedule.
Qualifications/Experience: We are open to different backgrounds and experiences! It’s most important to have a positive attitude, high tolerance for stress and not be afraid of/have an aversion to: insects, heat, humidity, rain and, to be honest, being generally uncomfortable. You must be able to carry a heavy backpack (3-6 liters of water, project equipment, etc.) and hike for long days (but this is something that will also improve with time). Previous field/backpacking/outdoor experience, Spanish language skills, and an interest in primatology, wildlife, ecology or conservation are all a plus but not necessary.
Term of Appointment: A 15-month commitment (June 1, 2022 - August 27, 2023) is necessary.
Compensation: This is a volunteer position. Assistants will receive $520.00/month as a stipend, specifically for the laboratory component of the position (drying and weighing food and fecal samples), because this is generally not a field assistant task. An additional $500.00 bonus will be granted if you arrive at the field site trained on: code tests, speed tests and plant tests (interobserver reliability tests, which I will train you on beforehand). Your flights will be reimbursed if you stay the duration of your contract, which is 15 months (and they will not be reimbursed if you leave before the end-date stated in your contract). Assistants receive room and board with the other project personnel in the town of Pijije near the Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve. Rent and food is 100% covered, except during vacation and Visa renewal trips (I will explain this in the interview process), during which times, assistants must support themselves. You will also receive essentials, such as snake leggings, bug spray, and sunscreen. If you cannot begin on the start or end date, this is something that we can probably accommodate, and please indicate this in your letter of interest. Everyone receives five days of vacation at the end of the month and ten days of vacation at the end of December. We work on weekends. If there is something that you need to leave for (not during vacation), then please indicate so in your letter of interest. This is something that we can probably accommodate as well. You will receive training in behavioral data collection, laboratory methodologies, population monitoring, ecological monitoring, climate monitoring, and working in a collaborative environment. Assistants have the opportunity to undertake their own ecology research projects under my mentorship. Please indicate if this is something you would like to take advantage of in your letter of interest. This is an opportunity for your development, so share any other ideas that you have, and let’s see what we can do!
You will be responsible for paying for your vaccinations and health insurance. You will also be responsible to purchase your own field clothes, backpack and binoculars and support yourself on vacation and Visa renewal trips. If you are a Yale affiliate then you may be covered by Yale iSOS, and there may be other fellowship stipends available.
COVID restrictions: At this time, the applicant must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (including the booster) before the start of the position and must wear a face mask when it is required.
Application materials: To apply, please send the following to alexa.du...@yale.edu with an email header: “Application for field assistant position”:
1. Letter of interest: Describe your career goals, why you are interested, and your suitability for the project
3. Unofficial/Official College Transcript: for institutions outside of the US, please include a summary of coursework and grades
4. References: Please send the contact information (including email addresses) for 3 or more people who would be willing to write letters of support. We prefer that this list include
a. one academic reference
b. one person who has supervised the applicant’s research or work in the past
c. one person who has lived with the applicant in a cooperative living situation
If you do not hear back within three days acknowledging the receipt of your application, please send me another email, so I can check my junk mail. If the application looks promising, then a Zoom interview will be conducted. If the interview goes well, then a second interview with the founder of the field site will be required.
Application Deadline: I will begin reviewing applications immediately and will continue until the assistant position is filled.
Contact Information: Alexa Duchesneau, Department of Anthropology, Yale University, 10 Sachem St, New Haven, CT 06511
Telephone Number: (978) 587-1025
Email Address: alexa.du...@yale.edu