Student Position Available: Graduate Research Assistant (Summer 2024)

Job Title Graduate Research Assistant
Location Twin Cities
Regular/Temporary Regular
Job ID 360843
Job Code 9521
Empl Group Grad/Prof Student Position
Full/Part Time Part-Time

Help Make a Difference in Polar & Environmental Science

The Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota (UMN), Twin Cities is seeking a current UMN Graduate Student in GIS or related field to join the User Services team. The student in this position will be responsible for a wide range of duties including assisting polar researchers from other institutions in obtaining geospatial data, creating custom map products, managing long-term projects, interacting with research computing resources, and more. Specific skills and workflows will be taught on the job. The ideal candidate will apply strong problem-solving skills, have high attention to detail, and excellent communication skills to provide superior support to staff and the polar science community.

What You’ll Do

In your first week you will be introduced to the PGC team and PGC’s role in geospatial science. You will learn about our funders, users, and partnerships. You will have dedicated training on internal workflows, data resources, and PGC’s project management system. You will also attend various weekly meetings to learn how PGC operates.

In your first month you will continue to develop skills working with our imagery processing workflows, and will be introduced to our user community through observation and guidance from PGC staff. As you become proficient with the technologies, processes and communication expectations of the User Services team you assume the role as a primary point-of-contact to a small portfolio of PGC users. In this role you can expect to manage and fulfill incoming requests for geospatial and related support.

In your first year you will gain expertise in GIS, remote sensing, science support and customer service. You will enhance your organization, leadership, and project management skills from handling multiple tasks at once. Relationships you’ve formed within PGC and with PGC users will expand your network. Opportunities to attend and participate in conferences, workshops, and training courses are available.


PGC is a science support organization that is built on these values:

  • Diversity and Respect: A mix of experiences, ideas, and approaches makes all our work better
  • Initiative: The drive to try, learn, or problem solve is inspiring and aids progress
  • Engage: Collaborate, learn, and return knowledge between different communities

Graduate Qualifications

Required Qualifications:
  • Currently registered UMN Graduate Student in GIS or related field
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Able to work in a fast-paced environment and learn quickly
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to manage multiple projects at once
  • Excellent communication skills (oral and written) and a strong commitment to provide superior support to the polar science community
  • Ability to work independently as well as with others
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Focus in Remote Sensing, Cartography, Imagery Analysis, or Computer Science
  • 1 year of previous GIS job experience and/or study
  • Remote Sensing experience/expertise
  • Interest in Polar Science Initiatives and Collaborations
  • Ability to work full-time over the summer.
  • Customer Service experience

Graduate Assistant Benefits & Appointment Terms

The Office of Human Resources has a helpful Graduate Assistant Brochure, and Graduate Assistant Employment resource page, covering Tuition Benefits, Employment Benefits, and the Graduate Assistant Health Plan. Graduate students do not receive paid vacation.

This is a 50%-100% 2024 Summer Term Appointment and 50% 2024/25 Academic Year Appointment. This assistantship is renewable for up to 1 year, subject to satisfactory academic progress toward your degree (including registration requirements), your satisfactory performance of assistantship duties, and availability of departmental funding in future semesters.

This position is eligible for graduate assistant tuition benefits during the academic year (excluding summer). Should this position start in Spring 2024, it would be eligible for prorated benefits.

The current hourly rate for this position is $27.07.


We use two interviews.

      1. A brief one-on-one virtual interview to determine qualifications are met and/or clarify details from application
      2. A panel interview with User Services team members and PGC leadership

All interviews will be conducted in a remote environment.

Answers to Some Common Questions

Do students work remotely or in person?
Our work location is currently a hybrid environment with an expectation of 2 days in person at our office on the St. Paul campus. An on-site workstation and laptop for remote work will be provided.
Do I need to be a University of Minnesota student?
Yes. Graduate students must be currently enrolled in a GIS or related program at UMN-Twin Cities.
Is travel involved or required?
There are opportunities to travel for professional development, training courses, and outreach initiatives.
How about visas or relocation funds?
Academic Support Resources does not currently:
      • sponsor visas
      • offer relocation funds
      • offer signing bonuses

How to Apply

Ready to apply? Great! Before you start, you should have:

      1. A resume
        • 1-2 page formatted document
      2. A cover letter
        • Tell us what excites you about this job, work you’ve done and career goals
      3. Names and contact information for two references
        • Mentors, bosses, co-workers, people you study with or talk to at meetups

You can take a break at any point during the application process. Click the Save Draft button and you can return to your application later. When you log back into the job application system, click My Activities and then click on the job title.

If you have any questions while applying, look at the Using the Job Application System page.

About the Polar Geospatial Center

The Polar Geospatial Center provides geospatial support, mapping, and GIS/remote sensing solutions to researchers and logistics groups in the polar science community. Our goal is to introduce new, state-of-the-art techniques from the geospatial field to effectively solve problems in the least mapped places on Earth.

Polar Geospatial Center
R280 Learning and Environmental Sciences 
1954 Buford Ave. 
St. Paul, MN 55108 

Apply Here!

Note: if the above link does not work, please search for ‘geospatial’ at this link.

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