Job Opportunities

Graduate student positions in Atmospheric Chemistry and Polar Research at Baylor University

April 2021:

Graduate student positions 

The research group of Dr. Rebecca Sheesley currently has two graduate assistant positions available to study air quality and atmospheric chemistry pertaining to natural and anthropogenic impacts on urban and remote systems. Students are needed for the following projects:

  1. (BC)2tracking influence of wildfires on Texas urban air quality through measurement of aerosol optical properties (funded by TCEQ)
    1. The (BC)2 network has been collecting aerosol optical observations in Texas since 2019.  This is a large dataset which includes observations of wildfire and dust storm impacts on Texas cities.  Wildfire and dust can impact urban air quality and are of importance for potential human health impacts as well as to understand potential climate forcing. Students on this project will gain valuable instrument, field work, large dataset, satellite and spatial analysis experience and will collaborate with the Usenko research group at Baylor and researchers at the University of Houston.  Applicants are encouraged with previous coursework and/or experience in chemistry, geospatial analysis, remote sensing, atmospheric science or data analysis.
  2. BEAR-oNS:  biogenic emissions and aerosol response on the North Slope, an Arctic study on atmospheric emissions, composition and chemistry on the North Slope of Alaska (NSF)
    1. Climate in the Arctic is changing at a rapid pace.  When vegetation reacts to these changes, chemicals called biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) can be released into the atmosphere in new ways. This project seeks to investigate how climate change affects the quantity and type of BVOCs released into the atmosphere on the North Slope of Alaska (NSA). In addition, we are interested in the chemical reactions these BVOCs undergo in the Arctic atmosphere. Project goals will be accomplished through field work on the NSA, collection and laboratory analysis of emission and atmospheric samples, and modeling of potential emissions and chemistry. Students on this project will collaborate with researchers at the University of California Riverside and Irvine.  Students will travel to the Arctic for summer field work and measure gas and particle phase organic species using field-based and lab-based mass spectrometry techniques.   Applicants are encouraged with previous coursework and/or experience in chemistry or environmental science.

Graduate students will have the opportunity to participate in large, multi-institution field campaigns, to learn new online and offline analytical instrumentation (e.g. proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry, tricolor absorption photometer, nephelometer, accelerated solvent extraction of aerosol filter samples, gas chromatography mass spectrometry, thermal desorption GCMS-MS, ion chromatography), to learn data analysis techniques (e.g. data management in MATLAB  and IGOR and source apportionment by positive matrix factorization and chemical mass balance modeling), back trajectory analysis and remote sensing (e.g. satellite based aerosol optical depth, fire counts, and smoke products). We are looking for students from a variety of backgrounds including chemistry, environmental science, geosciences or engineering. Previous experience with air quality or atmospheric chemistry is not required. Application for PhD positions is preferred, but Masters applicants are welcome as well. 

The Sheesley and Usenko research groups have strong ties in Texas and beyond and students will have the opportunity to collaborate with other research groups and present their work at national and international conferences. The Department of Environmental Science at Baylor University is a growing department with strong support from the University.  Please contact Sheesley ( and/or Usenko ( if you are interested. 

Anticipated start date as soon as summer 2021, however, applications and interest for a 2022 start date are also encouraged. The successful candidate will receive a competitive stipend with health insurance and full tuition waiver.  Applications will continue to be accepted until positions are filled. For more information on graduate studies at Baylor  To apply to Graduate School at Baylor

undergraduate positions at Baylor

I’m currently looking for undergraduates to assist within the air quality research group.  Activities may include a variety of laboratory, field and computer work. The student will be trained for any potential activities, so previous experience is not required. There is an option to stay on to work through the summer and into next fall.  Hours are flexible, but I’m looking for a student that can come in every week.  If interested, please contact Dr. Sheesley, .

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