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Dr. Yiwen Chiu
Associate Professor

1 Grand Ave., Cal Poly
NRES 180-504
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
TEL: 805-756-2972
yichiu at

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Job Opportunities

We constantly recruite research assistants (RA) to participate in our projects. You can find more information below to identify if a particular project is right for you. However, only applications submitted before indicated deadline will be reviewed and considered. Please read the position description carefully and submit your application accordingly.

Position 1: Sustainable Agricultural System (Application deadline: Rolling)

Two RAs will be recruited to carry out an 2-year analytical project aiming to quantify  the flux of environmental performance of agricultural operation under the change of various social and land-use transformation. RAs will assist in developing system dynamic models to simulate the fluctuation of agricultural productivity and its environmental consequence. Literature review, data mining, data analysis, and being keen to learn modeling tools are essential. Field and lab work is limited but may be required occasionally to (a) collect soil and crop samples, (b) interview staff to compile energy, water, and material utilization data, and (c) conduct survey, if applicable, to understand agricultural operation and management systems. However, the project does not involve the operation of heavy machinery.

Requirements & Qualifications

The successful candidate(s) must be detail-oriented and have a good record of academic performance, including good GPA (especially in quantitative courses), and experience in conducting high-quality group projects. Minimum qualification and selection criteria include:

  • Enroll as a full-time Cal Poly student
  • Must commit at least 5-10 working hours per week, but with flexibility (ex. reduced hours during midterm and finals week).
  • GPA 0 and above, or with good justifications
  • Feel comfortable and confident to learn new software and perform quantitative analysis
  • Experienced in systems thinking, literature review, and scientific writing
  • Proficient in Microsoft Excel, and advanced Word editing

If hired, training on modeling tools will be provided. Students performed well in NR 314 or any courses related to systems thinking are particularly encouraged to apply.

Wage Rate, Duties & Responsibilities

Hourly rate is commensurate with experience and relevant competencies. In addition to all the duties mentioned in the position description above, RAs are also expected to:

  • Participate in lab meetings,
  • Support lab coordination, and
  • Complete relevant administrative paperwork if necessary.
  • The RA's contract may be renewed on a continuing basis depending on his/her performance and quality of work.

How to Apply

Combining the following materials into ONE PDF file and send to Dr. Chiu via email ( before November 18th, 2018 (Sunday), 11:00 PM. Application packages without meeting all requirements (ex. format, components, or page limits) will not be considered.

  1. A cover letter (1 page) indicating:
    • Major, cumulative academic GPA, and average GPA of selected quantitative courses. If cumulative GPA is lower than 3.0, please provide justifications.
    • Specialty/skill set, relevant work/research experience;
    • Working and learning style; and
    • How this research experience can benefit your education and professional development.
  2. Latest unofficial transcript
  3. One writing sample (max 5 pages) from your previous course work which can best show your writing competency.

If hired, the student is required to present documents to prove his/her identify and authorization to work. 

Position 2: CAFES SURP "Summer Undergrad Research Program"(Application deadline: TBD)

Our lab support CAFES SURP studies every year. Please contact Dr. Chiu before March every year to determine potential projects, or to propose specific study interests related to the applications of LCA, GIS, or in the realms of sustainability analysis.

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