Research Assistant for Microplastics

Western Carolina University

United States

June 30, 2022


Posting Details

Posting Information

Posting Number temp hourly847P

Quick Link for Internal Postings https: // Classification Title Working Title Research Assistant for Microplastics Department Highlands Biological Station Salary Range $11/hr Posting Information

Lab work includes filtering stream and atmospheric deposition samples to assess concentrations of microplastic particles, using a dissecting scope to note the color and type of microplastics, and using a microscope camera and ImageJ software to determine the length of the particles and to build a photo library of microplastic particles. Field work includes deploying and programming ISCO stream water samplers and collecting stream and atmospheric deposition samples. Heavy lifting (35 lbs.) may be required. Field work may occur in the rain, on steep mountain slopes, and on hot, humid days. The Highlands Biological Station ( HBS), a multi-campus center of Western Carolina University, is seeking a Research Assistant to conduct both lab and field work at the Station, located in Highlands, NC.

Highlands Biological Station was founded in 1927 and is a field station of Western Carolina University. The station is situated on the Highlands Plateau in the southern Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina and lies within walking distance of the town of Highlands. More about the Highlands Biological Station can be found here:

Please Note: Position will start July 5 and end September 30 (12 weeks). This position is 40 hours per week.

Applicant must have transportation to and from Highlands Biological Station. Housing is provided.

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities Required for this Position

Applicants must be familiar with programming ISCOs, filtering stream and atmospheric deposition samples for microplastics, and using a dissecting scope to identify microplastics.

Minimum Qualifications

Applicants should either have an undergraduate degree in biology, botany, environmental science, or natural resources or be a junior or senior pursuing such degree. Applicants should be familiar with Excel and be willing to learn about microplastic sampling techniques.

Preferred Qualifications

Preference will be given to applicants who are familiar with ISCO stream water sampling devices and who are familiar with how to process stream water and atmospheric deposition samples for the analysis of microplastics.

Posting Text

Open Date 06/21/2022

Close Date 06/30/2022 Open Until Filled Yes Special Instructions to Applicants

Applicants must apply online and should include 1) a resume, 2) contact information for three references, and 3) cover letter.


Qualified applicants will be contacted by the department directly if selected for interview.

Please Note: Temporary employees are paid bi-weekly on an hourly basis and do not receive benefits.


Final candidates are subject to criminal & sex offender background checks. Some vacancies also require credit or motor vehicle checks.

Western Carolina University uses E-Verify to confirm employment eligibility of all newly hired employees. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, please visit www. Proper documentation of identity and employability are required at the time of employment.

Credential Verification

All new employees are required to have listed credentials/degrees verified within 30 days of employment. All new employees who will be teaching are required to provide official transcripts within 30 days of employment. Transcripts should be provided for the highest earned degree and/or the degree which is being used to satisfy credential/qualification requirements.


Western Carolina University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race; color; religion; sex; sexual orientation; gender identity or expression; national origin; age; disability; genetic information; political affiliation; National Guard or veteran status, consistent with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, and policies, and the policies of The University of North Carolina. Additionally, the University promotes the realization of equal employment opportunity for minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veterans through its affirmative action program. Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations in the application and interview process please call (828) 227-7218 or email at

University Safety

The Western Carolina University Annual Safety Report is available online at University Annual Safety Report or in hard-copy by request at the office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, 227 HFR Administration Building, Cullowhee, NC 28723 (828-227-7147) or the Office of University Police, 111 Camp Annex, Cullowhee, NC 28723 (828-227-7301). The report, required of all universities participating in Title IV student financial aid programs, discusses crime statistics, procedures for reporting suspicious or criminal activity, security, police authority, crime prevention strategies, university policies on substance abuse and sexual offenses, workplace violence and fire safety.

Applicant Documents

Required Documents

  • Cover Letter/Letter of Application
  • Resume
  • List of references
  • Optional Documents

    Supplemental Questions

    Required fields are indicated with an asterisk ().

  • How did you hear about this employment opportunity?
  • Inside Higher Ed
  • HERC - Higher Education Recruitment Consortium
  • Website -
  • Personal Referral
  • Agency Referral
  • Other
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