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Environmental Monitoring Undergraduate Student

Undergrad Research
Expiration Date: 

Location: Los Alamos, NM, US

Organization Name: Los Alamos National Laboratory, EPC-ES/ Environmental Protection & Compliance -Environmental Stewardship

Vacancy Name: IRC77551


As part of a team of biologists, you will spend your summer in the outdoors learning and using a variety of field methodologies and sample collection techniques. You will help to sample various environmental media such as soil, vegetation, small mammals, fish, benthic macroinvertebrates, and more. When not in the outdoors collecting samples, you will be in the office learning about ecotoxicology and environmental monitoring. The goals of the Soil, Foodstuffs, and Biota program are to determine whether Los Alamos National Laboratory (Laboratory) operations are affecting chemical concentrations in several types of environmental media and to assess environmental health by evaluating several ecological parameters as mandated by Department of Energy orders. To accomplish these goals, samples are collected from on-site at the Laboratory, perimeter locations, and regional background locations. Samples are then sent to off-site analytical laboratories and are analyzed for radionuclides, metals, and/or organic chemicals (e.g. high explosives, dioxins, furans, PCBs, PFAS); results from these locations are then compared. Specifically, on a triennial basis we collect 1) soil, small mammals, and native vegetation from on and off-site locations; 2) crops and other foodstuffs, such as milk and eggs; and 3) aquatic ecosystem parameters including benthic macroinvertebrates, fish, and sediment from upstream and downstream locations of the Laboratory. The program also routinely opportunistically collects wildlife that are struck by vehicles (road kill).

Specifically, the successful candidate for this position will work with other environmental professional staff, scientists, and students to:

  • Collect, process, and submit environmental monitoring samples of soil, foodstuffs, and biota within and around the Laboratory for the analyses of radionuclides, metals, and/or organic chemicals. Sample types include soil, vegetation, small mammals, fish, garden produce, wild edible foods, milk, honey, and road killed animals such as deer, elk, coyote, snakes, etc.
  • Collect benthic macroinvertebrates for taxonomic identification to be used in ecological assessments.
  • Research and learn about radionuclides, metals, PCBs, and PFAS chemicals in the context of ecotoxicology and environmental monitoring.
  • Maintain sampling equipment, containers, records, logbooks, storage facilities, and other laboratory and field equipment.
  • Participate in maintaining and updating environmental sampling and survey databases, and assist with managing records.

Minimum Job Requirements:

  • Ability to work safely and securely in the field and provide a safe working environment with open communication.
  • The ability to communicate clearly and effectively in written, oral, and electronic media. Ability to follow instructions and to ask questions if needed.
  •  Self-motivated and eager to learn about environmental monitoring.
  • Willingness and ability to work independently or as part of a team.
  • Ability to record field data correctly and clearly; attention to detail.
  • Ability to 1) work in outdoor environments, 2) tolerate varying environmental conditions, and 3) have the ability hike long distances, while carrying loads of 30 pounds over rough,uneven, and steep terrain.

Desired Skills:

  • Ability to collect and identify small mammals, fish, and game animals in the field and/or a strong interest to develop or improve these skills.
  • Willingness to participate in other field tasks that are being undertaken by the group as needed.
  • Self-initiating, communicative work style with very strong interpersonal and collaborative-work capabilities.
  • The ability to collect and organize data from multiple projects concurrently and perform data quality assurance.

Education: Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in biology, ecology, botany, natural resources management, environmental science, or a closely related field.

Notes to Applicants:

  • A minimum of a 3.0 GPA is required.
  • Undergraduates must be enrolled full-time in an accredited degree program.
  • This position is primarily seasonal occurring in the summer months with opportunity for limited work during school breaks.
  • This position is reoccurring during the summer months.
  • Interested applicants should submit a resume and cover letter addressing the required and desired criteria.


Additional Details:

No Clearance: Position does not require a security clearance. Selected candidates will be subject to drug testing and other pre-employment background checks.

New-Employment Drug Test: The Laboratory requires successful applicants to complete a new-employment drug test and maintains a substance abuse policy that includes random drug testing.

For general program information refer to the Student Programs web page.

Equal Opportunity:

Los Alamos National Laboratory is an equal opportunity employer and supports a diverse and inclusive workforce. All employment practices are based on qualification and merit, without regards to race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or preference, marital status or spousal affiliation, physical or mental disability, medical conditions, pregnancy, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or citizenship within the limits imposed by federal laws and regulations. The Laboratory is also committed to making our workplace accessible to individuals with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations, upon request, for individuals to participate in the application and hiring process. To request such an accommodation, please send an email to or call 1-505-665-4444 option 1.

Where You Will Work

Located in northern New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security. LANL enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

The Soil, Foodstuffs, and Biota Monitoring program fulfills the Laboratory’s Department of Energy (DOE) regulatory requirements related to the protection of the public and the environment from radiation and chemicals. The student position is within the Environmental Protection Division, Environmental Stewardship Group. This group is dynamic and provides stewardship services for biological and cultural resource management; and transfer and conveyance; pollution prevention; environmental management system; environmental health physics; soil, foodstuffs, and biota monitoring; the Annual Site Environmental Report; and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Contact Details

Contact Name Gonzales, Christine J


Work Telephone 505-667-8695

Req ID: IRC77551