Research on the Social Perceptions of Fire Management Activities

A graduate student position at The Pennsylvania State University is available to analyze intersections between fire management activities and social perceptions of burning in the mid-Atlantic.

Students will have substantial opportunities for engagement with topics related to socio-ecological systems, nonmarket valuation techniques to elicit the value of forestry services before and after prescribed burns, and dynamic optimization techniques to model the optimal amount and timing of prescribed fire management.

The student will receive training in environmental and natural resource economics to conduct surveys of recreational users (such as hunters, hikers, and mountain bikers), landowners near forests, and forest managers to gauge the willingness to accept prescribed burning across different stakeholders. This student will work with an interdisciplinary team of ecologists, geographers, and applied economists to model tradeoffs in ecological and economic decision-making for fire management activities. Experience with spatial datasets, interview/focus groups/surveys, or simulation modeling is desired.

To learn more, please contact:

Dr. Katherine Zipp
Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education
The Pennsylvania State University

Research assistantships through the academic year will be available through the EEFE Graduate Program. Summer support is also available. Application information for the Graduate Program can be found on our website.

In addition to meeting the admission requirements, successful applicants should have (1) a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field of study; (2) strong quantitative skills; (3) a willingness to learn new techniques and skills while interacting with an interdisciplinary team, including resource managers; and (4) strong writing and communication skills. 

Penn State is located in Happy Valley, with many opportunities for recreational activities and a strong commitment to cultural events and activities.  State College was ranked 8/50 best college towns in 2016:

Students from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.