Summer Job: Intermediate Wheatgrass Breeding Field Assistant

The Intermediate wheatgrass, or Kernza®, breeding program at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities has opportunities for summer research field assistants. Two positions are available. Both may have the opportunity for continued work in the fall semester 2018. Preference is given to those who have both summer and fall semester availability. As a summer research field assistant, you will contribute to the maintenance and data collection of field experiments. If you are an undergraduate or recent graduate with a background or interest in plant breeding, horticulture, agronomy, botany, agricultural sciences or a related field, we encourage you to apply!

The Program:

The project is housed in the University of Minnesota Wheat Breeding Laboratory led by Dr. Jim Anderson and is a part of the Forever Green Initiative ( The Forever Green Initiative focuses on developing new crops and cropping systems that have extended growing seasons and more efficiently utilize resources. In this project specifically, we are working on intermediate wheatgrass as a perennial grain. In our breeding program we are working to 1) develop improved intermediate wheatgrass cultivars using phenotype-based and genomic selection procedures, and 2) identify marker-trait associations to improve the efficiency of our breeding program.

The Location:

This position provides a unique opportunity for students to live within the metro-area, while gaining field experience over the summer. Work is based out of the Twin Cities and requires some travel to research field sites located within Minnesota, most often leaving and returning the same day. There may be possible overnight trips 1 to 3 times throughout the field season.

The Work Day:

Typical work days are eight hours (8:00am-4:30pm) Monday through Friday, however, some days may intermittently be longer than 8 hours, especially during harvest season (late July to late August). Each work day begins in Agronomy Seed House on the University of Minnesota Saint Paul Campus at 8:00 am sharp, non-morning personalities be advised! Work is varied between the field, laboratory and greenhouse. Field work includes (but is not limited to): weeding, laying out agriculture plots, planting seed and transplants, note-taking, measuring plants and harvesting. Laboratory and greenhouse work includes sample processing (i.e. counting, measuring, weighing, sorting, imaging) seed cleaning/threshing, planting and plant propagation. Fall semester hours are more flexibale and can accommodate class schedules. Hourly pay will be $11.00.


The ideal candidate should:

  1. Be pursuing or have recently earned a bachelors degree in a related field and have a genuine interest in research and/or pursuing graduate study
  2. Pay especially close attention to detail and be willing to follow specific protocols
  3. Work efficiently alone and on a team
  4. Communicate effectively and demonstrate a willingness to ask questions
  5. Be able to practice responsibility and self care during long days in the field
  6. Be willing and able to travel to locations throughout Minnesota with the potential for an overnight stay
  7. Have some previous research experience (preferred but not required)

The Application Details:

To apply, please email the following materials to Brett Heim ( together in one PDF by April 20, 2018:

  1. A cover letter outlining why this job interests you and highlighting your qualifications
  2. A resume (maximum of two pages)
  3. Contact information (name, email and phone number) for two references
  4. A transcript (unofficial is acceptable)