Physical Science Fellow

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Missoula, Montana

Job Type Paid Internship
Salary Details The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.
Deadline Jun 21, 2024

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

USFS Office/Lab and Location: This fellowship is available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service's (USFS) Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS), located in Missoula, Montana

At the heart of the U.S. Forest Service's mission is their purpose. Everything they do is intended to help sustain forests and grasslands for present and future generations. Why? Because their stewardship work supports nature in sustaining life. This is the purpose that drives the agency’s mission and motivates their work across the agency. It’s been there from the agency’s very beginning, and it still drives them. To advance the mission and serve their purpose, the U.S. Forest Service balances the short and long-term needs of people and nature by: working in collaboration with communities and our partners; providing access to resources and experiences that promote economic, ecological, and social vitality; connecting people to the land and one another; and delivering world-class science, technology and land management.

Research Project: We have an opportunity for a physical science fellow to join the existing cadre of researchers in exploring new dimensions of flame dynamics and heat transfer associated with wildland fire spread.  Research into the physical processes governing wildfire behavior and spread by the USFS Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory has been ongoing for decades.  This research requires a physical science background.  Knowledge of heat transfer and fluid mechanics, as well as computational methods associated with physical phenomena are desired.  The research involves laboratory research, data collection, analysis, and computer modeling.  The fellow will collaborate closely with scientists and staff of the National Fire Decision Support Center onsite at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, MT.  

Learning Objectives This is an opportunity to expand a candidate's experience with research approaches and modeling beyond practical engineering or physics background.

Mentor: The mentor for this opportunity is Mark Finney (mark.finney@usda.gov). If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: June 10, 2024.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for one year but may be extended upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of Participation: The appointment is full time.

Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. 

Citizenship Requirements: This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens only.

ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email ORISE.USFS.RMRS@orau.org and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate must have received a bachelor's degree in one of the relevant fields. Degree must have been received within the past ten years.

Preferred Skills:

  • Background in mechanical engineering and or/practical experience with fire
  • Strong interest in the subject matter and who is motivated to expand their skillset into research methods and computing related to fire sciences

The application must be completed through Zintellect. https://www.zintellect.com/Opportunity/Details/USDA-USFS-RMRS-2024-0186 

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Forestry