opportunity for undergraduate students

Seeking 2021 Freshwater Fellow

    The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve in Superior, WI is excited to announce the third year of the Lake Superior Freshwater Fellowship Program. The Freshwater Fellowship presents an exciting, immersive, and multidisciplinary opportunity for undergraduate students to independently craft and conduct research under the guidance of a Reserve mentor.  With a focus on the St. Louis River Estuary and Lake Superior, the Fellowship provides a professional development experience that engages students in coastal and estuarine research, education, training, and stewardship. One student is selected each year to work with coastal partners at the local and national level and communicate their research to a variety of audiences.  Research will align with the Lake Superior Reserve’s priority coastal issues but range across disciplines. All majors are encouraged to apply.

    About the Lake Superior Reserve:

    The Lake Superior Reserve, designated in 2010 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is one of a system of 29 Research Reserves nationwide committed to long‐term research, education, outreach and stewardship to improve the understanding of coastal systems and the practice of coastal management. The Reserve’s work includes research on invasive aquatic and terrestrial species, monitoring and restoration within the estuary and watershed, environmental education and outreach and specialized training for coastal decision makers. The Reserve grows and strengthens a wide range of community partnerships to promote and facilitate the best practices in education, science, and management on the Lake Superior coast. The Reserve’s current priority coastal issues include 1) climate change, 2) water quality and healthy ecosystems, and 3) strengthening community and sense of place.

    Freshwater Fellowship Outcomes:

    • Develop, conduct, and disseminate an independently led research project aligned with the Lake Superior Reserve’s mission and priority work areas with the support of a Reserve mentor
      • Author an accepted project proposal
      • Manage a small research budget
      • Present research findings at a local or regional conference
    • Gain experience in each of the Lake Superior Reserve’s core areas
      • Support the Lake Superior Reserve’s education and outreach programs and events
      • Work with the Coastal Training Program Coordinator on workshop and training development
      • Support the Research and System-Wide Monitoring Programs in the field and laboratory
      • Assist the Reserve manager with a community partnership or leadership activity
    • Work closely with a Lake Superior Reserve mentor and participate in networking opportunities (such as professional conferences) to further academic and career goals

    Position Details

    • We are offering an 11-month position located at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, 14 Marina Dr., Superior, WI 54880.
    • Expected start date is late January 2021 but is flexible with applicant’s academic schedule.
    • The position is 5-10 hours per week during the Spring and Fall academic semesters and 15-25 hours during the summer.
    • Pay is $15.00 per hour.
    • Student will manage a $750 research budget for supplies, laboratory analysis, conference travel etc.

    Eligibility and Minimum Qualifications

    • Must be actively enrolled in University of Wisconsin-Superior during the Spring and Fall 2021 semesters and be in good academic standing. The applicant should be of at least sophomore standing as of January 2021. All majors encouraged.
    • Able to communicate ideas clearly and effectively (verbally and in writing).
    • Reliable work ethic and dedication to the learning and professional development outcomes of this position.
    • Capable of prioritizing and completing tasks independently.
    • Knowledge and skills to effectively interact with people from different cultural backgrounds, including those associated with race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, socioeconomic status, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and other aspects of human diversity.
    • No prior research experience required.
    Apply Now

    Research Topics

    Topics include but are not limited to: freshwater science, wetland ecology, biology, invasive species, applied chemistry, geology, GIS, engineering, anthropology, maritime archaeology, psychology, sustainability, climatology, economics, history, political science, art and more. We invite interdisciplinary creative ideas that relate to the St. Louis River Estuary and our work.

    Previous Student Research Projects

    Hannah Burgstaler (2020), St. Louis River Estuary Water Level and Canada Geese Population Effect on Manoomin Survival Rate

    Jenny Sherren (2019). Effectiveness of Light-based Traps in the Early Detection of Bloody Red Shrimp (Hemimysis anomala) in Lake Superior.

    Risa Askerooth (2019). Post-Restoration Assessment of Habitat and Aquatic Biota in a Lake Superior Estuary.

    Sam Hansen (2018). Effect of Water Recreation on Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) Abundance in Northern Wild Rice (Zizania palustris) Bays.

    Adam Lein (2017). Comparison of Continuous In-situ Chlorophyll Measurements with Laboratory Chlorophyll Concentration Estimation by Fluorescence in Freshwater and Saltwater Estuaries.

    Kacey Hirshfeld (2017). At the Helm: Steering Coastal Decisions Through Shipboard Learning.

    More Information

    From robust science to effective science communication and educational programming, the Lake Superior Reserve engages broadly in efforts to improve the understanding of Lake Superior’s coast and estuaries. We envision a Lake Superior where all coastal watersheds and estuaries are understood, valued and thriving. To accomplish this, we prioritize work on climate change, water quality, healthy ecosystems, strengthening communities, and developing a sense of place. We’ve created a fellowship as unique as the St. Louis River estuary itself. The Freshwater Fellow will bring a fresh perspective as they design and lead a research investigation that will lead to improved understanding in one or more of the Reserve’s priority work areas:

    Coastal Research: Conduct applied research and monitoring to increase the understanding of Lake Superior freshwater estuaries and coastal ecosystems

    Education: Educate youth, students, community members and visitors about Lake Superior freshwater estuaries and coastal resources and improve their ability to address coastal issues

    Coastal Training: Increase the ability of community leaders and other decision makers to address critical Lake Superior coastal management issues

    Stewardship: Protect and enhance the ecological health of the St. Louis River Watershed and Lake Superior coastal habitats

    Visit National Estuarine Research Reserve System and Lake Superior Reserve for more information.

    Apply Now

    The position will remain open until January 4th, 2021.


    Hannah Ramage hannah.ramage@wisc.edu
    (715) 399-4088
    Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve 14 Marina Dr. Superior WI, 54880