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Position Available: Scientific Assistant – Tree Fruit Extension

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Join WSU’s Tree Fruit Extension Team.  Nationally, Washington ranks first in the production of apples, sweet cherries, and pears. The Washington tree fruit industry contributes more than $6 billion of annual impact to the state’s economy. The industry is committed to sustainable agricultural practices and conservation of water resources. Together with the State’s tree fruit industry, Washington State University strives to be the world leader in tree fruit research and education.


This position will support the research and outreach activities of the Tree Fruit Extension program focusing on soil quality and fire blight. The incumbent will work as part of the Tree Fruit Extension program team in North Central Washington which concentrates in the areas of sustainable pest management, organic tree fruit production, and soil health. The incumbent will perform a wide range of duties including field work, laboratory analysis, and organization of workshops and outreach activities. The incumbent will be responsible for managing and implementing fire blight, orchard floor management and soil quality trials, and assisting in outreach efforts. Required duties include field work including implementation, maintenance and data collection in trials. Other required activities include data entry, summary, statistical analysis, preparation of presentations and reports, workshop evaluation, and workshop marketing. He/She will assist in facilitating and advertising educational events and creating educational materials. Strong communication skills including written and verbal communication a must. High level of capability in computer software (spreadsheets, word processing and presentation) and the ability to learn new software required. Requirements include the ability to locate and purchase supplies, schedule and execute activities independently, and learn new procedures and protocols as required. Experimental and analytical skills, precision, reliability, understanding and knowledge of research theory, excellent organizational skills are required. Ability to work outdoors in all weather required.

TO APPLY visit  position 124997



  • Conduct fieldwork according to protocols provided.
  • Trial set up and application including application of new fire blight sprays.
  • Data collection including yield, tree growth, cover crop sampling, fire blight strike counts.
  • Tractor work including cultivation, mowing, etc.

Laboratory analysis

  • Conduct experiments per the protocols provided.
  • Processing of soil samples.
  • Enter and summarize data using computer spreadsheets and statistical software.


  • Communicate with growers and industry through phone calls, online database, email, and participation in local meetings.
  • Assist in the organization, marketing, and evaluation of educational events.
  • Assist in the development of presentations, reports and educational materials (which may include activities, videos, and manuals).

Project Organization

  • Locate and purchase supplies.
  • Schedule and execute activities independently.
  • Completion of purchasing and travel paperwork.


  • Other duties as assigned

Required Qualifications

A Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate related scientific or engineering discipline and three (3) years of progressively responsible related professional research experience. Any combination of relevant education and experience may be substituted for the educational requirement on a year-for-year basis. A Master’s degree in an appropriate related scientific or engineering discipline may be substituted for up to one year of the required work experience.

Essential Work Competencies

Knowledge, skills and abilities

  • Working knowledge of agricultural systems.
  • Able to communicate clearly though both spoken and written communication.
  • Experimental and analytical skills, precision, reliability, understanding and knowledge of research theory.
  • Basic field work skills necessary. Insect scouting experience preferred.

Mental Requirements

  • Initiative: takes ownership of his or her work, does what is needed without being asked, follows through on tasks and commitments.
  • Efficiency and Organization: Plans ahead, able to manage time and always thinking of better ways to do things.
  • Coachable: Receptive to feedback and willing to learn and embrace continuous improvement.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Ability to work as part of a team and work independently.

Physical Requirements

  • This position requires significant outdoor work from March to September. Wenatchee is hot in the summer and the incumbent will have to work in all weather conditions.
  • The incumbent will drive to study locations in the vicinity which may be multiple hours away.
Washington State University