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Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Disproportionate Impacts of Environmental Challenges Working Group Graduate Assistants 

The deadline for this opportunity has passed for the 2020-21 academic year.

Disproportionate Impacts of Environmental Challenges Working Group Graduate Assistants (2) – starting September 2020, running through August 2021

The Disproportionate Impacts of Environmental Challenges Working Group seeks two Graduate Assistants (GAs) to join our interdisciplinary research team. We are looking for team members who are committed to interdisciplinary, community-centered, and problem-based research.

The Graduate Assistantships are designed to build interdisciplinary research capacity and leadership skills. GA roles will include developing background research and analysis to inform project design; contributing to research design; and participating in research implementation as appropriate. The GAs will be integrated members of the project team and supervised by a project faculty member.

Initial appointments are for a full academic year, beginning in September 2020, with a possibility of extension depending on team needs and satisfactory GA performance. Please indicate in your application which of the two GAships you are applying for.


Conducting Transdisciplinary Research Graduate Assistantship

The GA will contribute to the development of transdisciplinary approaches, models, and designs that respond to community needs. The goal of this work is to identify the principles, values, and processes that make transdisciplinary research more and less effective for solving environmental challenges. Duties will include developing a robust, systematic review of literature across multiple disciplines, sectors, and regions across the globe that examines theories, designs, implementation, and impact of transdisciplinary research, with particular attention to Native American and Indigenous research. Additional activities may include coordinating with multiple team members; contributing to manuscript preparation, development, and publication; and identifying opportunities for advancing transdisciplinary environmental research at Northwestern.


Effectively Practicing Community-Centered Environmental Research Graduate Assistantship

The GA will contribute to the development of community engagement protocols that focus on working with Indigenous communities across the globe. The goal of this work is two-fold: (1) to develop practices and principles for identifying communities to conduct research with; and, (2) to develop practices and principles for engaging in community-led research with target communities. Duties will include developing a method for identifying potential research communities that includes consideration of multiple drivers of environmental change, factors that contribute to the disproportionate impacts of environmental change, and the types and magnitude of environmental change that communities will face. Additional duties include conducting a systematic literature review to evaluate the impact of and assess the best practices and challenges for engaging with community-based environmental research, with a particular emphasis on Native American and Indigenous-led research.


Ideal Candidates will be:


Ideal Candidates will possess:


Additional Qualifications for the Transdisciplinary Research GA:


Additional Qualifications for the Community-Centered Practice GA:



Graduate Fellowships and Assistantships are open to all disciplines enrolled in The Graduate School at Northwestern University. Second language proficiency is preferred but not required. Preferred languages include Indigenous and Native American languages, Spanish, French, and Southeast Asian languages.

PhD students are eligible to be funded in their 3rd through 5th years. At the home school’s discretion, Humanities and Social Sciences PhD students may use up to 4 banked quarters to extend their funding through their 6th year.

In order to accept the appointment, selected Graduate Assistants must have the approval of the program DGS and primary thesis adviser. 

Graduate Fellows and Assistants must meet the eligibility requirements set for all students receiving financial aid and must follow all  TGS Regulations Governing Recipients of University Assistance. 



Monthly stipend (at advanced rate from current minimum TGS stipend rate) and tuition



  1. Statement of purpose: Please describe your research career goals, how this GAship will help you meet your goals, and what contributions you hope to make to the project. Please indicate which GAship you are applying for. (500 words or less)
  2. Dissertation abstract (500 words or less)
  3. Current CV (5 pages or less)
  4. Two letters of recommendation (to be sent directly to Ariel Schwartz at
    1. One letter should be from your dissertation advisor, commenting on your scholarship, potential, and research goals. It should also affirm their support of your accepting the appointment should you be selected.
    2. A second letter, from the Director of Graduate Studies in your home department, should affirm departmental approval of your acceptance of the appointment should you be offered the position.



The deadline for applicants to submit all application materials is Friday, May 22, 2020 (by 11:59 p.m. CT). Recommenders should send their letters no later than Friday, May 29, 2020 (by 11:59 p.m. CT).

Please compile your statement of purpose, your dissertation abstract, and your current CV into a single PDF document and send to Ariel Schwartz at

Please ask your recommenders to send their letters directly to Ariel Schwartz at



Email Ariel Schwartz at with questions.