Earth and Planetary Sciences: Microscope Assistant

DEPARTMENT: Earth and Planetary Sciences


Available Fall 2017

This position for a microscope assistant will emphasize work with a dissecting microscope, hand-picking microscopic insect remains to isolate them from Arctic lake sediments and then mounting them on slides.

Depending upon student interests, work may also involve processing lake sediment samples using acid and base treatments, wet sieving samples in water, laboratory note-taking, data entry into Excel spreadsheets, and assisting lab members with various other research tasks. Students may choose their own work hours but must maintain consistent schedules throughout a given quarter, and plan to work 5-12 hrs/wk.

Research in the Axford lab is aimed at reconstructing past and ongoing environmental changes and climate changes using sediment records, with a focus on paleolimnology (the study of lake sediment records). We work to answer questions about what causes climate change, and how climate change over the past 10,000 years has affected ecosystems and other aspects of the natural environment in the Arctic.

Techniques used in the lab range from geochemical (for example, the analysis of stable isotopes in sediments to infer past aridity) to paleobiological (using species analysis of subfossil insect remains to infer past temperatures).


Must be an NU undergraduate student with a Federal Work-Study allotment for the 2017-18 academic year.

Students should have previous lab experience, OR other experience demonstrating attention to detail and tolerance for repetitive tasks. Previous successful experience working with microscopes is a plus, as is interest in earth science, environmental science, biology, chemistry and/or visual arts. Candidates must be reliable, professional, and detail-oriented.

Position will last 10 weeks initially, with potential for a longer-term appointment. To apply, please email with a description of your qualifications and interest in the position.

PAY RATE: $10.75/hr

CONTACT NAME: Melissa Chipman, Postdoctoral Researcher