Careers in the Plant Sciences

Science Support Technician for Biology Plant Facility

Vassar College - Poughkeepsie, NY, United States

Position Title: Science Support Technician for Biology Plant Facility
Position Type: Technician
Application Review Begins: Monday, September 16, 2019
Application Deadline: Thursday, October 31, 2019
Institution: Vassar College
Department/Division: Biology
Field (e.g., systematics):
City: Poughkeepsie, NY, United States
General Information: The Science Support Technician for Biology Plant Facility is responsible for the daily maintenance of greenhouse and environmental growth chamber facilities, curation of Biology's herbarium collection, and preparation of teaching laboratories for various courses at the introductory and intermediate level, including but not limited to, courses in plant biology.
Qualifications/Requirements: Responsibilities:
Greenhouse Coordination:
Oversee the Biology Department's living plant collection.
Ensure that specimens are identified, labeled, and the database that houses the plant inventory is up to date.
Identify and treat plant diseases and insect pests using IPM strategies.
Monitor and inspect facilities and equipment for signs of disrepair. Perform routine maintenance and schedule repairs with Facilities Operations.
Oversee the operation of the automated greenhouse environmental control system (Argus) and associated greenhouse equipment.
Set the propagation, planting, pruning, fertilizing, and watering schedule for plants.
Select and purchase seeds, plant nutrients, soil medium, disease and insect pest control chemicals, biocontrols, and equipment.
Estimate costs of needed supplies and specimens and budget the available funds.
Supervise the daily tasks of student workers in the care of plants, including propagation, planting, pruning, fertilizing, and watering.
Create a schedule to ensure coverage of the facility over college breaks.
Hire and train new student workers, including OSHA and EPA training. Enforce safety regulations and policies.
Schedule use of greenhouse, supplies and equipment by faculty and student researchers.
Lead tours of the greenhouse for outreach to the Vassar and Poughkeepsie community Environmental growth chamber management.
Schedule use of growth chambers by faculty and student researchers.
Monitor and inspect chambers for proper cleanliness and functioning.
Perform routine maintenance and schedule repairs with Facilities Operations or service technicians.

Herbarium Coordination:
Assist students, faculty and staff in identifying incoming plant specimens to species level.
Create herbarium sheets for preserved specimens by fumigating, pressing and mounting plant specimens.
Regularly inspect preserved specimens in herbarium cabinets for damage, and repair or replace damaged specimens.
Maintain searchable record of specimens in the collection, including digitized herbarium sheets.
Respond to requests for viewing herbarium sheets from researchers.
Assist and train students, faculty and staff in proper use of the herbarium; and collection, pressing, drying, mounting, labelling, and filing specimens; as needed.

Biology laboratory course support:
Prepare and organize supplies, materials, solutions, and equipment for laboratory sessions. Reserve equipment when necessary. Clean up after laboratory sessions.
Assist faculty during laboratory sessions as needed, typically by guiding students in equipment use and driving for field trips.
Assist with teaching students how to use equipment and other resources for their independent research.
Care of live organisms, which requires specific knowledge of plants, vertebrates, invertebrates, and bacterial and viral cultures.
Computer management.
Supervise student laboratory assistants.
Course purchases and budgeting.
Other duties as assigned.

This position is part-time, 34 hours/week for 34 weeks and 20 hours/week for 18 weeks.
Responsibilities: Qualifications:
A Bachelor's degree in plant biology or a related field is required.
Valid driver's license required.
Must have or be willing to acquire a NYS Pesticide Applicator's license.
Maintain active memberships in professional organizations, e.g. the Society of Herbarium Curators, Herbarium Junkies Facebook group, to stay up to date on best practices preferred.
Must be able to work independently.
Strong competencies in written and verbal communications.
Strong organizational skills are required, as is the ability to successfully execute multiple tasks.
Excellent computer skills.
Ability to establish and maintain effective and harmonious work relations with Faculty, staff, and students.
Application Instructions (submission methods, etc.): Resume
Cover Letter
Contact Information for 3 References
To complete your on-line application, you will be required to attach your cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 professional references. All attachments must be in PDF format. Review of applications will begin immediately. This position will remain open until filled.
Compensation Range:
Contact Name: Bill Strauss,