Job Listing
🔗NPS Mellon Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow: Ripple Effect: The American River Experience

  • Fellowship
  • Full Time
  • Omaha, NE
  • $67,600 / year + 4% year two USD / Year
  • December 1, 2023
  • Job Qualifications:
    • Must be a PhD in any field of the humanities or humanistic social sciences. Scholars who received or will receive their PhD between May 1, 2019, and August 15, 2024, are eligible to apply. For more information on eligibility, visit the National Park Foundation’s NPS Mellon Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow page at
    • Familiarity with Indigenous Knowledge systems preferred.
    • Strong intercultural facilitation skills, experience communicating across cultural and disciplinary divides.
    • Strong civic engagement skills, including community organizing, campaign management, restorative justice work, community outreach.
    • Proficiency in strategic and practical writing.
    • Proficiency in developing curriculum, lesson plans, education and/or interpretative products and programming.
    • Strong policy analysis skills and a willingness to learn policy development practices.
    • Comfort in cross-disciplinary research.
    • Familiarity with western science and conventional resource stewardship and landscape management approaches.
    • Comfort around rivers and streams; paddling experience not required but recommended.

    Other Requirements:

    • Must be a US citizen or Permanent Resident, as required to comply with U.S. government contracts.
    • Must have a valid US driver’s license.
    • Must be proficient in English.
    • Must pass a federal background check; Fellowship is also contingent upon a successful security background check with the NPS.
    • Must be willing to abide by ACE Policy and Federal Drug Free workplace policies and laws. ACE reserves the right to drug test at any time.
    • Must be willing to abide by a requirement to acknowledge the Mellon Foundation, the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation, and American Conservation Experience, in any publications generated by this project.
    • Must be willing to abide by federal policy that research results, publications, films, videos, artistic or similar endeavors resulting from the fellowship, other than the specifically career-focused work, will become the property of the United States, and as such, will be in the public domain and not subject to copyright laws.
    • Consent to being photographed and to the release of such photographic images.
  • How to Apply:

    Full details about the position and how to apply at Ripple Effect: The American River Experience Postdoctoral Fellowship – Omaha, NE – Mellon Fellowships Jobs (

  • Job benefits: Medical / PTO and Sick Leave
  • Physical Demands / Work Environment: Details in the position description at
  • Application URL:

American Conservation Experience

America’s riverways play a vital role in the nation’s economy and biological integrity. They are also foundational to many key events in our nation’s history with bold stories to be told. It is important to understand the diverse significance of rivers to all people and their values and experiences. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (WSRA) was passed in 1968, reflecting America’s deep connection with rivers and streams, and a national desire to preserve some rivers in their more natural state to protect and enhance scenic, recreational, historic, and cultural values. In making regulatory decisions under the WSRA, a lot of attention has been paid to the recreational value of rivers. The cultural and historic values have often been overlooked.

The Fellow’s work will seek to address these, by exploring the way that communities form their civic or cultural identities around rivers. This is a relatively new and exciting area of research with academic and policy implications. To understand the dynamic and wide-encompassing aspect of American history and to explore the greater cultural and emotional river themes, a humanities scholar with a Ph.D. is needed to expand the knowledge of river-applied anthropology beyond human utility of rivers for westward expansion or industrial growth and generate a more inclusive account of the American river experience by exploring multiple perspectives of river-related history.

Fellow will (1) perform project-based research; (2) share research results; (3) produce and substantially contribute to interpretive and educational products; and (4) pursue career-focused work.

Project-Based Research: America’s riverways have had a deep and profound impact on the nation’s history and people in ways that encompass a diverse array of experiences, many of which have yet to be commonly shared. These connections remain today, though they often go unnoticed, are misunderstood, or lost in day to day living. Throughout American history, people have relied on and interacted with rivers every day, beyond the typical narrative of exploration and Eurocentric western expansion. The Fellow will have the flexibility to develop and implement a research strategy that further elucidates the varied significance of rivers to people and the meaning of rivers in a multicultural America. Examples of the types of research that may be employed include oral histories, interviews, archaeological/archival inventories, and literature reviews.

While the core of the project will be based in the Midwest/Central region of the United States, the potential for scalability and a national scope is high, as the Fellow would have regular access to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Program and National Steering Committee, a cadre of river managers from all parts of the country.

Sharing Research Results: The Fellow will be expected to develop and sustain connections with program-provided mentors and host staff, associated NPS staff, members of their Fellowship cohort, and other Fellows across the tenure of the program. In addition to being provided mentorship and support themselves, the Fellow will have the opportunity to mentor others and to enrich staff knowledge by organizing events such as virtual speaker series and presentations. Twice a year, the Fellow will participate with their cohort and other Fellows in a virtual conference for NPS staff and partners to provide updates about their research. The Fellow will be responsible for tracking and reporting accomplishments and for supplying copies of interpretive, educational, and research products to their host and to the National Coordinator. The Fellow will be expected to pursue opportunities to share their research results to a broader audiences and academic venues including the 2025 River Management Society Symposium, and other agency conferences in the fields of river and cultural resources management as well as Association of American Geographers Conferences or similar Anthropology Conferences. In addition to presentations to the wider WSR community and conferences, more formal published journal articles, and GIS products including StoryMaps would also be produced.

Interpretive and Educational Products: The Fellow will develop programmatic or interpretive products. These can take many forms, however virtual products or in-person products that river parks could easily and efficiently maintain, update, or recreate to focus on their park should be a key consideration. Potential examples include but are not limited to immersive guided tours with platforms such as StoryMaps, virtual reality tours, webinars, podcasts, wayside signs, brochures, activities, or artwork. This criterion is important because the consortia of river parks sponsoring this project span a wide geography, and many of these park units are smaller with limited resources. Content will also be created and adapted for

The Fellow will have freedom to exercise their creativity in developing the interpretive products based on what they learn from their research. The Support Team will work with them to ensure that the final products are appropriate for the specific audiences and meet the branding and technical requirements of the NPS.

Career-focused Research and Products: In consultation with their mentors, the Fellow will carry out a career-centered project. About 20 percent of the Fellowship will be dedicated to this scholarly work that advances the Fellow’s career path. The fellow will be integrated into a network of National Park Service professionals and collaborators to take part in the intricate relationships and working dynamics of water and land management. Mentors both in and outside of the NPS will be able to support the fellow in expanding their professional network and offering guidance in their research and product-development. This project is an opportunity for a post-doctoral candidate to develop or expand on work in a developing area of research while expanding their professional networks.

Essential Responsibilities and Tasks:

  • Research, document, and synthesize the demographic and multi-cultural values relevant to rivers within the Midwest Region, with a focus on WSRs and an emphasis on the experiences of underrepresented communities and the significance of rivers to them in the past, present, and future.
  • In collaboration with the Midwest Rivers Regional team, work with interested Native American community members to understand the meanings and uses of area rivers and identify areas of commonality with the Midwest Regional River Program, for example, regarding stewardship.
  • Identify specific tools and research strategies to explore how rivers have been frequented, engaged, or valued by diverse communities since the signing of the Declaration of Independence and before.
  • Participate fully as a member of the Midwest Region Planning and Compliance Team and Rivers Program to understand the mission of the NPS and contribute new perspectives on cultural engagement with respect to rivers and to better inform the Cultural Outstandingly Remarkable Values.
  • Attend NPS trainings and workshops to develop a deep understanding of how co-stewardship policies may be implemented between federal agencies and diverse communities.
  • Work with Rivers Coordinator to develop a consistent communications strategy to reach out to diverse communities and newer audiences with inclusive river stewardship in mind.
  • Work closely with the mentorship team to effect personal growth, career development and viability of project outcomes and products.
  • Develop and annotate a list of key contacts to support continuity of communications and relationships with diverse communities.
  • NCPE Internships: Eligibility & How to Apply


    All NCPE interns received an hourly stipend, the rate is listed at each position description. Additionally, interns receive paid time off (PTO), paid Federal holidays if working full-time, and access to NCPE's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for career and personal counseling, coaching, and referrals. Project sites may also offer a housing allowance and/or commuting stipend; this information is also listed in the description or offered during the interview.

    As an organization operating under Public Land Corps Act (PLC) authority, many NCPE positions qualify the intern for Federal Hiring Preference if (1) they complete a minimum of 640 hours at one or more qualifying conservation project(s); (2) are between the ages of 16 and 30 years (35 if a veteran); and (3) apply for a Federal position at USAJOBS with PLC noted in the announcement within two years of completing the internship. Find out more about this hiring preference during the interview or contact for details.


    To be eligible, applicants must be currently enrolled in a degree-seeking academic program or recently graduated (within the past 12 months) and be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident. Interns are not eligible to work more than 1200 hours total in the program; previous interns must stay within this overall limit. The length of an internship can vary from 10 to 30 weeks if full time (40 hours per week) or longer if on a part-time schedule. If selected, the exact starting date will be determined by you and the NPS supervisor. The stipend rate is $17.00 per hour unless otherwise listed.

    The successful candidate is responsible for finding and paying for travel to and housing at the internship location; some exceptions apply. The supervising office may be able to assist in locating housing but it is ultimately up to the individual accepting the internship to find accommodation.

    The National Council requires all interns working in-person at Federal facilities and/or with Federal employees receive the Covid-19 vaccination. Please be advised that you may also be required to wear a mask, depending on the protocols adopted by your work site. Also be aware that, due to Government-wide security requirements, a background check will be required if you are selected for a position. This will include providing information about recent housing and employment history. The position supervisor will have more information about these requirements and procedures at the time of hiring. You may direct any questions to NCPE's Internship Program Director, Julee Johnson, at

    Please note that interns are not NCPE or NPS employees. Stipends are academic awards and taxes are not withheld, nor are social security contributions made on your behalf. These funds may be taxable, however, so consult a tax preparation professional if you have questions.

    How to Apply

    You may review NCPE's internship opportunities during the Summer and Winter application rounds without registering. Use the search function to find listings by location, keyword, or area of interest/category. Once you identify one or more positions of interest, there is a 3-step application process.

    Step 1: Click on the Apply for Job button, then select Universal Application. Click on Register to create a User Account, which requires a username and email. A link will be sent to you from to create a password. We suggest that you add this email to your safe senders list so you don't miss receiving this important link. You will be instructed to Log In to Preservenet using your user name or email and password, which will take you back to the Universal Application.

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    Step 3: Once you submit the Universal Application, you may browse and apply for NCPE internships using the link provided. Complete the application process by clicking on the Apply for job button found at each internship listing and upload the required Essay. Use the essay to explain why you are applying for an internship, including how your interest areas will benefit the National Park Service (NPS) and how the internship will further your studies and career goals. Be as specific as possible; there is a 400-word maximum length. Submit the essay to finish the application for that position. You may apply for a maximum of 6 internships during this application round. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!

    Once the deadline for submission has passed, NPS supervisors will review the applications and may contact candidates for a phone interview. Candidates who are not selected will be notified. Please allow about 4 weeks after the deadline before inquiring about the status of your application.

Logging in with a Registered User Account and completing the Universal Application is required to apply for NCPE Internships. Please visit the Universal Application page to register for an account and complete the form. After logging in and completing the form, refreshing this listing will display the Job Application to apply online.

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