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Agricultural Research Technologist 3

Washington State University Everett

Washington State University Everett

Mt Vernon, WA, USA
Posted on Friday, February 2, 2024

Available Title(s):

570G-YN_CS_NPS - Agricultural Research Technologist 3

Business Title:

Agricultural Research Technologist 3

Employee Type:


Time Type:

Full time

Position Term:

12 Month

Position Details:

Summary of Duties:

Assist with the design, set-up, maintenance, and completion of field, laboratory, and greenhouse research and extension trials, both at the NWREC and off-station, for the Vegetable Seed Pathology Program at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC. Due to the environment in which the person in this position will be working, the person must be willing to work outdoors under a range of weather conditions, and with a diversity of crops, plant pathogens, arthropod pests, and natural enemies. The person must be willing to travel to field trial sites in Washington, including in central Washington, and occasionally in cooperative sites in other states, with overnight stays. The person must be willing to work in conventional and organic agricultural production systems. The person must be willing to work with or in the vicinity of lab and agricultural chemicals for which appropriate safety measures, equipment, and training are provided.

Laboratory duties | 30%

  • Operate, calibrate, and maintain plant pathology laboratory equipment and instruments (including autoclaves, balances, centrifuges, electrophoresis units, incubators, laminar flow hoods, biological safety cabinets, dissecting and compound microscopes, pH meters, water baths, regular and real-time PCR thermal cyclers, and various other molecular and classical plant pathology lab equipment).

  • Work with diverse bacterial, fungal, viral, and nematode pathogens of vegetable and vegetable seed crops grown in the Pacific Northwest. Use relevant techniques for isolation, culture, and inoculation of plants.

  • Follow all Standard Operating Procedures and policies to maintain relevant laboratory permits (e.g., USDA APHIS PPQ 526 permits for receiving specific domestic and international shipments of plant pathogen cultures/plant samples).

  • Perform microscope-based identification of fungal plant pathogens, characterization of biological and physical attributes of fungal and bacterial plant pathogens, and perform molecular procedures, such as PCR and quantitative PCR assays, genotyping using microsatellite markers, analyzing DNA sequence data, and performing DNA and RNA extractions in a research setting.

  • Maintain culture collections and regulatory permits related to the culture collections.

  • Maintain cleanliness and safety of laboratories.

  • Follow established safe handling procedures when working with chemicals and equipment.

Greenhouse and field duties | 25%

  • Apply pesticides (fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides) in field and greenhouse environments, and calibrate and maintain sprayers. Drive tractor and operate general farm and greenhouse research equipment; calibrate seeders and drills, irrigation equipment, and fertilizer injection systems.

  • Install, use, and maintain dataloggers and spore traps for monitoring micro-environmental conditions and dispersal of plant pathogens, respectively, in relation to development of diseases affecting vegetable/seed crops.

  • Use relevant horticultural and plant pathology techniques for effective maintenance of plants/trials, inoculation of plant pathogens, monitoring and assessment of plant diseases, and data collection.

  • Follow established safe handling procedures when working with chemicals and equipment.

Data collection, data entry, recording of methods and results, compiling reports | 25%

  • Design, implement, maintain, and evaluate experimental field, greenhouse, growth chamber, and laboratory experiments in plant pathology.

  • Develop new methods and investigative assays and test their reliability experimentally.

  • Document experimental evidence using various instruments, photographic, and computer resources.

  • Analyze and interpret experimental data using relevant statistical analyses and computer software (including SAS or R).

  • Develop graphs and tables for research publications using relevant computer software (including Excel, Powerpoint, Word, etc.).

  • Complete searches of literature, assimilate technical information, write project reports and drafts of manuscripts for research and extension publications, and serve as a co-author on relevant publications.

  • Prepare summaries of research projects for oral presentations, and present project findings to staff, government, agricultural and other groups at professional and grower meetings, workshops, field days, and other outreach/extension events.

  • Maintain accurate and neat records.

  • Follow established safe handling procedures when working with chemicals and equipment.

Miscellaneous duties | 15%

  • Perform senior level research and investigative duties in plant pathology under the general direction of the Vegetable Seed Pathology program leader.

  • Supervise and train interns and timeslip employees, and train graduate students, postdoctoral research associates, and visiting scholars in the program.

  • Coordinate work with other employees, and maintain good relations with employees, other research and extension programs, the agricultural community, and the public.

  • Maintain inventory of lab, greenhouse, and field supplies for the Vegetable Seed Pathology program; order supplies in a timely manner.

Service | 5%

  • Contribute to a constructive citizenship for the Vegetable Seed Pathology program, the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC, the Department of Plant Pathology, and the greater WSU community by serving on relevant committees, including search committees, engaging in relevant professional development (including attending grower and professional meetings), and contributing to a positive work environment.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in the applied, biological, chemical, physical OR agri­cultural sciences AND two years of experience as an Agricultural Research Technologist 2; OR equivalent education/experience.

  • For past education or work experience to be considered equivalent, the duties or course work must relate to plant pathology, horticulture, plant and soil sciences, and/or analytical chemistry or biology laboratory utilizing techniques relating to the isolation and identification of fungal and bacterial plant pathogens, DNA extractions, standard PCR assays and quantitative PCR assays, and sequencing for identifications.

  • Must have a valid Washington State Pesticide Applicator’s License or be willing to obtain one within 3 months of hire.

  • Must have a valid driver’s license at time of hire and at least 2 years of driving experience.

  • Ability to travel on multi-day (overnight) trips away from the primary work location.

  • Ability to plan, develop, and execute multiple research projects.

  • Strong computer skills including proficiency in Microsoft Office and other equipment and statistical analysis software packages.

  • Good verbal and written communication skills.

  • Experience relating to effective employee supervision.

  • Experience with effective operation of laboratory and molecular equipment.

  • Ability to communicate effectively with supervisor, collaborators, and workers.

  • Ability to work well in a cooperative lab environment.

  • Prior experience with field, laboratory, and greenhouse research experiments in plant pathology.

  • Experience operating laboratory instrumentation.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s Degree or equivalent in Plant Pathology or related discipline.

  • Experience in plant pathology research in field, greenhouse, and lab environments. Competent understanding of plant pathology, plant disease management, and plant pathology research methods.

  • Five years of experience in a plant pathology laboratory utilizing standard isolation and standard/molecular identification techniques such as morphometric measurement of spores, DNA extractions, standard PCR assays, and quantitative PCR assays.

  • Evidence of publication in peer-reviewed journals.

  • Experience in horticulture, botany, agriculture, and chemistry relating to etiology, epidemiology and control of plant diseases, preferably vegetable diseases.

  • Experience in seed pathology methods and research, including seed quality and seed health testing.

  • Experience in diagnosis of plant diseases (preferably vegetable pathogens).

  • Experience operating farm machinery.

Additional Information:


College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS)

Department Name:

WSU Mount Vernon NWREC

City, State, Zip:

Mount Vernon, WA, 98273

Department Link:



Monthly Salary:

Range 45 | $3,796.00 - $5,088.00 (Steps A - M) | Successful candidates typically begin at the beginning of the salary range and receive scheduled salary increment increases in accordance with WAC 357-28.

WSU offers a comprehensive benefits package which includes: paid sick and vacation leave; paid holidays; medical, dental, life and disability insurance package for employees and dependents; retirement; deferred compensation and optional supplemental retirement accounts.

For a more detailed summary of benefits offered by WSU for classified staff visit: https://hrs.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/2024-Benefit-Overview-for-Civil-Service.pdf

Find total compensation here: https://hrs.wsu.edu/managers/recruitment-toolkit/total-compensation/.



Position Type:
This is a Permanent position.

Posting Close Date:

Applicants must submit their completed application by Sunday, March 3, 2024 at 11:59 p.m.

Background Check:

This position has been designated by the department to require a background check because it requires access to children or vulnerable adults as defined by RCW 74.34, engages in law enforcement, requires security clearance, interacts with WSU students in a counseling or advising capacity, has access to personal identifying and/or financial information, unsupervised access to university buildings/property, or other business-related need. A background check will not be completed until an initial determination of qualification for employment has been made.

Application Instructions:

Please upload all documents in the “Resume/CV” section of your application. Documents may be submitted in one file or separate files. Applicants are encouraged to upload as a PDF if possible . Applicants will be requested to provide contact information for professional references within the online application.

Application materials should clearly communicate how the applicant meets all required qualifications and additional requirements.

Required Documents:

  • Resume/CV

  • Cover Letter

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION EDUCATOR AND EMPLOYER. Members of ethnic minorities, women, special disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam-era, recently separated veterans, and other protected veteran, persons of disability and/or persons age 40 and over are encouraged to apply.

WSU employs only U.S. citizens and lawfully authorized non-U.S. citizens. All new employees must show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

WSU is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact Human Resource Services: 509-335-4521 (v), Washington State TDD Relay Service: Voice Callers: 1-800-833-6384; TDD Callers: 1-800-833-6388, 509-335-1259(f), or hrs@wsu.edu.