Position Title: Science Communication Assistant
Park Unit: Denali National Park and Preserve
Location: Denali Park, Alaska
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 12 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 01/13/2025
Flexible Start Date: YES

Weekly Stipend: $565.00
Relocation Allowance: $1,050.00

CURRENT NUMBER OF APPLICANTS: Under 75 (This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first.)

Spruce beetles are a natural part of Alaska’s forest ecosystems and have a long history of initiating large spruce forest die-off events in many regions of the state. They are a native insect and their dispersal, and periodic outbreaks, are natural processes. However, when in outbreak status, they may cause extensive spruce mortality across the landscape that can be visually striking for decades. A recent outbreak of spruce beetles in southcentral, and now Interior Alaska has drawn increased attention to both the aesthetic and ecological effects they can have.

The Denali National Park entrance area currently sits at the northern edge of the infestation, and high rates of spruce mortality are visible across southern portions of the park, in forested lands along major transportation corridors, and in park-adjacent communities. In just a few years “Why are all the trees dead?” may be one of the top questions asked at the Denali Visitor Center. It will be essential for park staff and partners to capture the details of change within the Denali Park entrance area in real-time, and effectively tell the story of the spruce beetle outbreak to the public, possibly for decades to come.

This position, supervised by the Fire Ecologist, will work closely with other resource management and interpretation and education staff to develop a diverse set of media material to encompass the overarching themes of spruce beetle biology, forest disturbance, forest ecology, recreation hazards, fire risk or other emerging issues and needs related to the spruce beetle outbreak within the Denali environment.

Impacts of this spruce bark beetle outbreak are multi-faceted and complex. The interdisciplinary and immediate need for attention on this issue make it difficult for any one person to fit into their existing workload. The selected intern will focus solely on development of spruce beetle-related visual media intended to facilitate quality interpretive, educational, and scientific programming that can be used by park and partner staff to educate and engage the public for years to come.


Work products will include several of the following: (1) a series of simple, yet visually compelling infographics detailing the stages of spruce beetle infestation at the tree, forest, and landscape scales; and/or other visual aids to assist in explaining and exploring spruce beetle effects to be used by park personnel and partners in a variety of potential future media (i.e. bulletin board displays); (2) a communications strategy (vetted by an interdisciplinary team) that ensures messaging opportunities cover a suite of appropriate ecological concepts; (3) a frequently asked questions sheet incorporating the best available and locally-specific information on outbreak status, visible impacts, and ecological context; (4) a web article explaining widespread spruce mortality at Denali along with several draft social media posts (to be used during the busy season); (5) a summary of local research and planning efforts instigated by the outbreak; and/or (6) a “brown bag” style presentation to highlight media created with park staff and partners, to be recorded and available for later reference.


Applicants must have completed at least three years toward a degree in the biological or ecological sciences, scientific communication, or natural resource management with a preference for those candidates with completed coursework in graphic design, visual arts, or data visualization. Additional coursework in forestry, ecological disturbance, fire ecology, plant physiology, entomology, and/or technical writing will make the applicant most competitive. Experience planning and managing projects and strong organizational and computer skills are required. The applicant should be able to work well independently, but also interface well with a diverse set of colleagues to effectively communicate scientific concepts and develop visual media.

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident (“Green Card holder”). Prior to starting this position, a government security background clearance will be required. The applicant must be available to participate for 12 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

Denali National Park and Preserve is located in Interior Alaska and offers unparalleled opportunities for solitude and exploration in a largely untouched landscape. Skiing, snowshoeing, and otherwise enjoying Denali's wild landscape in the least visited season –winter– is an opportunity of a lifetime. This position offers the chance to immerse oneself in the extremity of subarctic winter, experience the northern lights, view natural landscapes in transition, and live in one of the least populated areas of the country. Some food and community services are available in Healy (15 miles north of park) year-round. Larger city services are located in Fairbanks, 120 miles north of the park entrance. There are limited shopping opportunities after arrival, so it is very important to come prepared.

This work is primarily computer based, in an office building shared with fire management and resource protection staff. Although direct supervision and support are provided by the park’s Fire Ecologist, it is critical that applicants be self-motivated, innovative, and willing to ask for help promptly when assistance is needed.


  • Applicant must have a valid driver's license to drive a government vehicle.
  • A personal vehicle is recommended for this position.

Park housing is available and will be provided at no cost to the participant. Housing can be provided at no cost to the participant and is a short walk from the office. Housing consists of a comfortable 20’ x 20’ cabin shared with one other person. The kitchen, dining, and living space are shared and bedrooms are private. Kitchens are stocked with dishes and basic cookware. Bedding for a twin matress is needed. Cabins are “dry” meaning without running water, but water is available in the nearby communal bathroom/laundry/shower house.

forest disturbance, graphics, design, art, data visualization, ecological change, insects, fire ecology, education, interpretation

This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications, or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first. Once you begin applying for a position, the application must be completed in one sitting. You cannot save and return later to complete it. Applicants can apply for up to five Scientists in Parks Intern positions per winter. You need to complete a separate application for each position in order to be considered. You should receive a confirmation email after successfully submitting an application. Sometimes institutional email filters/settings can redirect or block emails related to the application. We recommend watching spam, junk, and promotional email folders in case your service delivers messages there. Please visit How to Apply for additional resources and information about applying (i.e., learn what materials to have ready for applying, find a worksheet that previews application questions, etc.)