Benefits of working at the Institute
Positions are available for both master’s and Ph.D. students at the Institute; some are paid and some are not. We generally support at least 10 paid positions at any given time. The Institute is always looking for new talent for our projects.
What would you be doing?
Generally you would be working with a team under contract with small cities in Texas. The services we provide are generally of a planning or applied research nature.
How will this help me?
You will apply what you learn in class in the field. You will work with the client as a team lead or team member to help solve their planning and administrative challenges. This will include being able to read and understand ordinances; review plats; craft reports and presentations that present complex information to broad public audiences in brief; gain experience leading a team and/or being a team member; public speaking; group facilitation; and project management.
We have found that Ph.D. students benefit as well especially from the project management, public speaking, and teamwork aspects of the experience. Even if you go the academic route, you will co-author papers and co-PI projects; the ever-increasing demand for productivity from the academy requires an ability of researchers to ensure that their research is relevant and communicated outside the academy, as well as on-time and on-budget.
What are the time commitments?
This varies. If you are volunteering we only ask that you follow through on what you commit to. The paid positions however are not typical GRA positions. They are much more like a typical office environment. You are halftime salaried to work approximately 20 hours a week (hours may vary). The days are generally from 10-2:00 Monday through Thursday and as needed in evening or weekends for public meetings. Your classes come first; you will not miss a class for work. Most students are comfortable with taking nine hours in a semester and meeting the work requirements at the Institute.
What knowledge, skills, and abilities are we looking for?
If you are proficient in several of the following tools: ArcGIS, AutoCAD, SPSS, MS Office (Excel and Power Point in particular), Adobe Creative Suite (mostly Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign), Esri Business Analyst, Revit, and SketchUp; and you have experience or talents in graphic design, architecture, public speaking, group facilitation, survey instrument design, statistics, accounting, finance, economics, sociology, public health, engineering, government (especially local) and project management, any one of these experiences would be of value.