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Summer Internship – Click here to apply

We are currently offering summer internships for undergraduate students living in the Champaign-Urbana area. Interns will start around May 20, 2024, and end around August 9, 2024. During this period, interns will learn and gain hands-on experience conducting wheat and oat breeding operations, primarily in the field. This internship is an excellent opportunity for students interested in gaining experience working in an applied plant breeding program. Interns will also gain exposure to various research projects that we are conducting to help improve breeding strategies.

Specific Activities

  • Phenotype research plots for days-to-heading, plant height, disease resistance, and other traits.
  • Rogue off-types from seed increases and hoe weeds from research plots.
  • Collect individual spikes or panicles from plots to derive and purify lines.
  • Hand harvest, thresh, and clean seed.
  • Assist with grain sample collection during combine harvest.
  • Pack, and arrange seeds in preparation for fall planting.
  • Collect oat grain quality data.
  • Assist with other tasks as needed.


Applicants must be undergraduate students with a strong interest in hands-on work and working outdoors. Applicants must be available to work for the entire internship period including during the June 19th and July 4th holidays. Experience with agriculture or field work is a plus, but not required.

Hours, pay, and location

Interns will work Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 5pm, with a 1-hour unpaid lunch break. The hourly rate is $14 per hour. In a given week, hours worked over 40 will be paid as overtime, which is $22 per hour. Interns are to report to work at the Agronomy Seed House on the University of Illinois South Farms. Work will take place primarily on the South Farms. Occasionally, interns will travel to one of our 10 locations around the state of Illinois to carry out job duties.

Postdoctoral Research Associate- Click here to apply

Under the supervision of Dr. Jessica Rutkoski, this position will evaluate predictive breeding strategies utilizing high-throughput phenotyping and genomic selection. The incumbent will lead and carry out all aspects of their research, including phenotyping across multiple locations throughout the season, managing research data, analyzing data, and writing research articles. The incumbent will also coordinate and work as a team with other members of the research group as needed to achieve broader research goals, and to contribute to applied breeding.

This position is funded by a USDA-NIFA grant entitled ‘Phenomic Assisted Genomic Selection To Accelerate Grain Yield Improvement in Small Grains.’ 

To be considered for this position, applicants must have received a Ph.D. in Crop Sciences, Plant Breeding, or a closely related field within the past 4 years. 


Working environment

All group members must strive to create a respectful, pleasant, and productive environment where each person can learn and do their best work. Ensure that your words and behaviors are guided by the core values: 

  • Respect- Show respect for people and property through your words and actions.
  • Honesty- Speak and act truthfully.
  • Optimism- Adopt a ‘can-do’ attitude. 
  • CreativityDevelop new and better ways of doing things. 
  • Growth- Continually improve yourself.

Health and safety

All group members should take measures to maintain a safe work environment. Understand and respect the safety precautions associated with equipment, chemicals, and other hazards in the workplace.


We believe that all our research is of high quality and worth sharing with the plant breeding community via publication in peer-reviewed journals. All graduate students and post-docs are expected to write 1 first-author publication per year on average. These publications may include a combination of review articles, germplasm release articles, and research articles.

Contact Dr. Arbelaez or Dr. Rutkoski for more information about expectations of group memebers