Increasing the life-saving capacity of animal shelters and communities through education, shelter outreach, and development of new knowledge

Now Hiring! Student Hourly Research Assistants

UW Shelter Medicine Program Student Hourly Research Assistant

Employer: University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine- Shelter Medicine Program 

Pay: $10.00/hour

# of Positions: 1-4

Type of position: Part-time, seasonal (summer through fall or until 250 surveys are completed each year), with the possibility of continuing throughout the year depending on need

Contact Name: Stephanie Koester, Shelter Medicine Program Manager

Contact Email:

To Apply: Send resume, cover letter and weekly availability to as soon as possible. Applications will be accepted as long as position is still posted.


UW Shelter Medicine Program (UWSMP) in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) Pets for Life Program (PFL) and the University of Denver (DU) Institute for Human-Animal Connection (IHAC), is seeking a detail-oriented, flexible and strategic student employee(s) to join our team for a four year study. This is a unique opportunity for an individual with interest in being a part of advancing issues of cultural competence and working with underserved communities by conducting door-to-door surveys in designated communities in the Madison area. Surveying will take place seasonally for the next 4 years, typically from summer through fall (until 250 surveys are completed each year), with the possibility of continuing employment with UWSMP in some capacity throughout the year depending on need. Students willing to participate yearly for the 4 years of surveying seasons will be given priority.

The One Health framework, collaboratively proposed by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Medical Association, recognizes that human, non-human animal, and ecosystem health (henceforth referred to as the One Health triad) are interconnected. While individual correlations have been drawn between the components of the One Health triad, there have been no studies specifically documenting how effective companion animal welfare programming might drive improvements in both human and ecosystem health. HSUS’ PFL program offers a unique opportunity to rigorously study the One Health framework from an animal welfare perspective. PFL removes barriers to accessing companion animal-care services (e.g., spay/neuter, vaccinations, wellness exams, and behavioral training), supplies, and information in underserved communities through a person-centered approach. The focus of the PFL intervention on a single component of the One Health triad – companion animals – provides a unique opportunity to test the broader concept by measuring the secondary effects on the other two components. 

The Institute for Human-Animal Connection (IHAC), located in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver, is a leading academic center with an innovative research agenda aimed at advancing the understanding of the role of the human-animal bond across the lifespan at the individual, organizational, and community level. UWSMP is collaborating with IHAC and PFL on this study to measure the broad impacts of PFL programming on communities. 

The study will consist of two urban (Madison, WI and Seattle, WA) and two rural (Wilder, ID and Granger, WA) communities that will receive the PFL intervention. Each study community will be collecting both quantitative and qualitative data from their community over the four-year study period. The student hourly for the Madison site will operate out of UW School of Veterinary Medicine and will be supervised by UWSMP staff and IHAC’s Research Associate. Data will be collected in the four study communities using DU Institutional Review Board-approved protocols.  The data collected will consist of surveys of individual community members, desktop analysis of secondary data sources, and public information requests. All survey data will be collected by student hourlies using Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) survey software using dedicated electronic tablets by going door-to-door in the Madison study community.

The student hourly surveying is critical to the success of the study. The student(s) will be skilled in interpersonal communication, including community-specific language (fluency in Spanish preferred).  The student(s) will receive detailed training and instruction on the data collection protocol.

Essential Job Functions:

  1. Conduct door-to-door surveys in the study community.

  2. Work closely with UW Shelter Medicine Program, Pets for Life staff, and the Institute for Human-Animal Connection’s Research Team to implement the study.

  3. Other duties as assigned.

Education, Experience, Knowledge, Skills, Abilities:

  1. Interest in advancing issues of cultural competence and working with underserved communities

  2. Excellent interpersonal communications skills, including community-specific language, with preference for bilingual (Spanish speaking) candidates

  3. Excellent time management, with ability to work independently and adhere to a standard protocol

  4. Capability to work with remote team members

  5. Excellent organizational skills with a strong attention to detail

  6. Proficiency in Microsoft Office programs, especially Microsoft Excel

  7. Preferred: Professional or volunteer experience in public health or human healthcare; Candidate should be a highly motivated, enthusiastic self-starter with a professional attitude.

Other Requirements:

Valid Driver’s License required. Access to a vehicle during surveying hours preferred or willingness to use public transportation or a university vehicle will be considered.