Funding assistance available for PSM graduate students

Below you will find a complete listing of opportunities for Fall 2024 and Spring 2025 semesters

As graduate students in PSM there are several opportunities to work as Graduate Classroom Support or ¼-time Graduate Teaching Assistants for PSM courses. There is also an opportunity to apply for a ½-time ISB Teaching Assistantship. Below are some general guidelines on the differences between what is required for Graduate Classroom Support and Graduate Teaching Assistant. 


  • Graduate Classroom Support(GCS; hourly pay) - may include lab preparation, setup/take down, monitoring a discussion board, grading of an assignment. Per University Guidelines this opportunity is only for U.S. citizens or permanent residents unless a waiver has been requested (please see the PSM graduate administrative assistant for further information).
  • ¼-time Graduate Teaching Assistant- includes responsibility for a laboratory or a recitation section. 

o  Students who serve as ¼-time Teaching Assistants are required by the University to complete the MSU Teaching Assistant Orientation. The orientation is offered prior to the start of the fall semester. Students should attend the orientation in the academic year they serve as a teaching assistant. 


If you are interested in applying for any of these opportunities, please discuss this with your major professor and email the instructor of the course you are interested in (see attachment) by May 15. Your email should include your CV or Resume and a paragraph on your qualifications and why you are interested in the Graduate Classroom Support or Graduate Teaching Assistant opportunity.



Christy Sprague

Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) and Graduate Classroom Support (GCS) Opportunities for 2024-2025


Fall 2024:

CSS 126 Weed Management

Asynchronous online

Erin Hill,

Graduate Classroom Support will assist with grading of the three-part Digital Weed Profile project. The project deals with plant identification, morphology, ecology, and management (cultural, biological and chemical). Based on experience there is also the option to assist with up to two crop specific discussion groups (10 weeks in duration). Applicants should have plant identification experience and have taken at least one weed science/management course. The time commitment varies throughout the semester based on the three project deadlines (i.e. usually mid-September, mid-October, and early December).  A maximum of 30 hours of work during the semester is supported.


CSS 226L Weed Science Laboratory

This course has 3-4 sections, with GTA instruction of 1-2. The timing can be based on GTA availability and experience.

Section 1- Mondays 12:40-2:30pm

Section 2 (Turf)- Mondays 3:00-4:50pm

Section 3- Tuesdays 12:40-2:30pm

Section 4 (when needed)- Tuesdays 3:00pm-4:50pm

Erin Hill,

Graduate Teaching Assistants - Seeking one to two GTAs to serve as the lead instructor of a section (two positions anticipated for Fall2024).  This course covers weed identification, herbicide calculations and calibration, and herbicide fate, symptomology, and resistance as it relates to cropping systems and turfgrass management. This lab typically meets in PSSB, but also meets occasionally at the Beal Botanical Garden, Hancock Turfgrass Research Center, and Agronomy Farm.  In addition to instructing a section, GTA(s) are expected to help grade, set up and take down experiments/demonstrations, care for plants in the greenhouse, and attend biweekly instructor meetings. Applicants should have taken one or more courses in weed science covering these topics and be comfortable in a leading role. Both cropping systems and turf focused students are encouraged to apply. Additional qualifications desired, but not required: Greenhouse plant growing experience, CO2 backpack applicator operation experience, and Commercial Pesticide Applicator Certification valid in Michigan.

Graduate Classroom Support - If there are three sections of CSS 226L and not four, one GCS position will also be available (anticipated for Fall 2024). This position will support all classroom activities but will not have an instructional component. Examples of activities include setting up and taking down experiments/demonstrations, caring for plants in the greenhouse and growth chamber, and attending biweekly instructor meetings. Applicants should have taken one or more courses in weed science covering weed identification and herbicide fate, symptomology, and resistance. Additional qualifications desired, but not required: Greenhouse plant growing experience, CO2 backpack applicator operation experience, and Commercial Pesticide Applicator Certification valid in Michigan. A maximum of 5 hours per week averaged over the course of the semester is supported (i.e. not more than 75 hours).


ISB 202 Integrated Studies in Biology

Cholani Weebadde -

Graduate Teaching Assistant – will be expected to:

  • 20 hours/week commitment
  • Short lecture then leading 30 students through a lab activity (1hr50min class x 3) - this is for an in-person class
  • 90 students per semester
  • Responsible for grading, all email communication, preparing for lectures, posting course materials on D2L, and attending weekly TA meeting


CSS 222 New Horizons in Biotechnology

Asynchronous online

Grace Fleming -

Graduate Classroom Support - Grading weekly writing assignments, must have completed the Professional Development, Scientific Writing and Presentation Skills Requirement.


CSS 360 Soil Biology

Two lab sections on Mondays, 12:40-2:30 and 3:00-4:50.

Lisa Tiemann -

Graduate Teaching Assistant work will include grading lab reports and lab related assignment and the weekly preparation of equipment, supplies and materials needed for the undergraduate soil biology lab, which includes setting up and calibrating as needed pH meters, soil respiration probes, and microscopes; preparing various culture media and reagents for DNA extraction and qPCR, including DNA quantification and setting up and running qPCR plates; setting up tulgren funnels for soil arthropod extraction; helping with lab setup and tear down and helping students in-class with weekly lab activities and


GTA qualifications needed: prefer students with molecular and/or microbial culturing experience; experience working with soils is a plus, but not required.

GCS description & qualifications: similar to GTA requirements except no in-class or

direct work with students, and same preferred qualifications.


PLP 805 Principles in Plant Pathology

Tuesday: 12:40pm - 2:30pm

Timothy Miles -

Graduate Classroom Support: I usually only utilize a student for 10 hours at the most per semester, again I am not sure if this qualifies as classroom support. Usually, it is a way for a discussion to occur when I am away for 1-2 weeks at extension events.


PLP 847 Advanced Mycology

Tuesday and Thursday: 1:50-4:40 pm

Gregory Bonito -

Graduate Teaching Assistant will be preparing materials and supplies for lab, including for culture work, microscopy, and molecular work. Students will also be involved in informatics needed for analyzing fungal microbiome data. GTA will work with students on hands-on lab activities, as well as on field trips, etc. GTA qualifications include basic mycology training and experience including isolation, culturing, microscopy and sequence identification experience with molecular mycology and fungal bioinformatics (using the HPCC). Broad working knowledge of fungi important. Previous students of the class would be favorable.


Spring 2025:

CSS 330 Soil Chemistry/CSS 340 Environmental Soil Physics

Thursday: 3:00-5:00 pm

Hui Li -

Graduate Classroom Support will work 9 hours per week for 10 weeks to provide the following support.

  1. Prepare laboratory settings, chemicals and solution for soil chemistry laboratory
  2. Collect and grade students’ lab reports
  3. Prepare and grade the final exam
  4. Answer questions raised by students
  5. Help guide students in the laboratory experiments

Qualification: Graduate students with strong soil science and chemistry knowledge, and

laboratory experience.


CSS 350 Introduction to Plant Genetics

MWF, 10:20 - 11:10 am

Eric Olson -

Graduate Teaching Assistant activities for CSS350 are 90% in the lecture directing active learning, 5% office hours during recitation and 5% grading and administrative support with attendance. GTAs will facilitate learning in the lecture through interactions with student groups. Two office hours sessions are held by GTAs each week. GTAs support grading of four multiple choice exams at two to three hours per exam and maintain attendance records.

Qualifications: The ¼ time teaching assistantships are directed specifically to PBGB graduate students. GTAs will have completed at least one undergraduate course in genetics, molecular biology, or biochemistry.


PLP 405 Plant Pathology

Monday and Wednesday from 9:10AM to 10AM – GTAs are not required to attend but it is helpful if they can.

Laboratory: two sections:

  1. Tuesday 10:20 am - 12:10 pm and Thursday 10:20 - 11:10 am
  2. Tuesday 12:40 - 2:30 pm and Thursday 12:40 - 1:30 pm

Laura Miles –

Graduate Teaching Assistants - prepare and guide laboratory activities, help grade quizzes, exams, course projects, laboratory handouts and questionnaires, setup and take down lab preps, clean lab after session ends. GTAs need previous experience in plant pathology and be enrolled in a graduate program.


PLP/ENT/FOR/PLB 407 Diseases and Insects of Forest and Shade Trees (Pathology section)

Second half of spring semester:

Lecture (MWF:9.10-10:00 AM)

Labs (W: 3:00-5:50PM)

Dr. Pratima Devkota -

Graduate Classroom Support – will be making culture media, culturing pathogens, taking care of plants, conducting inoculations, helping to set up labs, helping with lab demo, helping prepare, and display specimens, lab cleanup, and others.

Qualifications: Graduate students in Pathology, Horticulture, Plant Biology, Forestry that have taken courses Plant Pathology 405 or PLP/ENT/FOR/PLB 407.

Did you find this article useful?