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OPWL Graduate / Research Assistant Positions

Meet the current OPWL Graduate Assistants

The purpose of the virtual Graduate Assistantships (GA) or Research Assistant (RA) is to support promising individuals, regardless of their location, who are committed to continuing their education at the graduate level.

 Graduate Assistantship
General DutiesAssist OPWL faculty with grading and preparation of course materials
ExpectationsEnroll in a minimum of 5 credits each semester

Work 10 hours per week for the OPWL department

Maintain at least a 3.00 GPA
CompensationFee waiver covering the cost of 5 credits each fall and spring semester

$15.75/hour for approximately 10 hours per week (~ 32 weeks for a total of about $5,000/academic year)

Health insurance
RequirementsMust be a fully admitted master’s degree seeking student
LocationAn OPWL GA is not required to relocate to Boise to fulfill the duties of the position
TimeframeFall & Spring semesters only

 Research Assistant / Instructional Assistant
General DutiesAssist OPWL faculty with research and service activities, literature reviews, conference presentations, and publications. Additionally, some faculty may need support with instructional activities not limited to discussion/course grading, preparing course materials, and developing modules to use in the classroom.
ExpectationsWork 5-10 hours per week for the OPWL department

Maintain at least a 3.00 GPA
Compensation$15.00/hour minimum (Graduate Students)
RequirementsThere are no minimum credit hour requirements and OPWL program graduates are welcome to apply
LocationThis position is not required to relocate to Boise to fulfill the duties of the position
TimeframeBased on faculty need


At a minimum, you should have:

  • The ability to manage your time and work independently under minimal supervision
  • The ability to take direction and meet expectations
  • The ability to teach yourself how to use new software tools
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Experience with common office productivity software, including Google Docs and MS-Office
  • Access to Google Hangouts (or other video conferencing software)

The preferred candidate will have:

  • Prior experience in editing/proofreading
  • Prior experience working in virtual teams
  • Prior experience in research
  • Involvement in professional communities and organizations


We are not currently accepting applications.

Step 1:Complete the Graduate / Research Assistant Application
Step 2:Email Resume & Cover Letter

The cover letter should describe ways in which you:

• Manage your time and work independently under minimal supervision
• Take direction and meet expectations
• Teach yourself how to use new software tools
• Demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills

Send email to Kelly Weak ( with “2018-2019 OPWL GA / RA / IA Application” as the email subject line.
Step 3:Email Writing Sample

**Only for students who have not yet taken any OPWL courses**

Write a paper that is no longer than 5 double-spaced pages (approximately 1500 words) in which you (a) specify one or more themes that are common to the three articles and (b) develop each theme by explaining how it shows up in each article and ties the three articles together. For the writing sample, read the following three articles:

• Mager, R.F. & Pipe, P. (1976). You really oughta wanna or how not to motivate people. Nursing, 6(8), 65-69

• Rosenberg, M. J., Coscarelli, W. C., & Hutchinson, C. S. (1999). The origins of the field. In H. D. Stolovitch & E. J. Keeps (Eds.). Handbook of Human

• Performance Technology (second edition) (pp. 24-36), San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Stolovitch, H. (1982). Performance technology: An introduction. NSPI Journal, 21(3), 16-19

Send email to Kelly Weak ( with “2017-2018 GA/RA Application” as the email subject line.

Please send all questions or inquiries to Kelly Weak, Operations Manager, (208) 426-1312 or

Current OPWL Graduate Assistants

Photo Valerie Gardin Valerie Gardin is an Enterprise Engagement Coordinator at Spelman College, and has been employed in the information technology field for over 25 years. She is responsible for collaborating with divisional leaders to identify new innovations and enhancements, drive successful technology integrations, and align solutions to key business objectives. She is also responsible for training and development for faculty and staff. Valerie received her MS degree in Organizational and Performance Workplace Learning (OPWL) in 2018 and a graduate certificate in Workplace eLearning and Performance Support (WELPS) in 2015 from Boise State University. As part of her graduate experiences, she co-published an eLearning article with Dr. Seung Youn (Yonnie) Chyung, and co-presented at the AECT 2016 conference with Dr. Quincy Conley. She holds a BA in English Literature from Georgia State University.

Valerie was born in Baltimore, Maryland and lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She looks forward to supporting and mentoring Boise State students and assisting faculty in her role as teaching assistant for Dr. Steve Villachica and Dr. Bud Benscoter.

Photo Megan Kennedy Megan Kennedy began the OPWL program in the spring of 2016, working towards the Masters in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning. Megan has a passion for using the skills and knowledge gained from the OPWL program in social services to support higher levels of performance to those with lower levels of resources. This year is anticipated to be the last year of the program for Megan, and her second year as a Graduate Assistant for Dr. Chyung. During her graduate assistantship last year, Megan participated with Dr. Chyung and OPWL Alumni in publishing an article in Dr. Chyungs WORC series ‘Evidence-Based Survey Design.’ Members of Dr. Chyungs WORC team presented contents from this series at the past ISPI conference in Seattle, WA. Megan also used the content of the article to participate in the Graduate Showcase. This year Megan is working to complete her thesis on Building Evaluation Capacity in Nonprofit Organizations and hopes to participate in publications and presentations as a result of her research. During this year’s graduate assistantship, Megan anticipates supporting Dr. Chyung establish evidence-based practices for a local nonprofit and working to establish a newsletter to increase interconnectivity and engagement between OPWL faculty, alumni, and students.
Photo Sharon Lee Sharon Lee currently lives in Guanajuato Capital, Guanajuato, Mexico. She will be continuing to assist Dr. Marker and Dr. Winiecki this year. Among her accomplishments as graduate assistant last year, Sharon organized an “Unconference” for academic attendees of the ISPI 2018 conference, where she also received the 2018 LEAP award for her efforts. Sharon received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics, Mandarin Chinese, and French from San Diego State University. She studied abroad in Taipei, Taiwan from 2010-2011. From 2012-2016, Sharon taught preschool and was “Miss Sharon” to young children aged 2 to 5. She currently teaches English virtually to children aged 4 to 12 located throughout China and uses her knowledge of linguistics, Mandarin Chinese, child development, and blended learning to be a highly valued teacher. Continuing into her second year of the OPWL MS program, she hopes to explore the role of the HPT practitioner and instructional design for the benefit of non-profit efforts, particularly for disadvantaged communities. In her spare time, Sharon enjoys the novel adventures that living in Mexico offers and daydreaming about where to live next.

Sharon is excited to serve and engage with our virtual student body community at a higher level. She highly enjoys practicing yoga, making connections, and exploring foreign languages.

Photo D'Jeane Peters D’Jeane Peters was admitted to the OPWL program in the fall of 2017 to pursue a Masters in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning, and a certificate in Instructional Design. She looks forward to making contributions to the OPWL field as a graduate assistant for Dr. Lisa Giacumo. A Montana native, D’Jeane holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management and Policy from Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana. As an undergraduate, she co-authored an article researching stakeholder viewpoints on wildlife management, which was published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin in 2017. D’Jeane first became interested in instructional design while working as a ESL teacher trainer in Thailand. She now lives in Atlanta, Georgia and works at Georgia Institute of Technology in the Global Internships Program Office. She is excited to combine her passion for teaching with her love of research to further her knowledge and experience in the field. She enjoys travel, storytelling, and the outdoors.
Photo Emily Poitevin Emily Poitevin began her Master’s of Organizational Performance and Workforce Learning in the Spring of 2015. She earned her Bachelor’s of Business Administration from Boise State in 2002 and continues to live in Boise, ID today, where she has worked in retail management for the last 16 years. She is particularly interested in employee engagement and motivation, along with new and exciting forms of training for industries that change at a rapid pace. She is excited to work with Dr. Han this semester. In her free time, Emily enjoys reading, yoga, stormy weather, and Boise State football.

Comments from Previous Graduate Assistants

DeAnn Allen (FA10 – SP11)

DeAnn feels the GA experience along with the degree will be a catalyst for career change. “My experience as a GA is providing yet another means from which I can learn and build upon,” says Allen. “It will help to ready me for new career endeavors and is providing valuable on-the-job experience.” See DeAnn’s BEM of an IPT graduate assistantship.

Kevin Taylor (FA07 – SP09)

“My experience as a GA was one of the most valuable experiences of my academic career. By working with the faculty, I was able to publish two journal articles and present at an ISPI conference. I also had the opportunity to assist with managing two online classes which gave me valuable experience in the assessment of complex work products. I had the opportunity to work on a variety of research projects which helped me expand my understanding of HPT principles well beyond what I was exposed to in the classroom. Most importantly, the mentorship the faculty provided me helped me grow as a professional and as a person. Now I work as a performance analyst for the U.S. Coast Guard and one of the reasons I was hired for this position is because of my experience as a GA for the IPT program.”

Shelley Berg (FA06 – SP08)

“As a GA, I’ve been able to apply and expand my IPT knowledge/skills in ways that are unique from the experiences I have in my classes and in other workplaces. The primary professor I’ve worked for these past two years, Dr. Chyung, has been an excellent mentor. By collaborating on various projects with her, I’ve had the opportunity to get published and present my work at conferences. My interactions with the faculty and other GA’s makes for a stimulating work environment and exposes me to aspects of IPT I might not otherwise consider. It has been a very rewarding experience.”

Liz Johnsen (FA05 – SP06)

“Hi I’m Liz Johnsen and am in my second year in the IPT program. My undergraduate degree is in psychology. I have worked on research projects with Dr. Huglin, Dr. Marker, and Dr. Cox. As a GA you have the opportunity to be part of new and exciting research in the field of IT/HPT. I highly recommend looking into this opportunity.”

Mary Janes (FA04 – SP06)

“The main tasks I do as a GA are assisting with grading papers for Dr. Cox’s online and on campus classes, housekeeping (keeping track of grades and scores on instruments, etc.), research and literature searches on topics pertaining to learning styles and learning theory, editing documents, building and maintaining class websites, and various other things that come up. My experience so far as a GA has been wonderful. I have had opportunities open up that I would not otherwise have had, including the chance to attend the symposium at Hangyang University in S. Korea in May, 2005. I’ve also had the chance to connect with other GAs and faculty and work on some great projects.”

Allie Smith-Hobbs (FA04 – SP05)

“My experiences as a graduate assistant were memorable. It was an opportunity to work closely with fellow graduate assistants and be immersed in instructional and performance technology. Working with Dr. Yonnie Chyung was delightful; I had the autonomy to conduct research on topics that interested me and work on meaningful projects. I had the opportunity to co-author two research papers, one of which has been revised for publication in the Encyclopedia of Distance Learning. I had the honor of representing Boise State University’s IPT program with Dr. Chyung at the E-Learn Conference in Washington D.C. where we co-presented a paper. In addition, I had the opportunity to co-author and present a paper at the Inter-institutional Symposium at Hanyang University in Seoul, Korea which was the pinnacle of my graduate experience.”

Nathan Niederhauser (FA01 – SP02)

“As a graduate assistant I am constantly exposed to aspects of the IPT field. Not only does this exposure reaffirm the skills and knowledge I am gaining in my coursework, but it also allows me to see IPT applied first hand. I am learning many valuable skills that will be of great asset to me as I enter the professional arena. I enjoy working with the IPT staff members and the other graduate assistants. It is a rewarding experience to work with a group of people who are working hard to provide the best quality educational opportunity for students, as well as helping to define and support the IPT field.”

Kim Stout (FA01 – SP02)

“Being a Graduate Assistant immerses you in constant reinforcement and exploration of concepts and skills learned in the classroom. The faculty, staff and other graduate Assistants offer a supportive network and a positive and dynamic atmosphere in which to learn and study. This assistantship has offered me the chance to roll up my sleeves and really dig in to work on several faculty guided projects related to the concepts and ideas of IPT. Yet it is not one-sided as it has also afforded me opportunities to pursue my own interests more thoroughly with the help of faculty. Graduate Assistantships in the IPT department are both mentally challenging and fun. This experience has opened my eyes to the widest variety of diverse opinions and people as well as guided me into an exciting future. In the immortal words of Mr. T, “I pity the fool who don’t apply to become a G.A. today!”

Brent Williams (FA01 – SP02)

“Hello. When I graduate in 2002, I will have worked for the IPT department as a graduate assistant (GA) for two years. The faculty and staff truly concern themselves with the quality of instruction and interaction that students receive here. I hope that my contributions to the department and program benefit both. Nonetheless, I am sure that would never have gained as deep an insight of and appreciation for this degree without the opportunity to serve as a GA.”

Vicki Stagi (FA00 – SP01)

“The opportunity to work closely with a professor as a graduate assistant was invaluable! I participated in several engaging projects and was constantly exposed to new areas of investigation. The knowledge I gained about interpersonal communications, teamwork, and respect is a testimony to the professional approach of the IPT department.”

Susan Korn (FA00 – SP01)

“My experience as a graduate assistant has proven to be quite rewarding. While it keeps me busy, the IPT graduate assistantship allows me to apply what I have learned about the IPT field and learn more about it in a real life setting. For short term applications, a graduate assistantship gives practical experience usually not obtained in traditional classroom settings. For long term applications, this translates into experience that can be applied in the career field of IPT.”