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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Volunteering in a Federal Research Laboratory
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To volunteer for any of the positions (Volunteer Project Listing) in my laboratory you must be at least 16 years old.  First, visit my lab to learn about my program and the available projects (step 1).  If still interested after your visit, complete the forms and information requests listed in steps 2 through 8.  Schedule an appointment with Ms. Cassandra Willis (772-462-5811; here at the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory to submit your paperwork.  Ms. Willis will review to ensure the forms and information are complete and, if complete she will forward to USDA/ARS headquarters in Maryland.  When approved, you will then come to the lab and complete step 9.

Do the following -

  1. Contact me to arrange a visit the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory (USHRL).  I will show you exactly what we do, what the position involves, and why the work is important to the horticultural community.  This will help you determine if you want to become an official volunteer.  Your interests and the amount of time (per week) that you volunteer will determine what you do in the lab.

  2. Volunteer Service Agreement. Complete and sign.  Unlike many federal forms, this one is simple and can be completed in about 1 minute.

  3. 2 Fingerprint Cards (SF-87).  Provided by Ms. Cassandra Willis here at the USHRL.  These can be taken to the local Police Department or Sheriff's Office for fingerprinting.  Indian River Sheriff's Office only fingerprints 1-3 pm (Mon-Fri) and will not do them after 2:45 pm.

  4. Resume.

  5. OF-306. Complete and sign.

  6. Personal Information Identity Sheet.  Complete.  Do not fill in the *Length of Appointment (NTE Date) or check any of the boxes to the right of *Required Attachments.

  7. Parental Consent Statement if 16, 17, or 18 years old.  Not a form, just a short blurb/note signed by your parents that it is okay to 1) volunteer at the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, 2) conduct a background check, and 3) obtain fingerprints.  Here's a Sample Parent Letter that can be used.

  8. School transcripts.  Only required if you are a student in school (grade school or college).
  9. Complete a training course on laboratory safety.  The training is provided here at the USHRL, takes 3-4 hours, and is a computer-based training course.

Contact me ( if you have additional questions.

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Last Modified: 5/11/2017
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