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Requisition Number 16-0326
Post Date 11/15/2016
Title Science Writer
City Tucson
State AZ

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and the Gemini Observatory) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Project Office seeks an individual with demonstrated experience in science journalism and digital communication for the position of Science Writer.

LSST is a large aperture, wide-field, ground-based facility designed to survey the entire southern sky down to faint magnitudes in six optical colors every few nights. As such it will enable a broad array of diverse scientific investigations ranging from studies of moving objects in the solar system to constraining the structure and evolution of the universe as a whole. Through an ambitious Education and Public Outreach (EPO) program, non-specialists will access LSST data products to actively engage in science discovery and the research process, gaining awareness, skills, and knowledge. LSST EPO will be at the forefront of highlighting the facility's unique contributions, including time domain science (supernova, gamma-ray bursts, asteroids, comets), galactic structure (tidal streams, dark matter), exoplanet discovery, and dark energy.

Formal construction of this world-leading survey facility began in August of 2014 as a joint project of the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, resulting in the anticipated onset of science operations in late 2022. During the ongoing construction phase, funding has been allocated for the design, development, and evaluation of LSST EPO infrastructure, tools, and educational materials to be delivered with the LSST Observatory in preparation for full EPO operations in 2022. The successful candidate will craft educational and promotional messages highlighting an LSST EPO vision that maximizes awareness of the transformational potential of the LSST facility, team, and community. Content will especially highlight LSST’s history (, engineering feats ( and science goals ( These messages will focus on both the EPO system being constructed and, in collaboration with the Project Office, will include content for both internal and external communications during the construction period.

The LSST Science Writer reports to the LSST EPO Project Manager, works closely with the EPO team, and contributes communication content for Project Communications. This full-time position is based in Tucson, Arizona.

Essential Functions:

  • Develop content for LSST’s EPO program and many communication portals (websites, articles, documentation) by both creating new content and refreshing existing content on a regular basis.
  • Assist with development of EPO educational products and programs.
  • Assist with production of multimedia content (such as videos and digital signage) for the LSST team, general public, and science museums/planetariums.
  • Help grow LSST EPO’s social media presence through relevant, clear, concise, engaging writing.
  • Collaborate with LSST Communications as needed for news releases, blog posts, etc.
  • Assist management with developing written materials for documentation, reviews, etc.


  • Bachelor degree or higher in science journalism, or similar.
  • Minimum 5 years of experience in science writing, science journalism, or similar.
  • Evidence of expertise writing for formal and informal education audiences.
  • Experience working with a broad range of age groups, cultural backgrounds, and ethnicity.
  • Willingness to travel occasionally and talk to technical and non-technical groups.
  • Comfortable interacting with individuals remotely using a variety of technologies, including: email, phone calls, instant messaging, teleconferencing.
  • Familiarity with social media and an understanding of best practices for engaging with those audiences.
  • Ability to adjust message length and complexity depending on the audience or delivery medium/interface.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Familiarity with digital signage products, such as ViewSpace or Xibo.
  • Experience working with international learners and multi-language education programs.
  • Experience working in a publically-funded (NSF, DOE, NASA, etc.) non-profit organization.
  • Multi-lingual (especially Spanish) is a plus, but not required.
  • Advanced degree in STEM related field.
Preference is granted to applications received by January 13th.

Please list 3 professional references in your application. Please attach a statement of professional interests or cover letter and CV or resume (PDF Files preferred) to your application. Please name any attachments with the following format: 16-0326LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate because of race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

  • Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities.
  • Please view Equal Employment Opportunity Posters provided by OFCCP here.
  • The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information.
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