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Job Details

Requisition Number 16-0331
Post Date 11/18/2016
Title Education Specialist
City Tucson
State AZ

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, 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 formal science education to join our Education and Public Outreach (EPO) team as the LSST Education Specialist.

LSST is a large aperture, wide-field, ground-based facility in Chile 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 plan and coordinate the development of an LSST EPO education program for secondary and undergraduate education, including efforts related to instructional design, professional development, and authentic research experiences in the classroom. LSST EPO aims to involve diverse participants in LSST science across a spectrum of skill levels. That diversity includes supporting U.S. and Chilean national priorities in STEM education and Broader Impacts.

The LSST Education Specialist reports to the LSST EPO Project Manager. This full-time position is based in Tucson, Arizona.

Essential Functions:

  • Engage with EPO team members, LSST partner institutions, and the broader education community to develop a scalable, bi-lingual education program that supports Next-Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (Chile CONICYT) guidelines, and Broader Impacts opportunities.
  • Develop authentic research experiences making use of LSST data products that meet user needs and can be successfully used in a range of educational settings.
  • Develop, plan, and organize professional development experiences for teachers.
  • Ensure that LSST EPO provides engaging educational experiences that support the learning of individuals from a diversity of backgrounds, cultures, ages, races, and abilities.
  • Build sustainable partnerships with the formal education community that ensure adoption of LSST educational products during operations.
  • Work with internal and external evaluators to validate desired participant outcomes in LSST’s formal education deliverables.


  • Minimum 5 years of experience leading the development and implementation of education programs in middle school, high school, or undergraduate education settings.
  • Advanced degree in science education, astronomy, or related field.
  • Demonstrated leadership qualities.
  • Willingness to travel occasionally (nationally/internationally).
  • Comfortable interacting with individuals remotely using a variety of technologies, including: email, phone calls, instant messaging, teleconferencing.
  • Ability to effectively collaborate with supporting team/consultant roles, such as: educator, scientist, science writer, education technology specialist, web developer, multimedia creator, and evaluator.
  • Ability to engage with a variety of stakeholders, acknowledge and document their diverse ideas, consolidate and prioritize those ideas into an actionable plan, and then execute that plan via prototypes and beta groups.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • 5+ years teaching science in a formal classroom setting at the middle school, high school, or introductory undergraduate level.
  • Bi-lingual fluency in Spanish preferred.
  • Experience working with international learners and multi-language education programs.
  • Experience working in a publically-funded (NSF, DOE, NASA, etc.) non-profit organization.
  • Familiarity with astronomy-related education technologies, such as Jupyter science notebooks and Zooniverse.
  • Familiarity with education evaluation and assessment techniques.
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: 16-0331LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our recordkeeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

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. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)
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