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Job Details

Requisition Number 17-0090
Post Date 5/16/2017
Title Volunteer and Membership Prg Coordinator
City Tucson
State AZ

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

The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) has an opening for a Volunteer & Membership Coordinator at the Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO). This new staff position involves two closely related and yet distinct areas of responsibility: running the Kitt Peak Visitor Center docent program and operating its membership program. You will work with a hard-working, creative team at an important and exciting moment in the Visitor Center’s history.

You must enjoy working with a diverse team of volunteers. The Kitt Peak Visitor Center’s docents and other volunteers are primarily comprised of men and women age 60 and older, have impressive resumes of professional accomplishments, and have made a commitment to serve the public at our mountaintop observatory 56 miles from Tucson. Many of the volunteers contribute by leading a variety of daytime tours. This position requires exceptional diplomatic skills, abilities to coach and supervise, and exceptionally friendly, energetic, and outgoing personality. It is expected that you will spend about 75% of your time at the Kitt Peak Visitor Center to observe, coach, and directly interact with the volunteers. You must demonstrate an inclusive, approachable management style which will generate respect and acceptance by our docents.

The Visitor Center’s membership program is in need of a “reboot”. This position is charged with accomplishing this in a timely manner. Promoting the program through a variety of means, responding to applications and donations, renewing expiring memberships, and keeping organized, up to date files is essential. This position will solicit contributed columns, articles, and photographs from Visitor Center staff and volunteers and then assemble and layout a periodic newsletter for members. You will also distribute the completed newsletter by mail and electronic means to active members or other selected Visitor Center stake holders.

Essential Functions:

  • Organizes the campaign to advertise the Visitor Center’s volunteer program across Pima County.
  • Collects, reviews, and evaluates applications from potential volunteers.
  • Leads a team of volunteers to help interview candidates and determine suitability of applicants for participating in the intensive training program.
  • Carefully plans and leads the docent-in-training program, closely coordinating with other staff who also contribute portions of the training program.
  • Exudes a consistently positive, approachable attitude toward docents, docents-in-training, and staff.
  • Maintains and keeps up to date records pertaining to all aspects of the volunteer program.
  • Provide data as requested to the Visitor Center Manager concerning the volunteer and membership programs.
  • Plan agendas and lead monthly evening docent meetings, make presentations, encourage active participation by docents, and respond appropriately and quickly to feedback.
  • To lead the volunteers, who conduct most public tours, you will learn to successfully conduct special public tours and give general assistance to the public.
  • Represent Kitt Peak Visitor Center at some community functions as a speaker.
  • Helps other Visitor Center staff and volunteers with building, grounds, gift shop inventory, and other maintenance tasks during the summer shutdown or other specific periods.
  • Assumes responsibility for membership data base, documents, and supplies.
  • Works with staff and advertising contractors to promote and grow the membership program.
  • Accepts, processes, and responds to membership applications and renewals.
  • Sends out renewal reminders
  • Solicits and edits content for membership newsletters.
  • Layouts and prepares for printing the newsletter. Works with appropriate printer to produce attractive, accurate, and interesting newsletters.


  • Exceptionally friendly, energetic, outgoing personality.
  • At least four years of experience in a similar position leading and training volunteers in a nonprofit organization. In this positon, you must have demonstrated an ability to coach and lead a team of exceptionally accomplished individuals.
  • Willingness to promptly learn Kitt Peak National Observatory history, current programs, and operating procedures.
  • A four-year college degree is strongly preferred.
  • Formal or informal education or training in astronomy is preferred.
  • Some knowledge and familiarity with astronomy and the work conducted by astronomers.
  • Reliably and punctually reports to all assigned shifts. Dependability is essential in this position.
  • Ability to effectively and diplomatically work with the public, including diverse audiences from around the world.
  • Good command of written and spoken English language. Working knowledge of other languages is a plus.
  • Proven public speaking, interpretation, and motivational coaching skills.
  • Fully functional knowledge in PC/Mac: Word, Excel, Publisher, Power Point, Outlook, Explorer
  • Experience laying out and printed newsletters or similar materials.
  • Strong skills at editing and proof reading written materials.
  • Ability to work as a team player with all VC staff and docents, as well as other departments, particularly the observatory’s facilities staff.
  • Willingness to continue learning and keep informed on astronomical discoveries, Kitt Peak advances, and NOAO news.
  • The ability to work a flexible schedule including occasional evening schedules.
  • CRP/AED Certification is required but will be provided by NOAO.
  • Participate in all other mandated safety training.
  • Provide consistently excellent customer service to all volunteers, staff, and guests.
  • Able to work independently for extended periods of time.
  • Ability to remain calm under pressure and accomplish all assigned tasks on time.
  • Safe driving record.
  • Ability to pass a criminal background check.

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: 17-0090LastnameDocname. 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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