Press and Internal Communications Officer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Archive Date: 
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Institution Classification/Type: 
Department Name: 
Communications, Education & Engagement
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

On October 1st, 2019 the NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory launched. This new national lab includes the operations of Gemini Observatory, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, a Community Science and Data Center, and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). These Lab activities are geographically distributed between Hawai‘i, Tucson, and Chile.

All communication, education, and public engagement work at NSF’s OIR Lab is accomplished by the Communications, Education & Engagement (CEE) group. The CEE group consists of approximately 17 staff including communications specialists, educators, graphics professionals, and other content area professionals. The CEE group is responsible for telling the story of NSF’s OIR Lab and its Programs in a cohesive and coordinated manner that is tailored to each of the Lab’s target audiences.

As a critical member of the CEE group we are now hiring the Lab’s Press and Internal Communications Officer. This full-time permanent position brings opportunities for the development and improvement of new processes, and for delivering innovative communications materials targeted for a range of stakeholders. The position offers excellent opportunities to work in an exciting and diverse environment as well as for professional growth and advancement.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

The Press and Internal Communications Officer is charged with the production of NSF OIR Lab communication products targeting media and staff. The incumbent participates in weekly News Team meetings and leads the weekly Internal Communications Team meetings.

Primary tasks include:

  • Participating in the ongoing process of improving OIR Lab’s strategy for external and internal communications;
  • Implementing the production and dissemination of press releases, external announcements, and other external news products;
  • Managing and implementing the production of written internal communication products such as internal news announcements;
  • Overseeing the integration of written and visual material in the development of audiovisual products;
  • Supporting communication activities at professional conferences and workshops;
  • Participation and engagement with colleagues at professional communications meetings.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in astronomy, physics, communications or a related field;
  • Three years of experience working as a professional public science communicator;
  • Demonstrated experience in project coordination and leadership (ideally in science outreach, news or marketing);
  • Sufficient astronomy background to fully understand and communicate the main points of astronomy research papers;
  • Native language level in written English and fluent language level in spoken English;
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to lead and coordinate projects and work effectively and efficiently on a wide range of parallel activities;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and an interest in internal and external organizational communication;
  • A demonstrated passion for science communication;
  • Ability to collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds, countries, and cultures;
  • Results-oriented — delivering prompt and efficient service on multiple concurrent projects under tight deadlines;
  • Strong analytical skills and ability to anticipate/identify problems and provide workable solutions independently;
  • Proactive, highly motivated and able to work effectively both in a team and independently;
  • Flexibility and willingness to adapt to changes in tasks are required;
  • Able to contribute ideas for improvements while following departmental procedures and workflows; document new and updated procedures when necessary, in a manner that colleagues can implement;
  • Ability and willingness to travel internationally.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree or PhD in astronomy or physics;
  • Demonstrated experience in effectively using social and new media as an external and internal organizational communication tool;
  • Experience working with the US and international media;
  • Experience supporting projects or organizations that are supported by US federal funding
  • Experience developing written staff communications ranging in scope from an entire organization to a business unit;
  • Advanced proficiency and comfort with giving presentations to audiences of scientists and media.

Location: The position is preferred to be based in Tucson, Arizona. However, a successful internal applicant may alternatively be able to remain in their current working location.

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

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), is a consortium of over 40 US institutions and four international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the NSF’s Nation Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, the National Solar Observatory, and the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and operations of the Space Telescope Science Institute under contracts with NASA.

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.

Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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