Science Outreach Specialist

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Archive Date: 
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Universities Space Research Association
Moffett Field
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Science Outreach Specialist independently implements science outreach activities designed to increase and enhance the scientific engagement and output of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). This includes developing workshops, presentations, events, newsletters and web-based materials that are uniquely suited to the needs of the astronomical science community.

Essential Duties/Responsibilities:

Essential Functions:

Implement a project plan that supports SOFIA scientific community relation efforts.

Create, develop and implement workshops and communication materials to educate / inform the scientific community of SOFIA research capabilities.

Organize and implement SOFIA-centric science conferences and events, including advertising, logistics, and communication to stakeholders and participants

Create and maintain database of scientific engagement and output.

Track performance of SOFIA’s research by compiling and presenting statistical information on completion and publication of guest observer projects

Create “cookbook” on how to understand / use SOFIA data / results from instrument observations

Escort guest observers participating in SOFIA flights.

Maintain the SOFIA website and science community tools

Oversee the science community HelpDesk and ensure questions / issues are resolved in a timely manner.

Represent the scientific community to provide feedback on software tools to support proposals, observation and data analysis.

Required Qualifications:


Bachelor’s degree in an area such as: Astronomy/Astrophysics, Science/Technology Journalism, Communications (emphasis on science/technology), Media Relations (emphasis on science/technology and new-media), Education (with focus on physical science discipline). Master’s degree highly desired.


At least three years of experience marketing / managing / organizing technical / scientific events.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

Strong knowledge of astronomy, with an ability develop and maintain proficient understanding of infrared astronomy and how the SOFIA program serves to advance research in this area.

Ability to develop plans and meet deadlines in order to meet program deliverables.

Strong analytical and problem-solving skills and the ability to comprehend and synthesize complex technical information and methodologies.

Experience developing and delivering progress reports, requirements documentation, and presentations to diverse stakeholders and upper management.

Excellent verbal and written communication skills and the ability to effectively convey complex technical concepts to a diverse population.

Demonstrated ability to work successfully as part of a team in a collaborative scientific environment.

Experience working in a large / national research organization / observatory is desired.

Proficiency in Microsoft Office and its applications, as well as current technology / apps to communicate online with science community.

Working Conditions:

This job primarily operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, etc. Extensive online usage. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand; walk; sit, use hands. Keyboarding for large time spans each day will be a significant part of this position.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee may occasionally be exposed to fumes or airborne particles. The employee may be exposed to moving equipment, vehicles and mechanical parts. The noise level in the work office environment is typically mild. The environment on the aircraft during flight operations may become noisy and tiring. The employee must be capable of performing all duties in a technical / scientific setting including offices, laboratories, shops, and aircraft maintenance facilities as well as on the aircraft / observatory, both while on the ground and during flights. The employee may need to lift and / or move up to 50 pounds.


This position is based at NASA AMES Research Center Moffett Field, CA but significant travel is required to Armstrong Flight Research Center and international business travel for long lengths of time.

Applicants should apply to the posting at and include a letter of interest, resume, or curriculum vita. Review of candidates will begin immediately. Additional information on USRA can be found at

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Selection Deadline: 
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Current Status of Position: 
No Status Given (Opted Out)
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Ben Tanis
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