Sr Communications Specialist

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, March 19, 2021
Archive Date: 
Friday, June 11, 2021
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Institution Classification/Type: 
SOFIA / Universities Space Research Association
Mountain View
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Communications Specialist will assist the Scientific Engagement team to support numerous events, such as virtual webinars, large scientific conferences, internal scientific symposia, various advisory committees such as the SOFIA Users’ Group, Time Allocation Committees, proposal review panels, weekly colloquia, and special seminars.  The Communications Specialist will work with the event organizers to establish appropriate venues, coordinate schedules, contact and work with presenters, coordinate travel requirements, and support the scientific staff to execute successful events.  The Communications Specialist will also support the participation of SOFIA staff at various scientific meetings, especially the American Astronomical Society annual meetings.

Essential Duties/Responsibilities: 

Major Duties:

Plan and manage SOFIA SMO internal events, including Telescope Time Allocation Committee and the SOFIA Users’ Group Meeting.

  • Work with SMO leadership to identify potential participants.
  • Send invitations, track RSVPs, and manage participant registration.
  • Coordinate NASA visitor passes as needed.
  • Coordinate production of meeting materials, including name badges, agendas and IT equipment.
  • Manage catering for coffee breaks and meals as needed.

Plan and manage SOFIA presence at scientific conferences, including but not limited to AAS and AGU meetings. 

  • Mange conference calendar to track registration, materials production and shipping deadlines for each conference. 
  • Register exhibit booth and reserve appropriate A/V equipment and furniture
  • Create booth description that is specific to conference audience.
  • Identify materials most appropriate for conference audience and/or work with outreach group to create appropriate new materials. 
  • Coordinate shipping of booth materials, including backwalls, models, and printed materials.
  • Work with Outreach group to ensure graphics and printed materials are complete before shipping deadlines.
  • Setup at booth at conference venue.
  • Identify the science team attending the meeting and coordinate the staffing schedule for the exhibit booth.
  • Organize conference events such as town halls, including registration, catering, and signage
  • Coordinate with partner organizations, such as NASA and IRSA, to display SOFIA materials at respective booths

Plan and manage SOFIA outreach webinars and workshops 

  • Identify location options for in-person meetings or platforms for virtual meetings
  • Reserve meeting space and catering as needed
  • Identify best software for virtual meetings and ensure technical requirements fit the webinar needs (e.g. can support the number of percipients and an appropriate chat function)
  • Work with outreach team to for event advertisement promotion on Science Center website and newsletter
  • Track statistics for online event such as number of participants and total viewing time
  • Coordinate feedback from users/attendees via surveys and track responses

Required Qualifications:


  • Bachelors or Masters degree in science or communications/public relations strongly preferred


  • Five years’ experience in communications and public relations practices.
  • Excellent professional and technical written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to work extended hours and weekends, as necessary. 
  • Excellent organizational, problem-solving, and people skills.
  • Ability to set priorities and work in a multi-project environment.
  • Ability to work well as a team member to enhance and sustain cooperative efforts.
  • Ability to estimate budget and workload requirements.

Required skills and knowledge:

  • Requires knowledge of a broad range of sources of pertinent information
  • Skills to analyze and present the information gathered
  • Knowledge of publishing practices, standards, and technologies for the media used
  • Extensive contact with USRA Mountain View departments/organizations. Some contact with USRA HQ departments/organizations.
  • Extensive public contact by phone, letter, fax, e-mail and in person with vendors, suppliers and buyers in order to secure supplies, materials and equipment needed.

Working Conditions:

  • Occasional extended work hours may be required.
  • Vacation periods may be restricted due to work load.

Up to 25% travel is required. 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.

The employee may need to lift and / or move up to 25 pounds.  


This position is based at NASA AMES Research Center Moffett Field. Travel will be required.

Applicants should apply to the posting at USRA Careers and include a letter of interest, resume, or curriculum vita. 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: 
Monday, July 19, 2021
Selection Deadline: 
Monday, July 19, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Ben Tanis
Talent Acquisition
SOFIA / Universities Space Research Association
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Ben Tanis