HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 18-27
Opening date: April 3, 2018
Closing date: May 14, 2018

TITLE:Public Affairs Specialist, IS-1035, Grade 11; $61,642-$80,138 annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund Indefinite
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all qualified candidates eligible to work in the United States.


1. Plans, coordinates, and implements local and regional public affairs programs related to SAOís operations in Arizona:

* Manages the FLWO Visitor Center, including maintaining and updating public displays and video materials.

* Enhances the public outreach aspect of the Observatory Website, and establishes and maintains a social media presence.

* Recruits, trains, and oversees volunteers to staff the Visitor Center, and serve as tour guides, safety crew members and engineering assistants.

* Organizes public and other special tours, public lecture series by astronomers from SAO and other institutions, and quarterly Star Parties. Establishes and maintains liaison with local amateur astronomy groups.

* Assists schools and other organizations with science education, and maintains the MicroObservatory for the SAO Science Education Department.

* Fosters close contacts with the media by responding to press inquiries, providing interviews, hosting visiting journalists, and assisting with filming for astronomy-related programs.

* Plans, schedules and coordinates visits to FLWO by dignitaries, Institution and other officials, visiting scientists and/or staff from other Observatories, the media, and other interested parties. Works closely with the SAO Advancement Office to host potential donors. This includes the development and presentation of accurate and understandable information about Observatory research activities.

* Serves as liaison with SAO Cambridge public affairs staff.

2. Provides public outreach, education, and liaison in support of protecting the Observatory site from threats of degradation because of light and other pollution resulting from industrial, commercial, residential and other development:

* Serves as liaison between FLWO and government and agency officials including the USFS, Border Patrol, Santa Cruz County, Pima County, Cochise County, Town of Sahuarita, City of Tucson International Dark-sky Association

* Monitors area activities and attends, or ensures FLWO representation at, relevant city, town, and county meetings and public hearings. Provides assistance to planning staff as appropriate.

* Researches and prepares input to Environmental Assessments and Impact Statements for Federal and other agencies

* Coordinates site protection activities with MMTO staff and other regional observatories including Mt. Lemmon, KPNO, MGIO, VATT, Lowell, USNO, Apache Point, McDonald, Guillermo Haro, and Palomar; and with semi-professional observatories in Southern Arizona such as the Grasslands Observatory, Winer, and Tenagra.


* Applicants must meet the basic qualification requirements as described in the Office of Personnel Managementís Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions.

These standards may be viewed at the following address on the web at

In addition to the required basic qualifications, you must have one year of full-time experience at the grade 9 level that is close or similar to the work of this job. This experience would include activities such as planning, organizing, advertising, and executing public events, and coordinating an organizations efforts to educate the public, media, and government officials about a topic requiring specialized technical knowledge. Basic knowledge of astronomy and dark sky protection is desirable.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position. For complete information about this position and the online application procedures, please visit: USAJOBS

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.

Visit our SAO website.


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