HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 19-06
Opening date: November 21, 2018
Closing date: December 21, 2018

TITLE: Public Affairs Specialist, IS-1035, Grade 14; $113,929 to $148,108 Annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Federal. Career - Conditional
DIVISION: - Director's Office
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all qualified U.S. Citizens or U.S. Nationals Candidates with status are eligible to apply under Job Announcement # 19-07


SAO's pioneering efforts in developing orbiting observatories and large ground-based telescopes, the application of computers to astrophysical problems, and the integration of laboratory measurements, theoretical astrophysics, and observations across the electromagnetic spectrum have contributed to unveiling secrets of the universe. SAO scientists remain dedicated to increasing knowledge about those physical processes that shape the natural world, and to the diffusion of this knowledge.


Develops, manages and measures the success of media plans, press releases, and press conferences for all SAO science, working with scientists and partner organizations as necessary. They will maintain and develop relationships with top-tier media outlets and proactively seek out new media partnership opportunities.

Manages and coordinate all media and public affairs requests, including interviews and filming inquiries. Develops and executes reactive crisis communication plans and serves as spokesperson for SAO, including serving as public face for SAO at relevant events.

Works with scientists, engineers, designers, animators, videographers and image specialists to research and develop comprehensive written content packages as well as visual content. Packages must be scientifically accurate but tailored for key media and public audiences to be used on web pages, in social media, and the like. Serves as the final-edit for all public-facing written material.

Manages the public face of SAO and its partnership with Harvard, ensuring that our name and brand is represented consistently and correctly across all media, tracking and reviewing all media coverage to identify opportunities for enhancement, and ensuring that all media mentions are scientifically accurate


Your resume must demonstrate at least one year of specialized experience at or equivalent to the GS-13 grade level or pay band in the Federal service or equivalent experience in the private or public sector. Specialized experience must demonstrate the following:

Coordinating and implementing strategic communications, developing communication plans, assigning and proactively seeking out media coverage; preparing speeches and briefings, writing and disseminating articles and press releases; identifying and resolving a variety of complex public affairs issues and providing advice and guidance to senior leadership on all public affairs and communication issues.

Your application will be evaluated first for the basic qualifications described above. The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

1.Media Relations

2.Ability to develop, execute and measure communications plans.

3.Knowledge of astrophysics or related field.

4.Skill in science writing

5.Skill in conceptualizing and directing photorealistic science illustrations, visual and video assets and multimedia.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position. To view the complete vacancy posting, requirements and the procedures to apply, 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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