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Job Title:
Education Specialist, IS-1701, Grade 09; $67,743 - $88,065 Annually
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all qualified candidates eligible to work in the United States currently residing in the local commuting area of Cambridge, MA.


The Education Specialist will provide a broad range of educational, research, content development and digital-media production support to the Science Education Department (SED) of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, which is dedicated to improving STEM education and to increasing public interest in and understanding of core science concepts related to astronomical research.


The primary responsibility of the education specialist will include supporting SED’s research and development of programs for youth, educators, and public audiences that engage learners in using SAO’s MicroObservatory online telescopes. Additional responsibilities include contributing to research and evaluation data collection and analysis activities for SED education projects.


  1. Provide educational and content support to the SAO’s informal and formal education projects, including web, library, and image research on topics related to observational astronomy and astrophysics, and the preparation of interpretive and informational materials to be used in both digital and print media for diverse public and K-12 audiences, and communication, outreach, and dissemination of the projects. Inform and implement social media efforts on our web-based projects, including regular updates on Facebook, Twitter, etc., with the potential to guide these efforts.
  2. Create and coordinate written and digital media astronomy and science education materials, including web content and features, flyers, educational briefs, video tutorials, and newsletters. Contributes to the writing, editing, and design processes of educational media, publications, and other interpretive materials.  Research, develop, and produce media, content briefs and draft interpretive text to give instructions, provide context, and explain the scientific subject matter to diverse public and classroom audiences. Conduct simple audio and video planning and production, editing, post-production, and media management tasks.
  3. Guide logistics and assist with the development and implementation of educational programs and products for both adult and youth audiences (in both online and face-to-face settings). Apply knowledge of the science education needs of diverse audiences to make appropriate content and programming decisions. Coordinate the review of draft and final products with the subject matter and education specialists and clients.
  4. Assist with the development and dissemination of educational activities, such as hands-on and online telescope investigations and interactive or online computer activities, through research, logistical support, evaluation data collection, and other assistance. Proofread and edit curriculum and online content with an eye for detail.
  5. Assist with evaluation and documentation of SED projects, including assistance with the analysis of participant data and coordination of text and media-based materials for written, online, and video-based case studies of the projects.
  6. Conduct image and copyright research and materials/artifact acquisition for SED projects. Monitor and document appropriate copyright status and credit assignments for all materials and maintain databases of images and artifacts. Use image processing software to prepare images for the best scientific and educational effectiveness.
  7. Contact and communicate with scientists to coordinate their participation in education and outreach programs and identify resources for educational projects.  Establish and maintain active communication with educators, scientists, contractors, and media personnel within and outside of SAO to share information about the status of the SED projects.
  8. Some travel for conferences, meetings with project partners, and potential museum venues may be required.
  9. Performs other duties as required.


All applicants must meet these Basic Education Requirements:
A. Degree: that included or was supplemented by major study in science education or in a subject-matter field appropriate to the position.
Combination of education and experience -- courses equivalent to a major in education, or in a subject-matter field appropriate to the position, plus appropriate experience or additional course work that provided knowledge comparable to that normally acquired through the successful completion of the 4-year course of study described in A above.

In addition to meeting the basic education requirements, applicants must meet the following criteria to qualify for the grade level specified.
One year of full-time experience at the GS-07 level that is close or similar to the work of this job. The experience includes activities such as implementing science learning programs for classroom or out of school audiences.
Education: Two full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's or equivalent degree in education or a field related to the position may be substituted for the required experience.
Part-time and/or unpaid experience related to this position will be considered to determine the total number of years and months of experience. Be sure to note the number of paid or unpaid hours worked each week.

For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination requirements and its impact on your application, click on Smithsonian Institution’s Frequently Asked Questions.

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

The Smithsonian Institution provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation should contact the Human Resources Specialist listed. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

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

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The Smithsonian Institution is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We believe that a workforce comprising a variety of educational, cultural, and experiential backgrounds supports and enhances our daily work life and contributes to the richness of our exhibitions and programs. For more information on the Smithsonian EEO program please see

Learn more about SAO Human Resources

Visit the SAO website