Jobs & Volunteering

Food Service Supervisor - StarDate Café Manager

To support the outreach efforts of the Observatory by supervising and carrying out the food operations of the StarDate Cafe at the Visitors Center in a cost effective manner while providing a clean, safe environment and offering appetizing food and snacks for visitors, staff, and special events. Directs and supervises food preparation and sales. Carries out menu planning, food preparations, and services. Maintains and controls food inventory and other supplies. Insures cleanliness of the cafe. Inspects work and food service areas for cleanliness and appearance. Oversees and maintains cleanliness and safe working conditions in the kitchen and dining areas. Keeps food handling certifications current. Supervises and schedules cafe personnel. Hires, trains, and supervises, cafe employees in the general operation of the cafe menu preparation, clean-up, and stocking. Insures all cafe workers are performing duties that align with food handling requirements. Insures employee's time sheets are submitted on time and accurate. Prepares reports. Tracks food, sandwiches and supplies sales and expenses. Submits time reports weekly. Handles cash drawer and cash reports according to UT policies and procedures. Prepares and routes all paperwork in association with the cafe. Prepares and facilitates catering services for special events including but not limited to educational groups, workshops, special meetings, and Outreach and Development groups. Assists the Visitors Center and Observatory Managers in special event planning and group functions. Ensures that sufficient personnel is scheduled, food is prepared, delivered and displayed in a timely manner and that the facility is cleaned and returned to the original setting.

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Research Engineering / Scientist Associate I - Telescope Operator

Operate the Hobby Eberly Telescope facility in a safe and efficient manner at the behest of the Resident Astronomer and any visiting engineers. Much of the work will be from sunset to sunrise in front of a computer console. Conduct night-time operations, sunset to sunrise, at the behest of the resident astronomer or visiting staff. Operate facility including mirror alignment, setup and maintain setup on science targets, prevent and recover from problems, monitor weather and facility conditions, and coordinate with resident astronomer and engineers to efficiently complete engineering goals. Keep accurate, professional and clear night report. Contribute to a productive and efficient working environment. Support Night Time Operations - Attend general and operations staff meetings (usually during the day); communicate with outgoing Telescope Operator before shift; work with other Telescope Operators, supervisor, and the administrative associate to keep an up-to-date work schedule; and work on projects to support Operations (sometimes during the day). Support Day Time Operations - Provide Ops Engineering and review and comment on changes to facility operations. Other duties - Keep accurate and updated time sheets and complete required training and paperwork.

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Performs skilled work in the areas of preventative maintenance, repair, and installation of HVAC systems. Assists with the preventative maintenance, repair, and general support of other equipment, facilities and infrastructure.  Provides journey-level skilled work primarily in the area of HVAC systems. Maintains, repairs, and installs heating and air conditioning units. Maintains and improves preventative maintenance programs on HVAC systems. Supports electrical, plumbing, and telephone projects, operates University equipment, and perform monthly inventory of the equipment and supplies. Assist in preventative maintenance, repair and general support of facilities and other operating systems. Assists in general maintenance and repair of residential structures including plumbing, appliances, carpentry, roof repairs, and general renovation. Performs physical inventory, record-keeping tasks, and general maintenance duties. Submits orders for materials and services in accordance with state purchasing procedures.

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Volunteer Opportunities

The Public Observatory benefits greatly from volunteer support provided by area amateur astronomers. These individuals frequently bring their own telescopes to Star Parties in order to share striking views of the night sky with visitors to the Observatory.

On-site Amateur Astronomer Volunteers at the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center
Are you an experienced amateur astronomer looking for an opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with the public? Do you have an RV or travel trailer and the freedom to spend several weeks (or more) at a remote dark-sky site.

The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory is looking for experienced amateur astronomers to serve as site-volunteers to support the Observatory's extensive public programs. The Observatory's Visitors Center plays host to approximately 60,000 visitors each year, many of whom participate in the Center's array of outreach activities. Site-volunteers will assist with both daytime and nighttime activities including guided tours, star parties, special viewing nights, and summer scout night programs as well as other special programs at other times of the year. In exchange for a four week (flexible), ≤ 20 hrs/wk (depending on time of year, up to 12 evening/night hours & up to 8 daytime hours) commitment and upon successful completion of the application process, the site-volunteer will be granted access to one of the Observatory's RV sites (full hook-ups, etc., provided.) Other restrictions apply. Background check required. Greatest needs are typically through the month of March with our Spring Break crowds and late May through August during traditional summer vacation months.

For more information, please contact Frank Cianciolo, Visitors Center manager (frankc @ utexas . edu (remove the spaces), 432-426-4152).

Additional Volunteer Opportunities

The Frank N. Bash Visitor Center at McDonald Observatory offers volunteer opportunities to individuals interested in astronomy and/or education. The greatest need for volunteers has been during our public star parties at busy times of the year. We have several telescopes that we use for our public programs including a 16" Meade LX200, 22" Classical Cassegrain, 22" Dobsonian and several Celestron and Meade 8" Schmidt Cassegrains. Training is provided. If you would like more information please contact the Visitors Center through the Volunteer Coordinator or call us at 432-426-3640 and ask for Shannon Rudine.

See also: Outreach volunteer opportunities in Austin