Jobs & Volunteering

StarDate Cafe hourly shift-work

The Café is seeking part-time hourly staff. To inquire, call 432-426-3644.


McDonald Observatory 2020 Summer Internship

Astronomy and Physics students are invited to apply for the summer internship in education and outreach at the McDonald Observatory Visitors Center.
Click here for full information.


Dark Skies Specialist - McDonald Observatory

Job Description: Supports and advances the dark skies education and public outreach initiative at the McDonald Observatory. Conducts evening and day time programing for visitors of the McDonald Observatory. Assists with community activities, special projects, events, and programs in support of night sky preservation.

This position is at McDonald Observatory, located 16 miles from Fort Davis, Texas (440 miles away from the UT Austin campus). Hours include weekends and evenings. Travel required.

Responsibilities

  • In coordination with staff, develop and test program and community activities to educate and demonstrate the effects of light pollution and the efforts to preserve our night skies for science.
  • Collaborate with communications and marketing team to develop messaging and materials to support events and general outreach. Assists with community activities, special projects, events and programs on and off site. 
  • Assist the Dark Skies Initiative Coordinator with public engagement and conduct programs for public and private groups.
  • Assists with creating and maintaining exhibits in the Visitors Center and other galleries and public spaces at the Observatory. Assists with the Cafe and Gift Shop when needed. Provides customer service and educational information to visitors of the Observatory.
  • Performs related duties as required.

Required Qualifications

Bachelor's degree. A combination of three years of experience in public affairs including media relations, journalism, coordination of special or promotional events, preparation of informational materials, conducting public relations activities, or formal or informal teaching. Basic computer skills including word processing, e-mail, and internet. Strong communication skills. Relevant education and experience may be substituted as appropriate.

Preferred Qualifications

Knowledge and understanding of light pollution, its impacts, and mitigation techniques. Two or more years of experience with Dark Skies Preservation. Two or more years of experience in communicating with diverse audiences in person and via print and digital media. Proficiency in Spanish.

For more information on this position, please see the full job posting here.


Building Attendant II - McDonald Observatory

Job Description: To perform general cleaning and housekeeping for a sixteen room lodging facility, a two bedroom suite, a cottage and a residence all of which are used as temporary quarters.

This position is located at McDonald Observatory, 16 miles from Fort Davis, Texas (440 miles away from UT Austin campus). The Astronomers' Lodge is open seven days a week and requires a variable work schedule to meet business needs.

Responsibilities

  • Performs general cleaning and housekeeping and includes: sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, washing of bed linens and towels, cleaning of bathrooms, hallways, recreation room, laundry room entrances, and other space as needed.
  • Cleans large kitchen and dining area. Washes dishes, pots, pans, utensils, etc. Assists with restocking food and supplies in the dining room area.
  • Assists with inventory control, which includes tracking housekeeping supplies, linens, towels, and furnishings. Informs supervisor of needed supplies and prepares orders for general supplies on a regular basis.
  • Processes room registration forms in preparation of guest arrivals. Verifies registration documents for guests. Maintains room key assignments for incoming guests. Accepts and processes guest payments when necessary.
  • Assists in the kitchen with food preparations in the absence of the kitchen staff and on special catering events.
  • Performs general building maintenance inside and outside of the lodging facilities. Submits work orders to the physical plant when additional support is needed. Monitors progress of maintenance and reports status of maintenance projects, including delays, to the supervisor.
  • Checking in supplies and/or food items, receipt maintenance, and cash handling.
  • Other related functions as assigned, including backing up other duties in the Astronomer's Lodge.

For more information on this position, please see the full job posting here.


Visitor Services Assistant I - Frank N. Bash Visitors Center at McDonald Observatory

Job Description: Serve as the visitor services representative to support the education and public outreach mission of the McDonald Observatory by coordinating reservations, admissions, and visitor activities at the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center.

This position is located at McDonald Observatory, 16 miles from Fort Davis, Texas (440 miles away from UT Austin campus). The Visitors Center is open seven days a week and requires a variable work schedule to meet business needs.

Responsibilities:

  • Greets and assists visitors, members, and groups upon arrival to the Observatory. Assists with responding to reservation questions via phone and email. Provides customer service and educational information to visitors.
  • Coordinates group sales and visits. Sell or collect admission tickets, passes, or memberships. Provide program and event information to visitors. Help solve customer concerns. Prepare operational reports or records. Assist in the receipt, disbursement, and accountability of funds and answering questions concerning policies and procedures. Prepare cashier booth for opening by securing cash from supervisor. Receives cash and checks, closes cashier booth and accounts for and turns in all monies and tickets received during a shift.
  • Assists with community activities and events on and offsite. Participates in a cross-functional team and works cooperatively with other staff members towards completion of projects. Assists with maintaining exhibits in the Visitors Center.
  • Assists with the StarDate Cafe and Gift Shop when needed. Assists with maintaining other telescope dome galleries. Performs janitorial duties as needed.

For more information on this position, please see the full job posting here.


Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers provide beneficial support to the Observatory and frequently bring their own telescopes to Star Parties to share striking views of the night sky with our visitors.

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.

McDonald Observatory is looking for experienced astronomy fans to serve as site-volunteers to support public programs. The Visitors Center see approximately 75,000 visitors each year. Volunteers assist with day and night programs including guided tours, star parties, special viewing nights, and scout nights. Access to one the Observatory's RV sites may be granted to approved volunteers able to commit to at least 20 hours/week of service. Background check required. Greatest needs are typically through the month of March and late May through August.

For more information, please contact Frank Cianciolo, Visitors Center manager (frankc@utexas.edu, 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 our Volunteer Coordinator, Shannon Rudine, or Public Affairs Specialist Christina Chapman.

See also: Outreach volunteer opportunities in Austin

 

Visitors enjoying a star party at the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center at McDonald

Star Party