Jobs & Volunteering

Employment Opportunities


StarDate Cafe hourly shift-work

The Café is seeking part-time hourly staff to help with our busy summer season. To inquire, call 432-426-3644.

Mechanic / Technician - McDonald Observatory

Purpose: Purpose is to provide primarily journey-level skills to perform work in a variety of technical trades in the maintenance, repair, fabrication and operations of a remote research facility, performing skilled work in an electrical, mechanical, and HVAC environment.

Essential Functions: Provide skilled work with HVAC and electrical systems in commercial and residential structures. Perform maintenance, repair, and trouble shooting of residential, commercial, and telescope structures related to mechanical, electrical, HVAC, and hydraulic systems. Assists with carpentry and general residential maintenance including (but not limited to) concrete work, structure repairs, drywall, painting, appliance servicing, and plumbing repairs. Perform preventive maintenance task as required on telescope domes and physical plant equipment. Support projects involving plumbing, electrical, and residential repairs and upgrades. Operate various types of equipment including tractor, backhoe, and forklift. Assist with welding, machining and fabrication of aluminum metal parts and assemblies. Utilizing metal lathe, milling machine and drill press. Ability to interpret three dimension assemblies from two dimension drawings. Maintain logs and records on equipment. Informs supervisor of conditions. Help co-workers as necessary with various disciplines in a team oriented environment. Perform emergency service duties as assigned including ERT training and related activities.

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Assistant Food Service Supervisor - Astronomer's Lodge - McDonald Observatory

Purpose: Assists in the supervision of the Astronomer's Lodge (AL) food services operation at the McDonald Observatory. Prepares and delivers food for employees and customers. Plans meals, manages stock, keeps accurate records, keeps AL clean, and cashier. Participates in special events. May work independently on weekends.

Essential Functions: Prepares and serves meals, beverages, and other items according to the posted menu. Helps to develop new menus, learns new recipes, and implements menus in a professional manner. Cleans kitchen and dining area, washes dishes, pots, pans, appliances, cabinets, and other items as posted. Performs additional heavy cleaning as needed including, but not limited to, such items as vent hoods, ice machine, cabinets, freezers and refrigerators. Assists with ordering food items and supplies as needed. Assures proper stock of guest refrigerator and snack area. Properly thaws frozen foods for meals on the following day, plans in advance according to menu. Verifies product is on-hand to fulfill menu requirements. Provides housekeeping and room cleaning, including entertainment room, and does laundry and other areas as assigned. Answers telephone and takes complete messages. If calls are in regard to room reservations, accurately prepares registration forms. Assists with room and key assignments for incoming guests. Assures that rooms are ready for incoming guests. Prepares billing documents for guests on an as needed basis. Supervises casual employees in the absence of the Supervisor. Participates in special events.

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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


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

Star Party