Jobs & Volunteering

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

Position is located at the McDonald Observatory in the Fort Davis Mountains, 440 miles from Austin, Texas. This position's normal work schedule is Saturday - Tuesday with 10 hour work days. Regular days off: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Provide the necessary skills to prepare meals and facilitate guests of the Astronomers Lodge. Participate in special events, supervision of casual employees and often work solo on weekends, therefore, requires some housekeeping, inventory supply and cashier duties. 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. Assists with special events. Supervises casual employees in the absence of the Sr. Food Service Supervisor. 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 back-up support for housekeeper on an as needed basis. Assists occasionally with cleaning rooms, entertainment room, 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.

More details on this position are at


Research Engineering/ Scientist Associate I - Opto-Mechanical Technician

The Hobby Eberly Telescope, located 500 miles west of Austin in rural West Texas, has an opening for a Mirror Lab team member. This position requires safe handling of telescope optics and precision alignment of
mechanical support systems. Use of climbing safety gear in temperature extremes of the Davis Mountains is required. Growth into support of our coating facility and mirror stripping operations will occur for the
motivated candidate. Previous experience with closed loop control systems, ability to perform repetitive tasks, familiarity with metrology equipment and willingness to work alone or in team situations will give the candidate a competitive edge.

Please apply at The University of Texas at Austin is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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