National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Position Description:

Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is a diverse, exciting, and prestigious research facility that plays a vital role in the study of the universe. In addition to its scientific work, the Observatory is committed to outreach and education. The Observatory offers a wide range of programs and resources for students, teachers, and the general public, including tours, lectures, and online resources.

At NRAO, we are recruiting for a full time Education Specialist on the STEAM Education team within the Education and Public Outreach (EPO) division at our headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Education Specialist will assist in designing, creating, implementing, and executing formal and informal education programs for K-12 students and teachers, and other K-12 focused STEM groups. Subject matter will include a broad range of subjects related to radio astronomy, to be presented online and/or in person. The Education Specialist will also work with and support the greater EPO team efforts.

The STEAM Education team is split between NRAOs Charlottesville, Virginia and Socorro, New Mexico locations. The STEAM Education Manager and a second Education Specialist are based in New Mexico, along with three part-time tour guides. While this position is based remotely with respect to the rest of the STEAM Education team, the majority of the EPO division as a whole is located in Virginia, so this Education Specialist will not be working in isolation. An initial remote work arrangement may be possible, but the successful candidate must be local to Charlottesville, Virginia by the start of the school year.

In addition to competitive pay, NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective first day of employment. NRAOs retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participants base pay. No contribution is required of the employee; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.

What you Will Be Doing:

Reporting to the STEAM Education Manager, and working with the New Mexico Educational Specialist, the ideal candidate for this position will be responsible for, but not limited to:

  • Developing and implementing formal education, informal education, and professional development programs related to astronomy, radio astronomy and the NRAO for K-12 teachers and students
  • Identifying K-12 STEM/STEAM stakeholders and organizations at the city- (Charlottesville) and state- (Virginia) levels and working to establish ongoing relationships, understanding their needs, and proposing how NRAO EPO/STEAM Ed can be of support.
  • Planning and coordinating EPO Events such as Open Houses, Science Fairs, and exhibition booths with hands-on activities at local and state STEM events (when applicable).
  • Working with EPO News and Multimedia Groups and actively contributing to EPO short and long-term planning, program development, and reporting.
  • Compiling evaluation metrics and feedback to measure impact.
  • Delivering programs and presentations for the students, educators, and the public.
  • Answering queries from students, educators, and the general public about the NRAO and astronomy.
  • Others duties as assigned.

Work Environment

Work is typically performed in a educational, research, or development environment. May occasionally work at high altitudes. Occasional domestic travel is required. May work occasional evening or weekend events, and outdoors. Must be able to work a varied flexible work schedule.

Who You Are:

  • You have a Bachelor’s degree in astronomy, physical science, education, or a related field is required. Enthusiasm for astronomy education is required.
  • You have two to five years of classroom teaching experience (middle or high school) in physics, astronomy, or related subjects.
  • Experiences facilitating research experiences in the classroom (posing a research question, collection of data, data analysis and reporting on results) with actual data sets preferred.
  • Demonstrates ability to create inclusive and culturally responsive curricula that uses knowledge of ethnically diverse cultures and diverse teaching strategies, in order to engage a broad range of students, create a safe and respectful learning environment, and promote equitable learning.
  • Demonstrates commitment to promoting and sustaining principles of diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Strong ability to work in a collaborative team-based environment with both remote and non-remote colleagues (including a remote direct manager).
  • Proactive self-starter who is comfortable operating with some autonomy while maintaining the ability to drive a shared vision, mission, goals and objectives;
  • Flexible and adaptable, with the proven ability to maintain successful outcomes in changing environments.
  • Willingness to travel, if necessary.
  • Working knowledge of social media, multimedia applications, and office software such as MS Office. Experience with organization/productivity tools such as Trello, Slack, and Google Drive preferred.
  • Active learner with a desire to learn and grow through this opportunity.

Competency Summary

  • High level of competency in Microsoft software products and web-based systems, Visio and SharePoint.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with the proven ability to establish and maintain working relationships with a wide range of people and personality types.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including public speaking; and the ability to communicate comfortably and effectively with scientists, the public, educators, students, senior managers, and the media.


The selected candidate must successfully pass a post-offer, pre-employment background check which includes both credit and criminal, as a condition of employment.

Must have a drivers license and access to reliable transportation.

Must be able to lift 50 pounds and be on your feet for extended periods of time.

Applicants must be currently authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis.

Total Rewards:

AUI offers a comprehensive total rewards package for this position, subject to eligibility requirements. We are committed to serving our employees and their families with an extensive and competitive compensation and benefits package that supports our employees overall well-being and career growth.


AUI strives to attract and retain dedicated, highly qualified, competent, and motivated employees by offering competitive compensation and recognition for performance.

Factors which may affect starting pay may include; education, experience, skills, competencies, other qualifications of the successful candidate, as well as internal equity and labor market conditions.


AUIs benefits package addresses the needs of employees and their families with most benefits beginning on the first day of employment. AUI provides excellent paid time off (13 holidays, annual accrual of up to 24 vacation days and 15 sick days, additional time off for doctor/dentist visits, and 8 weeks of paid parental leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective on the first day of employment. AUIs retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participants base pay with no required employee contribution; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions. Time off benefits are pro-rated for part-time employees.

Application Instructions:

Select the Apply button. You will need to be prepared to upload the following items as a single PDF document:

  1. Cover letter describing your interest in this position, how your education and experience match, and outlines what you will bring to the NRAO. (maximum 2 pages)
  2. Curriculum vitae (maximum 5 pages)
  3. Sample(s) of K-12 curriculum frameworks/content developed and implemented by you

Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:

AUI is an equal opportunity employer. Women, Minorities, Vietnam-Era Veterans, Disabled Veterans, Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are encouraged to apply. To view our complete statement, please visit . If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process due to a disability, you may submit your request by sending an email to .

The NRAO is an equal opportunity employer (M/F/D/V)