Smithsonian Institution Public Affairs Specialist in Amado, Arizona

Smithsonian Institution
  • 1 vacancy - Amado, AZ
Work Schedule is Full Time - Indefinite Trust Appointment. This is not a Federal position.

Opened Monday 9/19/2016 (31 day(s) ago)

** Closes Monday 10/31/2016 (11 day(s) away)

Job Overview

About the Agency

FLWO's public outreach activities have historically been a significant part of SAO’s contribution to the Smithsonian Institution’s mission of increase and diffusion of knowledge. Through its visitor center and community involvement, FLWO introduces SAO's pioneering work in astronomy to over 10,000 members of the general public each year. The PIO also provides essential public outreach in the area of site protection, educating the public, local and regional government officials, and others about the light pollution threats posed to the Observatories by new development.

  1. Plans, coordinates, and implements local and regional public affairs programs related to SAO’s operations in Arizona:
  • Manages the FLWO Visitor Center, including maintaining and updating public displays and video materials.
  • Enhances the public outreach aspect of the Observatory Website, and establishes and maintains a social media presence.
  • Recruits, trains, and oversees volunteers to staff the Visitor Center, and serve as tour guides, safety crew members and engineering assistants.
  • Organizes public and other special tours, public lecture series by astronomers from SAO and other institutions, and quarterly Star Parties. Establishes and maintains liaison with local amateur astronomy groups.
  • Assists schools and other organizations with science education, and maintains the MicroObservatory for the SAO Science Education Department.
  • Fosters close contacts with the media by responding to press inquiries, providing interviews, hosting visiting journalists, and assisting with filming for astronomy-related programs.
  • Plans, schedules and coordinates visits to FLWO by dignitaries, Institution and other officials, visiting scientists and/or staff from other Observatories, the media, and other interested parties. Works closely with the SAO Advancement Office to host potential donors. This includes the development and presentation of accurate and understandable information about Observatory research activities.
  • Serves as liaison with SAO Cambridge public affairs staff.
  1. Provides public outreach, education, and liaison in support of protecting the Observatory site from threats of degradation because of light and other pollution resulting from industrial, commercial, residential and other development:
  2. Serves as liaison between FLWO and government and agency officials including the USFS, Border Patrol, Santa Cruz County, Pima County, Cochise County, Town of Sahuarita, City of Tucson International Dark-sky Association
  3. Monitors area activities and attends, or ensures FLWO representation at, relevant city, town, and county meetings and public hearings. Provides assistance to planning staff as appropriate.
  4. Researches and prepares input to Environmental Assessments and Impact Statements for Federal and other agencies
  5. Coordinates site protection activities with MMTO staff and other regional observatories including Mt. Lemmon, KPNO, MGIO, VATT, Lowell, USNO, Apache Point, McDonald, Guillermo Haro, and Palomar; and with semi-professional observatories in Southern Arizona such as the Grasslands Observatory, Winer, and Tenagra.
Travel Required
  • Occasional Travel
  • May be required to travel to conferences, meetings, etc.,
Relocation Authorized
  • No
Job Requirements
Key Requirements
  • Pre- and post-appointment background investigation is required.
  • May be required to serve a one year probationary period.
  • Direct deposit/electronic funds transfer required for salary payment.

Applicants must meet the basic qualification requirements as described in the Office of Personnel Management’s Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions.

These standards may be viewed at the following address on the web at qualifications/SEC-III/A/0800-NDX.htm.

In addition to the required basic qualifications, you must have one year of full-time experience at the grade 9 level that is close or similar to the work of this job.

This experience would include activities such as planning, organizing, advertising, and executing public events, and coordinating an organizations efforts to educate the public, media, and government officials about a topic requiring specialized technical knowledge.

There is no specific education requirement for this series.

Three years of graduate study, a Ph.D. or equivalent in a related field may be substituted for experience.

Must have a valid State drivers’ license.

Security Clearance

Public Trust - Background Investigation

Additional Information
What To Expect Next

At the end of the application process you will be able to create and save a PDF file that contains your responses to the assessment questions. You may save this file as receipt of your application.

The Smithsonian receives many applications for each job. Each application is reviewed carefully which may take a few weeks. We will send you an e-mail to update you as we go through phases of the application review process. You may also check your application status by logging into and selecting the tab "My USAJOBS;" e-mailing; or by contacting the Office of Human Resources Representative listed.

Additional Information:

  • Tips on applying for Smithsonian jobs are available at

Review our benefits

Other Information

The Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses.

A recruitment bonus may be authorized.

The Smithsonian embraces diversity and equal employment opportunity (

Salary Range: $59,329.00 to $77,127.00 / Per Year

Series & Grade: IS-1035-11/11

Promotion Potential: 11

Supervisory Status: No

Who May Apply: This position is open to all qualified candidates eligible to work in the United States.

Control Number: 450833000

Job Announcement Number: 16-54