Communications Specialist

Job Summary

Outreach / Education Staff
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement
In-Person Location(s)

Tucson, AZ
United States

Job Description

The NSF’s NOIRLab is the preeminent US national center for ground-based, nighttime optical and infrared astronomy. NOIRLab is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) which operates as a matrix organization, providing services across a range of programs: Gemini, Rubin, MSO (CTIO and KPNO), and CSDC; with facilities in three geographic locations: Arizona, Chile and Hawai’i. The mission of NOIRLab is to enable breakthrough discoveries in astrophysics by developing and operating state-of-the-art ground-based observatories and providing data products and services for a diverse and inclusive community. 

The Communications, Education & Engagement (CEE) group consists of approximately 30 staff including communications specialists, educators, graphics professionals, and other content professionals. CEE is responsible for telling the story of NOIRLab and its programs in a cohesive and coordinated manner that is tailored to each of its target audiences.  

Communications Specialist is responsible for the production of part of NOIRLab communication products targeting internal and external audiences. The work involves building relationships, editing, writing, and coordination of audiovisuals.  

Working as part of CEE’s Communications Group the Communications Specialist is charged with the production of NOIRLab’s communication products targeting internal and external audiences.  

Essential Functions:

  • Weekly production of Internal Staff Newsletter.  
  • Building relationships with key contacts in NOIRLab's scientist team to ensure appropriate dissemination of news to our science audiences, including coordinating e-newsletters, The Mirror, social media posts for scientists, and assisting with NOIRLab's presence at AAS. 
  • Creating innovative campaigns to promote NOIRLab's public visits and other activities involving the public. 
  • Assist with social media production. 
  • Assist with press releases, external announcements, and other external news products. 
  • Developing content for the website, including the production of new pages, and coordinating updates to existing pages.  
  • Deliver inputs to the ongoing process of improving NOIRLab’s strategy for external and internal communications. 
  • Participation and engagement with colleagues at professional communications and scientific meetings. 

Other Functions: 

  • Other duties as assigned. 

 Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in astronomy, physics, communications or a related field. 
  • 2+ years of experience working as a professional public science communicator and supporting all aspects of communications production.
  • Demonstrated experience in effectively using social and new media as an external and internal organizational communication tool. 
  • A demonstrated passion for science communication. 
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to lead and coordinate projects and work effectively and efficiently on a wide range of parallel activities. 
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and an interest in internal and external organizational communication. 
  • Experience working as a professional public science communicator. 
  • Demonstrated experience in project coordination and leadership (ideally in science outreach, news or marketing). 
  • Highly flexible and willing to adapt to NOIRLab's processes and workflows. 
  • The ability to collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds, countries, and cultures. 
  • Be results-oriented — delivering prompt and efficient service on multiple concurrent projects under tight deadlines. 
  • Strong analytical skills and ability to anticipate/identify problems and provide workable solutions independently. 
  • Proactivity and ability to work effectively both in a team and independently. 
  • Native language level in written English and fluent language level in spoken English. 
  • Ability and willingness to travel internationally. 

Preferred Additional Qualifications: 

  • Sufficient astronomy background to fully understand and communicate the main points of astronomy research papers. 
  • Master’s degree in astronomy, physics, communications or a related field. 
  • Experience working with the US and international media. 
  • Experience supporting projects or organizations that are supported by US federal funding. 
  • Experience developing written staff communications ranging in scope from an entire organization to a business unit. 
  • Advanced proficiency and comfort with giving presentations to audiences of scientists and media. 

Physical Demands: 

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.  

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear.  
  • The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; reach with hands and arms and ​​stoop; kneel; crouch; or crawl.  
  • ​​​The employee must regularly lift and /or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 15 pounds.  
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.  
  • ​​​Must possess - sufficient mobility, strength, or dexterity in both arms and hands and both legs to a) reach upward, sideways, downward to work with paper files; b) sufficient mobility and dexterity to utilize computer systems​     ​, copiers, and other office machines.
  • Must possess – 1) ability to read and understand instructions, drawings, safety guides, and other written materials necessary to perform job; 2) sufficient visual capacity to perform the applicable functions without assistance of visual aids other than eye contacts or eye glasses; 3) sufficient spoken aural capacity to hear and understand instructions, warning bells, fire alarms, or shouted instructions without assistance of auditory aids other than a hearing aid; and 4) ability to impart information orally so that others understand and can respond appropriately.

Tucson, Arizona: Salary Range: $64,855 - $72,378. The final salary will depend on skills, qualifications, experience and job location. 

AURA offers an excellent benefits package including paid time off and retirement plan contributions, competitive salary commensurate with experience, and a very attractive work environment. Details on benefits can be found at  

Preference will be given to qualified internal candidates and qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

The position will remain open until it is filled. To be considered in the first round of reviews, please submit your application by April 12, 2024.

  • Please submit a cover letter and a CV or resume, PDF files preferred. Please name any attachments with the following format: Lastname Docname. 
  • Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to [email protected]
  • Please enter 3 professional references in your application (references will only be contacted later in the recruitment process). 

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at [email protected] 

Compensation and Benefits


Application Details

Application Instructions
Please Apply Online
Publication Start Date
2024 Apr 05
Application Deadline
2024 Apr 12
Reference Code