Public Engagement Program Assistant

Full Time, Paid With Benefits

Open until position is filled.  Reviews beginning May 24th. 

Location: This position is based at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, Maryland. SERC is a research center of the Smithsonian Institution, located on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay, approximately 10 miles south of Annapolis, 40 miles west of Washington D.C., and 40 miles south of Baltimore. The 2,650 acre SERC campus contains a laboratory and office complex, as well as educational and waterfront facilities.

Starting Salary: $39,684/year plus benefits

Description: We are seeking a public engagement program assistant to facilitate the programs and activities of the SERC Education and Public Engagement Programs. Duties include: 

    • Tuesday-Saturday schedule, 8 hours/day full time
    • Implement public and educational programs across a variety of audiences and topics, including public  and K-12 programs. 
    • Lead classroom, laboratory, virtual, and outdoor activities. Topics will include estuarine and fisheries ecology, forest ecology, plant ecology, watershed dynamics, and wetland and water quality.
    • Lead virtual programs via programs such as Zoom and Google Classroom. 
    • Lead  on the water programs, such as canoeing and kayaking trips.
    • Coordinate volunteer activities such as training, scheduling, tracking, and recognition for a variety of volunteers of different ages and backgrounds.
    • Develop content for communication materials including webpages, newsletters, brochures, and other written materials. May also include demonstrations, table exhibits, and videos.
    • Incorporate SERC research into programs and content for a variety of external audiences. This involves working with a team of educators, senior scientists, technicians, undergraduate interns, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and visiting scientists. Interfaces with scientific researchers to interpret environmental science concepts and research concepts and methods for non-scientists.
    • Assist with various promotional events and activities, such as tours, lectures, open house events, Science Saturdays, demonstrations and exhibits designed to increase program visibility as well as to engage members of the community and recruit volunteers.
  • Assist with training and mentoring interns. 
  • Care of live animals such as fish and turtles.

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, marital/parental/caregiver status, and disability. The SERC community recognizes the value of diversity in promoting innovative science and creative solutions, and we strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply. We recognize that each applicant for this role will bring unique skills, knowledge, experiences, and background to this position. Competitive candidates will have some, but not necessarily all, of the listed qualifications and experiences.

Desired Qualifications and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in natural sciences, social sciences, or education, with formal understanding of the principles of environmental science.
  • Experience implementing public outreach and/or educational programs.
  • Group management skills and abilities.
  • Natural history background and experience (for example Master Naturalist training or similar courses)
  • Ability to relate to people of diverse backgrounds and ages.
  • Working knowledge of computer programs for word processors, virtual communication, and data files. 
  • Knowledge of virtual presentation software, such as Zoom
  • Kayak and canoe certification or experience 
  • First aid & CPR and AED certification
  • Experience with video/photo editing and website maintenance
  • Skill in public speaking with medium (20-50 people) to large (50+ people) groups
  • Ability to work as a team member.
  • Flexibility to adapt to changing schedules and conditions Good time management and organizational skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to take initiative and responsibility.

To Apply: Applications should include a cover letter that clearly describes your work experience, education, and training as it relates to the position and a current resume, Applications should be submitted by email to Education Outreach at