Research and Development Assistant

The Research, Exhibits and Programs department includes almost 50 researchers, informal STEM educators, exhibit designers, and program and curriculum developers. We embrace and benefit from the professional and personal diversity of our team’s expertise, perspectives and experiences. The group works in a variety of configurations to develop and implement creative, participatory learning experiences that awaken the curiosity of children, families and teachers. The department team aspires to be a learning community and to contribute to NYSCI as a learning community through openness, curiosity and an entrepreneurial spirit. We strive to create an informed environment through internal communications and participation in external networks of partners and collaborators.NYSCI’s Research, Exhibits and Programs department is seeking a research and development assistant with experience and interest in the study of informal STEM learning, to participate in innovative research and development projects. The ideal candidate will have some experience conducting research or prototyping in informal science learning settings, and experience collaborating with designers or developers on the production of a variety of learning resources. Familiarity with observational methods, and with literature on the identity development, are particularly desirable. Experience with researching and developing programs in engineering and/or makerspace programs for youth is also particularly relevant.The Research and Development Assistant will have both immediate and longer-term responsibilities. Short-term responsibilities will include contributing to the design and conduct of the research components of two current projects, to inform the development of both visitor experiences in the museum and digital learning products. In the longer term, the research assistant will work closely with both research colleagues and museum practitioners and designers to assist in developing new lines of research and development that deepen our understanding of how best to organize informal STEM learning experiences to ensure they are equitable, feasible and able to provoke sustained, creative engagement among visitors.Function: The Research and Development Assistant will provide support to research projects that pertain to museum-based activities and exhibits. Research and development activities required for the position are likely to include formative testing of new approaches and resources; design research examining the implementation of new programs or exhibits; observational study of visitor engagement over time; and impact studies using a range of methods. Across all of his/her project work, the research assistant will routinely document formative research and write up memos for the R & D team; will work with the project team to identify and develop relevant methods for capturing evidence of emergent STEM learning in informal settings; engage the project team in the interpretation and write up of emerging findings; build connections to current research on informal STEM learning by conducting literature reviews; assist in the development of grant proposals; develop conference presentations; and write for both for the research community and broader audiences.Principal Responsibilities: Assist with the collection of qualitative and quantitative data, for example: conducting interviews or focus groups or observations with visitors; administering and/or collecting surveys. Communicate regularly with research and exhibit development team about activity development process. Assist in play-testing and prototyping STEM activities for diverse audiences. Gather/and or create materials for prototyping sessions and formative research. Complete activity prototyping and formative research write-ups (detailing implementation and activity development for activities tested). Coordinate scheduling of meetings and testing with research and design staff. Create additional signage and support materials for program activities tested. Assist in training museum facilitators to help lead testing sessions. Work weekends with family audiences when needed. Participate in museum partner debrief sessions about activity setup and needs.

QUALIFICATIONSEducation: BA/BS, MA in appropriate field.Preferred, but not required: Conversational fluency in one or more language other than English. Background in a science center, natural history museum or children’s museum.Experience & Knowledge: Commitment to the philosophy and mission of the New York Hall of Science. Passion for and knowledge about the importance of science learning for all. Knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math. Some knowledge of basic research methodologies in education. Knowledge of dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform via written, oral and visual media. Experience serving diverse audiences of children and learning environments. Ability to plan and organize the activities of others. Ability to actively listen to what others are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, and ask questions as appropriate. Strong communications skills with the ability to express ideas clearly both in written and oral communications. Ability to communicate with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public and other external sources, in person, in writing, or by telephone. Ability to provide information to supervisors and co-workers, and to represent the organization to customers, the public and other external sources, in person, in writing, or by telephone. Ability and willingness to participate in events outside the normal workday schedule. Must be available to work evenings and weekends.

Compensation: Commensurate with education, skills and experience, including an excellent NYSCI benefits package.

Time commitment: Full-Time

Application deadline: February 28, 2018

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(865) 630-0626

(865) 630-0626

(865) 630-0626