Research Assistant, Sara Lee Schupf Family Center for Play, Science and Technology Learning (SciPlay)

Background: Since its founding at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) has inspired millions of people—children, teachers, families—by offering creative, participatory ways to learn and encouraging people to explore their curiosity and nurture their creativity. Located in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the country, NYSCI welcomes 500,000 visitors each year and serves thousands more through outreach in schools, teacher professional development and participation in a variety of events, research and design initiatives.

NYSCI is a leader in the science museum field, recognized for its highly regarded exhibitions, programs, and products, all of which are informed by strategies of engagement called Design-Make-Play. The defining characteristics of Design-Make-Play—open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, personal relevance, deep engagement and delight—are the ingredients that inspire passionate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learners. NYSCI engages diverse communities of learners, particularly young people, in STEM, by fostering the excitement of self-directed exploration and by tapping into the joy of learning intrinsic in young people’s play. Our transformative model for STEM not only invites broad participation, but also makes learning and engagement irresistible. NYSCI has approximately 120 full-time and over 180 part-time staff members.

Departmental Role: SciPlay is the applied research center on play, science, and technology learning within the Research, Exhibits, and Programs (REP) department. SciPlay researchers conduct formative research and run numerous research initiatives that utilize NYSCI as a laboratory for studying learning. They strive to disseminate REP work at conferences and in publications.

 The REP department includes almost 50 researchers, STEM educators, exhibit designers, and program and curriculum developers. 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.

 SciPlay is seeking an entry-level research assistant to contribute to a range of research and development projects. The Research Assistant will have both immediate and longer-term responsibilities. The assistant will immediately participate in recruitment of research participants, data collection and management. In the longer term, the research assistant will contribute to the design and testing of a range of exhibits, resources, and digital tools to support creative STEM learning both within and beyond the museum. While this position is intended as an entry-level role, we encourage candidates with Master’s degrees in a relevant field to apply and would like them to know that their qualifications will be taken into consideration.

Function: The research assistant will provide support to research and development projects. Key activities may include collecting and maintaining research bibliographies, supporting data collection and management, writing memos, and participating in proposal development efforts. This work may require the research assistant to work on research projects with other NYSCI’s departments, document design meetings, conduct formative testing with visitors on the floor of the museum and during special museum events, and be trained in and become familiar with Institutional Review Board procedures.

Principal Responsibilities:

  1. Assist with the collection of qualitative and quantitative data, for example: conducting interviews or focus groups or observations; administering and/or collecting surveys and tests.
  2. Interface with schools and external partners to coordinate recruitment of participants for programs and research.
  3. Assist with the design and delivery of professional development workshops and materials for teachers.
  4. Assist with planning and conducting teacher meetings.
  5. Assist with the development and deployment of assessment instruments.
  6. Contribute to the development of literature reviews.
  7. Maintain digital data and metadata, including video and audio recordings, transcripts, pre/post tests and surveys, and images or .pdfs of artifacts, following established protocols.
  8. Assist with the prototyping and development of digital games and apps.
  9. Contribute to the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data while being trained in basic analytic methods, such as analysis or a priori coding scheme, visually representing data sets; and statistically analyzing quantitative data.
  10. Contribute to the dissemination of findings and collaborate on written reports and presentations.
  11. Complete other tasks, as assigned.


Education:           BA/BS, MA in appropriate field.

Experience & Knowledge:                       

  • Commitment to the philosophy and mission of New York Hall of Science.
  • Passion for, and knowledge about the importance of science learning for all.
  • Knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math.
  • 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.
  • High level of comfort with technology, including Google Drive, Microsoft Office, the iOS and Android platforms and devices.
  • Ability to provide information to supervisors and co-workers, and 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 workday schedule. OR Must be available to work evenings and weekends.

A science center, natural history museum, or children’s museum background is preferred, but not required.

Supervisory Responsibilities: None

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

Time commitment: Full-Time

How to apply: Qualified candidates should send resume and cover letter with salary range/requirements. No calls please.

Application deadline: May 30, 2017

Target start date: July 1, 2017

Please email to and include job title in subject line.

The New York Hall of Science supports diversity in the workplace. NYSCI is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer (EOE) and supports a drug free workplace.