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, and 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 public events and research 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 exploration invites broad participation and makes engagement and learning irresistible.

NYSCI has approximately 120 full-time and over 180 part-time staff members.

About the Position

Departmental Role:
The Research, Exhibits, and Programs department (REP) 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. REP works in a variety of configurations to develop and implement creative, participatory learning experiences that awaken the curiosity of children, families, and teachers. The Research, Exhibits, and Programs department supports NYSCI as a learning community through openness, curiosity, and an entrepreneurial spirit. We strive to create a scholarly, 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, and/or school-based 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 research literature on science learning is particularly desirable. Experience conducting research and developing programs in science, technology, and educational electronic games for youth are also particularly relevant.

The Research and Development Assistant will have both immediate and longer-term responsibilities. Short-term responsibilities will include contributing to the conduct of the research components of a large game-based curriculum and teacher development project, to inform the development of curricular digital learning products and online professional development resources. 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. The particular subject matter of these projects will vary but all will inform how best to organize informal STEM learning experiences to ensure they are equitable, feasible, and able to provoke sustained, creative engagement among visitors, students and their caregivers and teachers.

Function:
The Research and Development Assistant will provide support to research projects that pertain to museum-based outreach activities and exhibits. Research and development activities required for the position are likely to include: testing new teaching and learning approaches or resources, documenting the implementation of new programs, and conducting observations and interviews of visitors’ and educators’ engagement with digital tools and games and activities. The Assistant will routinely: observe and document formative research and write up memos for the R & D team, work with the project team to identify and develop relevant methods for capturing evidence of emergent STEM learning in formal and informal settings, contribute to the project teams’ interpretation and write-up of emerging findings, help to build connections to current research on informal STEM learning by conducting literature reviews, assist in the development of grant proposals, develop conference presentations, and author presentations and papers for both for the research community and broader audiences.

Principal Responsibilities:

  • Assist with collection of qualitative and quantitative data from teachers, students, and museum visitors by conducting interviews, focus groups, observations, administering and collecting surveys and performing data cleaning and management according to approved protocols;
  • Communicate regularly with research and program development team to coordinate the development of research activities;
  • Assist with playtesting and prototyping of STEM activities for diverse audiences (some of whom may not be native English language speakers);
  • Gather and/or create materials to be used in prototyping and formative research sessions;
  • Write up prototyping and formative research activity findings (including details about activity development and implementation of testing for project-related activities);
  • Coordinate scheduling of meetings and testing sessions with research and design staff;
  • Create signage and support materials for program activities adhering to IRB-approved protocols;
  • Assist with training of staff in facilitation of research sessions;
  • Willingness to work some weekends and evenings as needed with family audiences;
  • Participate in debriefing sessions and meetings with partners and staff.

Qualifications:
Education: BA/BS with relevant work experience or an MA in a related field. Experience working in schools and informal contexts a plus. Candidates who have conversational fluency in one or more languages other than English also a plus.
 
Experience and Knowledge:

  • Commitment to the philosophy and mission of the New York Hall of Science;
  • Interest in and/or experience with digital tools for learning and game-based learning, particularly in school settings;
  • Passion for the importance of science learning for all;
  • Knowledge in a STEM discipline and computational thinking skills;
  • Knowledge of basic social science research methodologies;
  • Ability to plan and organize the activities of others;
  • Ability to actively listen;
  • Strong communications skills with the ability to express ideas clearly both in written and oral communications.
  • Ability to communicate in all forms with people outside the organization, including project partners, educators, the public and professionals in the field.

Compensation: $50k-55k per annum, commensurate with education, skills and experience, including an excellent NYSCI benefits package.

Time Commitment: Full-time

How to Apply: Qualified candidates should send their resume and cover letter to jobs@nysci.org. Please include job title in subject line. No phone calls, please.

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.