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 (REP) 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 REP 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 recent Ph.D. or similarly qualified researcher with expertise and interest in the study of informal STEM learning to participate in innovative research and development projects. The ideal candidate will have both theoretical and methodological expertise in the study of how learners explore computational thinking, data science, and/or related domains at the intersection of scientific and mathematical thinking. Familiarity with rigorous observational methods, current techniques in survey design and validation, and active forms of learning such as Making and engineering design are particularly desirable. Knowledge of the operational realities of science centers is preferable but not required.

The Research Associate 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 NSF-funded research and development projects, to inform the development of youth programming and visitor experiences in the museum. In the longer term, the research associate will work closely with both research colleagues and museum practitioners and designers to develop new lines of research 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: Research activities required for the position are likely to include collaborating with program managers and instructors to integrate data collection opportunities into programs for youth and activities for museum visitors; conducting design research examining the implementation of new programs or exhibits; planning data collection routines and supervising one or more research assistants; collaborating with both research and program staff to carry out data collection in complex settings; and contributing to capacity-building activities with the larger research and development team. Across all project work, the research associate will establish routines for documentation of formative research; identify and develop relevant instrumentation 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; contribute to the development of grant proposals; develop conference presentations; and write for both the research community and broader audiences.

Principal Responsibilities:

  • Contribute to both research and program development efforts focused on science, math and engineering learning and particularly on designing for equity.
  • Contribute to the development of a body of research focused on how learners engage with computational thinking, computer science, network science and/or data science, with a particular focus on the potential impact of exploring these topics with families and culturally diverse communities.
  • Translate research findings for informal educators and curriculum and exhibit developers and participate in discussion of the implications of research findings for design decisions.
  • Develop strong collaborative relationships with museum educators, curriculum and program developers, and other museum staff with varying areas of expertise.
  • Contribute to the development of proposals seeking funding for new research or research and development efforts.
  • Plan and lead dissemination efforts, including conference presentations and preparation of journal articles for a range of audiences.
  • Train and provide guidance or administrative direction to research staff.
  • Ability and willingness to participate in events outside the workday schedule. Must be available to work evenings and weekends on occasion
  • Supervisory responsibilities: May supervise one or more research assistants.
  • Complete other tasks as assigned.


Education: Ideal candidates will have or will soon complete a Ph.D. in social, educational or developmental psychology, the learning sciences, museum studies, science or mathematics education, or a related field.
Languages: Because many of NYSCI’s visitors and program participants speak languages other than English, competence speaking a language other than English – particularly Spanish – is relevant to the position.
Experience & Knowledge:

  • Commitment to the philosophy and mission of the New York Hall of Science.
  • Up to date knowledge of the research literature on mathematics, engineering, or science learning.
  • Ability to work comfortably with young people in informal learning settings.
  • Experience working collaboratively with museum educators, exhibit designers, or other informal STEM education practitioners.
  • Experience designing and conducting all phases of education research using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • Ability to organize, maintain and clean datasets derived from surveys or observational data.
  • Ability to conceptualize and develop research designs and methodologies, and expertise in organizing the logistics of field tests.
  • Experience supervising other researchers.
  • Strong communications skills with the ability to express ideas clearly both in written and oral communications.

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

Time commitment: Full-Time. 80% time could be negotiated for a doctoral candidate finishing a degree.

Application deadline: December 21, 2018.

Targeted start date: January 14, 2018.

Email resume and cover letter to: Please 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.