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Outreach Assistant

Yerkes Observatory
373 West Geneva St, Williams Bay, WI 53191
$22 - $25 an hour - Part-time


373 West Geneva St, Williams Bay, WI 53191

Pulled from the full job description

  • 401(k)
  • 401(k) matching
  • Dental insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Vision insurance

Full job description

Job Title: Outreach Assistant

Status: Part Time Hourly, flexible

Hours: 10-20 hours/week. Must be available evenings.

Compensation: $22 - 25/hr

Benefits: Paid time off for earned vacation days

Short Summary (1-2 sentences)

The Outreach Assistant operates various telescopes at Yerkes Observatory, including the 125-year-old Great Refractor - the largest refracting telescope in the world. They run programs that show telescope views of astronomical objects for the public and students and engage with visitors from around the world on topics of general astronomy and the history of the Observatory.

Job Description/Responsibilities:

  • Lead nighttime programs for visiting groups and the general public.
  • Operate the various telescopes at Yerkes Observatory including the 125-year-old Great Refractor - the largest refracting telescope in the world, the 24” Boller & Chivens reflector telescope, and portable telescopes like Unistellar eVscopes and a 12” Meade.
  • Assist staff with special events at the Observatory and outreach events.
  • Work with the Observatory’s staff to develop innovative programming.
  • Answer questions about astronomy, the Observatory and other areas of interest around Lake Geneva, WI
  • Stay current with astronomy-related news and events
  • Enthusiastically engage and interact with visitors from around the world
  • Other duties as necessary

Required Qualifications and expectations:

  • Public speaking and interpersonal skills
  • Must be outgoing, personable, energetic, and enthusiastic
  • Available to work weekend and evening hours
  • Ability to effectively manage groups of diverse people
  • Interest or background in astronomy
  • Experience with telescopes
  • Background check

About Yerkes Observatory

This position offers a rare opportunity for the right candidate to make their mark on one of the iconic institutions and landscapes in the history of science.

Yerkes is known globally as the birthplace of modern astrophysics and remains the home to the world’s largest refracting telescope. Since 1897, an impressive list of noteworthy science luminaries have worked and studied here. This list includes Edwin Hubble, Gerard Kuiper, Carl Sagan, Nancy Grace Roman (NASA’s first Chief of Astronomy and the namesake of NASA’s next space telescope), and Nobel Prize winners Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and Gerhard Herzberg. Albert Einstein, who put Yerkes high on his must-see list for his first trip to the United States, visited in 1921.

Located on Wisconsin’s Geneva Lake in an elaborate Romanesque and Beaux Arts masterpiece, Yerkes Observatory opened to the public for the first time in 2022. It is roughly an hour each from metro Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison. It is within 75 miles of a population of 11 million potential visitors. The historic Observatory, which rests amid fifty acres of grounds designed by the legendary Olmsted firm, was recently designated a certified arboretum. Like the building and telescopes, the grounds are undergoing renewal, restoration, and rehabilitation.

In 2020, Yerkes Future Foundation (YFF) assumed long-term stewardship from the University of Chicago for preserving and restoring the Yerkes Observatory and its landscape. The Wisconsin-based foundation is currently leading an initial $30M campaign to restore and build the staff and programs. Future fundraising is planned for operations, endowment, and program growth. A significant portion of the initial $30M goal has already been raised. Restoration and major construction work on the site has been underway since mid-2020.

The goal of YFF is to ensure Yerkes continues to advance astronomy while transforming the Observatory and its grounds into a destination for science and discovery. The mission is to create a distinctive and singular experience where science, ecology, culture, arts, and curiosity cross-pollinate in novel and unique ways. Yerkes will be a national leader in growing the public’s understanding of and engagement with science by conducting astronomical research, building accessible hiking trails, presenting public talks by science luminaries and cultural influencers, offering school programs, hosting nighttime star parties, and more.

Benefits and Diversity Statements:

Yerkes offers a robust suite of benefits, including 80% employer-paid health insurance, 100% employer-paid dental and vision insurance, a 401k with a match of employee contributions up to 6% of your salary, employer-subsidized life and long-term disability insurance and access to a range of additional employee-paid insurance and benefits at reasonable cost.

The Yerkes Future Foundation (YFF) is committed to advancing diversity in the sciences and in employment. YFF does not discriminate in its hiring or employment practices. We encourage and actively solicit applications from diverse candidates.

Job Type: Part-time

Pay: $22.00 - $25.00 per hour


  • Paid time off


  • Evening shift
  • Weekend availability

Ability to commute/relocate:

  • Williams Bay, WI 53191: Reliably commute or planning to relocate before starting work (Required)

Work Location: One location