Position Description

Science Program Evaluator and Educator
Job Category Fulltime Regular
ExemptOvertimeEligible Exempt
Benefits Eligible Benefit Based
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Job Summary

LIGO Laboratory (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) seeks a highly motivated and skilled Science Program Evaluator and Educator to join its education and public outreach team.  

This position is located in Livingston, LA.

LIGO Laboratory is a National Science Foundation major facility dedicated to observing the newly discovered gravitational-wave universe. Jointly operated by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the LIGO Laboratory operates world-leading observatories near Richland, WA and Baton Rouge, LA as well as R&D centers on the Caltech and MIT campuses. The LIGO Laboratory’s mission spans a broad and vibrant array of activities related to gravitational-wave physics and astronomy, including detector operations, R&D toward detector improvements, gravitational-wave astrophysics, observatory operations, and education and public outreach.

The LIGO Science Education Center (LIGO SEC) is collocated with the LIGO observatory in Livingston, Louisiana.  We use an exhibit hall, classroom, and other facilities to provide visiting students, teachers, and members of the public a hybrid program that includes exhibit-based free exploration and science-standards-based facilitated sessions, together with interactions with the staff at an active leading-edge observatory.

We use a multi-pronged approach to serve regional K–12 education, consisting of formal teacher professional development in the physical sciences, primarily during the summer; informal field trips for students of those teachers; and undergraduate docents trained in outreach methods who informally interact with the students and teachers during the academic year.

Our informal-science educators communicate the science of gravitational waves utilizing standard K-12 physical science concepts, as part of our mission to inspire a sense of wonder, to engage curiosity and to encourage and diversify the future STEM workforce. In order to accomplish our objectives, we partner with a variety of institutions including San Francisco’s Exploratorium and Southern University.

For more information, please visit the Laboratory website at www.ligo.caltech.edu/LA 

Life at LIGO Livingston as a Caltech Employee
LIGO’s observatory in rural Livingston Parish, Louisiana, is an approximately 35-minute commute from Baton Rouge, LA., and is about 1 hour 20 minutes from New Orleans.  Caltech employs a staff of 42 at the Livingston observatory. Caltech has an extraordinary science impact across many fields. Its small size creates a community where innovation and collaboration are the norm. Caltech manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA, the leading US center for the robotic exploration of the Solar System. Caltech also operates large-scale research facilities such as the Palomar and Keck Observatories.

South Louisiana enjoys a friendly and unique blend of cultures, food, art, music and festivals—including Mardi Gras each spring.  Baton Rouge, the State capital, hosts Louisiana State University.  New Orleans, founded in 1718, is one of the most distinctive and well-known cities in the Americas, and is considered the birthplace of jazz.  The region along the Mississippi River, which flows through both cities, includes a significant petrochemical industry base and several high-volume shipping ports.  Area rivers, lakes and the Gulf of Mexico provide opportunities for recreation and fishing.

People choose to work at LIGO for many reasons, often with fulfilling, long-term careers. LIGO is a family-friendly laboratory and strives to ensure everyone is able to achieve the work-life balance they desire. Employees have access to a wide range of benefits including a child-care assistance program. Caltech’s benefits program offers a quality, competitive benefits package that is affordable for you and the Institute. The program provides a strong base of coverage for you and your dependents, and the ability to choose the plan and the level of coverage that best meet your needs. We also offer a 403(b) defined contribution plan to eligible staff as well as a Voluntary Retirement Savings (TDA) Plan.

Caltech HR diversity page

Caltech and LIGO Laboratory’s goal is to build a world-class, diverse workforce and support an inclusive environment that encourages professional development and offers top-notch benefits. Our talented staff, who work at the Caltech campus, or one of our Observatories, come from a variety of fields. Positions include scientists, engineers, information technology staff, outreach professionals, managers, writers, business professionals, and administrative staff. We are deeply committed to encouraging people of all backgrounds to apply for these opportunities. Our experience has demonstrated that the broader the styles, characteristics, backgrounds, and abilities of our staff—in other words, the more diverse our team is—the greater potential we have for success. Caltech is an equal opportunity employer.

LIGO Laboratory is committed to being a welcoming place for everyone regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, or veteran status.

Essential Job Duties

  • Leads LIGO Livingston’s education and public outreach evaluation design, implementation, analysis and reporting.
  • Collaborates with EPO specialists at all LIGO sites to coordinate effective evaluation LIGO-wide.
  • Designs formative and summative evaluation plans utilizing quantitative and qualitative approaches for use at all LIGO Laboratory sites.
  • Collects evaluation data on student field trips, teacher workshops and docent training.
  • Analyzes evaluation data to ensure that program objectives are met, and that significant impacts are documented.
  • Analyzes our objectives for alignment with our mission and logic models, perhaps developing and proposing better ones.
  • Writes and disseminates evaluation reports that include analysis and recommendations.
  • Teaches K–12 students about the physical science related to LIGO using interactive programs demonstrations and exhibits via the field trip program and offsite programs.
  • Facilitates public interactions with LIGO via tours, demonstrations, exhibits and activities.
  • Facilitates teacher professional development.

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s (or higher) degree in education, science or engineering.
  • At least 5 years of experience working as a formal or informal science educator or evaluator, including experience gained as part of a relevant degree program.
  • Knowledge of informal science education principles and practice.
  • Knowledge of, and experience implementing, the Next-Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for K-12 education.
  • Experience evaluating science education, either formal or informal programs.
  • Experience designing, analyzing, and reporting on quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods evaluation programs.
  • Experience evaluating educational programs that use multi-dimensional learning approaches like NGSS.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Masters or doctorate degree in education, science or engineering, ideally with at least one degree in a physical science or related field.
  • 5 or more years of experience evaluating K-12 science education programs (formal or informal), and at least 1 year working as a science educator.
  • Experience designing quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods evaluation approaches.
  • Experience with both informal and formal science education regimes.
  • Experience working with and serving diverse populations.
  • Experience working with educational communities similar to those in the regions where LIGO operates its observatories: south Louisiana or eastern Washington State.

Required Documents

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter expressing your knowledge of and interest in LIGO and highlighting your relevant experience. 


COVID-19 Vaccine Required for All Employees

Caltech has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy effective October 15, 2021, requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees (with Institute-approved exemptions for religious or medical contraindications only). At present, an individual is deemed “fully vaccinated” when that person has received, at least 14 days prior, either the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson). Upon eligibility, employees are required to receive the COVID-19 booster as part of the vaccine mandate. As a condition of employment, employees must submit official COVID-19 vaccine documentation. More information may be found here.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Caltech is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

To read more Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) go to eeoc_self_print_poster.pdf.

Disability Accommodations

If you would like to request an accommodation in completing this application, interviewing, or otherwise participating in the employee selection process, please direct your inquiries to Caltech Recruiting at employment@caltech.edu

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