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Dec 21 / BARD CEP

Science Engagement Specialist- Maryland

Organization: COMPASS- Communication Partnership for Science & the Sea

Position Title: Science Engagement Specialist

Location: Silver Springs, MD, US

Hours and Compensation: COMPASS offers a competitive benefits package and salary commensurate with position and experience. This position will be based in either Portland or Corvallis, Oregon (co-located with other COMPASS staff). Some travel required (attending select COMPASS events and an annual staff retreat).

Application Deadline: January 13, 2014


Organization Overview

COMPASS is dedicated to helping scientists connect themselves and their science to the wider world. By giving scientists communication and leadership skills, and by bridging the worlds of science, journalism and policy, COMPASS works to ensure that scientists are better connected to, and engaging with, society. We are leading science communication practitioners. We are coaches, connectors, and conveners. We help scientists as individuals and as a community more effectively bridge the gaps between science, the public dialogue, and policy. COMPASS predominantly works with scientists from across North America, connecting them to leading media and journalists and transformative policy dialogues (in Washington, D.C. as well as at the state and regional levels). Our reach occasionally extends internationally, particularly through our trainings and media work. While we were founded over a decade ago to support ocean scientists, we now support science/scientists working at the intersection of people and the environment.

COMPASS staff are distributed across the country in Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, and the District of Columbia. Our organization is growing. Our team is innovative, intelligent, dedicated, hardworking, supportive and fun. We strongly support the professional growth of members of our team, and offer opportunities for staff to take on increasing responsibilities over time. We are all passionate about COMPASS and the role of science – and especially scientists – in society. We are looking for individuals to join our team, help us grow, and grow with us. Please visit our website, and or our blog,, for more information about our staff and our work.

COMPASS seeks motivated candidates, with expertise at the intersection of science, policy and communication, and a keen interest in science, environment, and society, for the position of COMPASS Science Engagement Specialist. While COMPASS is a distributed organization, this position will be co-located in Silver Spring Maryland, with the Director of Policy Outreach, Assistant Director of Policy Outreach and COMPASS Coordinator.


The Science Engagement Specialist will support our growing work to connect scientists and policymakers to transform, frame, and catalyze the policy dialogue regarding natural resource issues across oceans, freshwater, and land (75% of this position). The remaining 25% of the specialist’s time will involve working closely with the COMPASS team to support a variety of other activities including scientists’ media outreach, communication and policy trainings for scientists, and topical workshops designed to help scientists as a community be more effective communicators. Working closely with the Director of Science Policy Outreach and other COMPASS staff, the Science Engagement Specialist will:


1. Support scientist engagement with key decision-makers

  • Provide programmatic support for a range of activities (meetings, briefings, panels, workshops, field trips), including building working relationships with relevant scientists and policymakers, cultivating relationships to understand the landscape of emerging issues, and developing background materials and leave-behinds
  • Contribute to the content development of print and digital materials, such as informational one-pagers, flyers, scientific manuscripts, and symposium proposals
  • Stay current on relevant science and policy dialogues by working closely with scientists and key partners (governmental and non-governmental) and researching key scientific, policy, and media resources
  • Liaise with policymakers to build and maintain a trusted network of contacts, spanning span Congress, federal agencies, state and regional decision-makers, and other relevant audiences

2. Support the implementation of other COMPASS activities, including communication and policy trainings, workshops, and media outreach

  • Create new content and organize existing content for communication and policy trainings
  • Scope potential participants, assess relevant science, and conduct other background research for topical workshops that empower scientists as a community to be more effective communicators
  • Review scientific publications, conference sessions, grant proposals, and other sources for newsworthiness or policy relevance, and edit relevant materials

3. Be an integral member of the COMPASS team, including:

  • Support other COMPASS staff and projects, ensuring their efforts are enhanced by the successful candidate’s expertise in researching, summarizing, supporting and/or networking
  • Liaise with other COMPASS staff to ensure our larger strategies are well-integrated across programs and staff
  • Contribute to COMPASS efforts to organize and track the information and impact flowing from our events, activities, and networking
  • Contribute to grant proposal and reporting efforts, by providing key content about our engagement efforts

There is room for this candidate to grow, learn and take on new responsibilities within COMPASS as opportunities and interest align, including:

  • Coaching scientists to be more effective communicators
  • Leading portions of our communication and policy trainings
  • Pitching stories to journalists to contribute to media outreach


COMPASS welcomes applicants with diverse knowledge and expertise at the intersection of science, policy and communication. Candidates must be keen to network extensively with both scientists and policymakers and have strong interpersonal and written communication skills. S/he must be well-organized and comfortable simultaneously working on a diversity of tasks on various timeframes, including those with rapidly changing deadlines. Candidates must be keen to work both independently and as part of a diverse, highly motivated, geographically distributed team.

The candidate must have:

  • A graduate degree in fields relevant to our work (e.g., ecology, environmental science, sustainability science, natural resource management or policy, or science journalism) OR an undergraduate degree in a relevant field plus 3-5 years of relevant experience
  • Ability to professionally network and build and maintain working relationships
  • Excellent attention to detail and organizational skills
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Willingness and ability to accommodate rapidly changing deadlines and unplanned periods of high-intensity work
  • Ability to work collaboratively (most frequently) as well as independently for periods of time
  • Interest and ability to learn and quickly adopt new technologies and tools
  • A work style that combines tenacity, creativity, and troubleshooting skills
  • A positive, upbeat personality with patience, enthusiasm, an ability to be direct, receive constructive feedback, and an ability to proactively communicate expectations to other teammates

In addition, the ideal candidate will have:

  • Fluency with office productivity software including, but not limited to, Microsoft Word, Excel, Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop, Pages, and Keynote
  • Proficiency with, or ability to quickly learn Mac systems and the various technologies COMPASS uses for online communication and file sharing, such as Skype, DropBox, the suite of Google applications (e.g., email and Google docs), and more
  • Aptitude with or willingness to master professional uses of social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook
  • An appreciation for the culture of policy and/or journalism, as well as science
  • A passion for science, science communication, and environment

How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references as one single PDF titled ‘LastName_FirstName_Engagement’ to Erin Moomey, Operations Manager, at [email protected]. Priority consideration will be given to applications submitted before Monday, Jan 13, 2014. COMPASS will not contact your references without your permission, and will keep your references’ contact information confidential. Although we would like someone to start as soon as possible, the start date for this position is flexible based on candidate availability. The full job description can also be found on our website.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Because COMPASS uses the Tides Center as a fiscal sponsor, the Tides Center is the legal employer of this position. Tides Center is an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage and seek applications from women, people of color, including bilingual and bicultural individuals, as well as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. Applicants shall not be discriminated against because of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, marital status, medical condition (cancer-related) or conditions Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and AIDS-related conditions (ARC). Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified disabled applicants may participate in the application process. Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application.

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