Family Learning Research Associate

New York Hall of Science

Organization Description: 
NYSCI is New York City’s science center, a place where everyone is invited to explore how science and engineering shape our world, and how we can use scientific tools and ideas to answer questions and solve problems. Visitors pose questions, design solutions, explore phenomena, and work together to make amazing things happen.

Located in Queens, one of the most diverse counties in the U.S., NYSCI welcomes 400,000 visitors annually, including families, students on field trips, and camp and after school groups. NYSCI also works with thousands of teachers each year to make classroom science more relevant, exciting and meaningful to students, and conducts innovative research about how science learning happens through everyday experience.

Our exhibitions, programs, and products 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 STEM learners.

Position Description:
NYSCI is seeking a post-doctoral level research associate to contribute to a research-practice partnership that brings together museum educators, caregivers, and pre-K educators at a new, STEAM-focused public preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds located on NYSCI’s campus. Working with stakeholders across the partnership, the associate will study how families navigate learning experiences across formal and informal settings, how educators across sites approach the process of identifying and centering families’ knowledge and cultural practices, and the evolution of children’s learning and caregivers’ involvement in shared family learning experiences across community contexts. The associate will advance this line of work by developing theoretical frameworks, gathering research evidence with various community members, and examining current educational practices. At NYSCI, the Research Associate will work closely with two Director-level researchers and will supervise one or more research assistants to develop and conduct this work.

The associate will work with individuals with a wide range of perspectives and areas of expertise, including designers, educators, and community members, to identify shared questions and needs, gather data in complex real-world settings, and synthesize knowledge from both research and practice. Experience communicating research with nonexpert audiences and familiarity with practices for using research evidence to guide the iterative development or improvement of learning experiences will be essential. In addition, ability to communicate in Spanish is essential to the role, as NYSCI’s local community includes many first-generation Spanish-speaking households.

The research associate will also contribute to institution-wide efforts to develop equitable practices for supporting STEM learning. NYSCI is fundamentally an institution that supports continual improvement and learning, and all of our work is a sustained investigation of how best to support our highly diverse audience as they explore science and engineering concepts and practices. Observing, talking with, and learning from visitors and community members across a wide range of ages and identities is a core professional practice for this position.

Reports to:
2 director level Researchers

Job Requirements & Responsibilities:
The primary functions for the Research Associate are project management, developing and implementing research plans to examine early STEM learning and caregiver engagement, dissemination and communication of research findings with various audiences, and grant-writing to further develop lines of research on early STEM learning. Each of these functions is described in further detail below.

The Research Associate will be a collaborative and family-focused researcher who is able to:
– Build and sustain relationships with colleagues across departments and with external partners
– Use research processes to understand and address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in early STEM learning and family engagement
– Identify promising directions for future studies that build on emerging research findings, promising educational practices, and current theories in the learning sciences, child development, and related fields.

– Project Management
– Soliciting input from colleagues and community stakeholders to guide project activities
– Establishing and maintaining systems for project documentation and collaboration
– Monitoring budgets, paying invoices
– Establishing and maintaining project timelines and deadlines
– Developing and implementing research plans
– Bringing colleagues and external stakeholders together to define shared goals and research questions
– Building and maintaining relationships with internal and external collaborators
– Conducting and/or overseeing data collection for studies involving children, caregivers, educators, and other community stakeholders
– Conducting and/or overseeing data analysis, with an emphasis on qualitative analyses
– Leading interpretation and write-up of research findings
– Dissemination and communication
– Identifying publication opportunities
– Leading writeup and publication process for articles for both research and practitioner audiences
– Planning for and delivering conference presentations
– Sharing regular project updates across departments and with external partners
– Grant-writing and development of lines of research
– Tracking on relevant external research to inform project work and proposal development
Identifying promising directions for future research projects, with support from supervisors
Contributing to theoretical frameworks, literature reviews, and research plans for grant proposals

The research associate may supervise 1-2 research assistants as the scope of this body of work grows. Supervisory responsibilities will include providing structure and guidance for participant recruitment, data collection, and data analysis; providing regular performance feedback; and conducting annual performance reviews. Prior supervisory experience is not required.

Candidate Qualifications:
This position requires disciplinary and methodological expertise; ability to communicate effectively in Spanish and experience working with Latinx families; experience working with children and adults outside of school settings; genuine interest in issues of educational practice; and a commitment to collaborative, creative approaches to designing and implementing research.

Education: A PhD (completed or near completion) in community, developmental, or cognitive psychology, the learning sciences, early childhood education, or another field relevant to the study of STEAM learning in out-of-school settings; or alternative, equivalent experience (as described below).

A minimum of five years’ experience conducting research on family learning and/or early STEM learning is required. This may include research/field experience during graduate school, and/or experience working in preschool classrooms. Other relevant skills include the following:

– Commitment to the philosophy and mission of the New York Hall of Science;
– Knowledge of best practices for developing and sustaining research-practice partnerships;
– Experience developing ideas in partnership with diverse teams of researchers, practitioners, community members and advocates.
– Ability to guide a groups or individuals to accomplish complex, multistage tasks;
– Ability to integrate issues of equity and inclusion into research frameworks and data collection activities;
– Commitment to building strong STEM learning ecosystems for young children and/or families;
– Strong communications skills with the ability to express ideas;
– Experience contributing to proposals to public or private funders to support research initiatives;
– Ability to communicate in Spanish (spoken and written);
– Evenings/Weekends: Ability and willingness to participate in events outside the workday schedule, including evenings and weekends, based on project needs.

Experience working directly with families and/or with staff at a science center, children’s museum, preschool, or other family- focused community organization is preferred but not required.

Position Type:

Union Status:

FLSA Status:

Salary or Compensation:
Commensurate with education, skills and experience

NYSCI strives to be an inclusive and equitable place to work. We work to foster diverse voices and perspectives, empower staff as problem solvers, and support professional growth for all.

The New York Hall of Science also offers generous benefits and perks for all regular full-time employees.

These currently includes:
– Health, dental and vision insurance options
– Flexible spending accounts for healthcare, dependent care and commuter benefits
– Pension plan and 401k plan
– Free life insurance coverage
– Paid vacation and sick leave
– 13 paid holidays off
– Flexible work schedules
– Employee Assistance Program
– Free onsite parking

Organization or Project Website:

Application Info:
Please send cover letter and resume to Please include job title in subject line.

If there are preparations we can make to help ensure you have a comfortable and positive interview experience, please let us know.

No phone calls.

The New York Hall of Science is an equal opportunity employer committed to fostering an inclusive and innovative environment with the best employees. We provide employment opportunities without regard to age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, military service, marital status or any other protected status in accordance with applicable law. We support a drug-free workplace.