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Carolina wolf spider in the Eastern Moors.

Director of Natural Science job opening

As you no doubt have heard is recent weeks, Nantucket lost one of its most knowledgeable and beloved biological souls to brighter horizons and will lose another in September.

Dr. Sarah Oktay former director of the UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station left in February to take a job in Colorado and Andrew McKenna-Foster, the Maria Mitchell Association's director of Natural Science, is leaving to go back to school in September. This leaves two big holes in their respective organizations that both UMass Boston and Maria Mitchell are now working to fill with the right people. 

Both are now advertising for these positions and so I thought I'd help a bit by re-posting their ads on Nantucket Chronicle in separate posts. Today's is the Maria Mitchell Association's call for a new natural science director:


Director of Natural Science

Type: Full-Time, requires flexible schedule including some evenings and weekends
Location: Nantucket, MA
Reports To: Executive Director

To apply, please send a letter of interest and CV to

Attn: Director of Natural Science Search
Lauren Berlin
4 Vestal St.
Nantucket, MA 02554


The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (NMMA) is looking for an enthusiastic and experienced candidate to run its aquarium and natural science museum, oversee associated programs and activities, and be the public face of the MMA’s natural science outreach. The Director of Natural Science should embody the MMA’s motto of “Explore, Educate, Enjoy.” Ideal candidates will have exceptional organizational and interpersonal skills. The position requires enthusiasm for natural history and marine exhibits and programs, a passion for inspiring students of all ages, and creativeness in reaching the general public. A broad understanding of ecology and natural history is essential.


Passion for exciting people about the natural world.
A love and curiosity for science, nature, and exploration.
Unbridled enthusiasm for teaching science to children and adults.


Aquarium, Natural Science Museum, and Program Operation

Work with and mentor student interns and volunteers year-round to:

Design exhibits and programs that inspire participants;
Display the unique animal life found on Nantucket;
Design and lead fun educational field trips for families

Oversee maintenance of equipment: tanks, pumps, filters, lights, etc.

Set-up and break down aquarium and natural science museum for summer and winter, including stocking and releasing animals.

Collaborate with the Director of Education to develop and lead off season programming for local families and off island school groups that utilize the facilities.

Community and Professional Interaction

Work closely with the Director of Education to implement programs and initiatives
Work with MMA department heads collaboratively on creating and leading cross-departmental programs and initiatives
Work collaboratively with other Nantucket conservation organizations and non-profits
Maintain current knowledge on advances and trends in the science center field


Develop and oversee 2-3 citizen science programs
Coordinate visits by research scientists using Natural Science Department resources
Provide assistance and resources for the local science fair or other student research

Staff Management

Hire, train and supervise 6-8 seasonal interns and up to 40 seasonal volunteers
Run the year-round volunteer and intern development program for local students
Assist with overseeing summer interns in dorm spaces and leading orientation activities

Logistics and Budgeting

Develop and maintain the budget for the Natural Science Department
When possible write grant proposals to fund equipment and projects
Renew and maintain compliance under state and federal permits
Oversee/schedule equipment maintenance and purchasing
Track admissions and program data


Master’s degree or greater in a science field
Five years’ experience in the science center/education field
Knowledge and experience maintaining terrariums and/or aquariums
Comfortable caring for captive animals
Experience designing, implementing, and evaluation dynamic programs for all ages
Experience supervising staff and volunteers
Comfortable learning and using scientific protocols
Ability to work with and coordinate researchers
Natural science collections management experience

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