Job Opportunities

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers many opportunities for students, professionals, and volunteers.

Job Openings at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Located at the Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity in the 220-acre Sapsucker Woods sanctuary, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is the world's leading resource for conservation, research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. The lab is a vibrant unit within Cornell's College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, where several full-time faculty teach undergraduate courses, advise graduate students, and manage world-class, mission-driven programs. Our management and staff are committed to the highest standards of ethics and excellence in all areas of our work, and our Board leadership includes faculty from Cornell and other universities, successful entrepreneurs and managers from the business and non-profit sectors, and conservation-minded citizens from the United States and beyond.

To apply for the positions below, please refer to the Jobs at Cornell website unless otherwise specified. For more information on the positions listed below, please contact Sue Taggart; (607) 254-2470.

For more jobs in ornithology, see listings from the Ornithological Societies of North America.

Program Manager

The Macaulay Library (ML) at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (the Lab) is the world's largest (over 250,000 media assets) and oldest (started in 1929) scientific archive of biodiversity media recordings (audio, video and photos); it is the most heavily used archive of its kind in the world. ML assets are media-based biological specimens, much like the specimens in more traditional biological collections, but that uniquely capture the behavioral traits of living organisms. ML media specimens are used extensively in scientific research, having been cited for use in over 600 scientific publications. They are also used for a diversity of non-scientific purposes, including museum exhibits, educational resources, phone/tablet "apps", commercial products and numerous artistic productions (e.g., Hollywood and documentary films, broadcast television, musical compositions and other high-visibility endeavors). Altogether, ML processes over 350 requests for media per year from outside clients (scientists, educators, museums, artists, etc.), with many of the requests custom tailored and being for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of individual media assets. ML media assets are also used extensively by other units within Cornell University and other Lab programs, for example in media-rich websites. With an annual operating budget that exceeds $1.5 million, ML is involved in a complex mixture of organized and departmental collection, production, outreach, educational and research activities.

The Macaulay Library Program at the Lab is currently seeking a Program Manager. Duties include:

  • Oversee the continued development and implementation of ML's overall collection strategy and will supervise and lead the management of all administrative, operational and collection activities of ML.
  • Represent ML from a management perspective in meetings and other interactions within the Lab and the University.
  • Ensure that the management, administrative and collection functions of ML operate smoothly and according to Lab and University policy.
  • Collaborate with other ML Leadership Team members to implement and communicate the vision of the Program Director and the objectives of ML's strategic plan into a formulated operating plan, including annual and long-term goals, strategies and finances.
  • Collaborate on the setting of activities, projects and strategies that align with ML's mission and Lab priorities.
  • Provide direction and accountability for all day to day collections operations.
  • Ensure that priorities are set and met for the development of ML collections, management of media submissions, management of media-specimen preparation and preservation, metadata record creation and enhancement and media distribution.
  • Facilitate interdisciplinary dialog and collaboration among the multiple functional areas of ML, such as collections development, collections management, research and interpretation, media engineering, and software/database development.
  • Working with the Senior Director of Administration and Operations, oversee the creation, planning, scheduling, and coordination of program and project budgets, the monitoring of expenses, and the facilitation of long-term financial planning which includes assessing risks and benefits of expending program funds with regards to personnel, research, training, productions, collection initiatives, technology, and general program management.
  • Collaborate with other Program Directors and Administrators in the Lab to meet the goals and objectives of Lab's strategic plan and explore opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Provide regular and accurate administrative and financial status reports on program operations to the Lab Administration.
  • Collaborate with Human Resources and other supervisors in ML to oversee personnel needs and manage personnel issues including conflict resolution and performance improvement plans.
  • Represent and act as programmatic liaison for ML with other institutions, organizations and individuals, within and outside of the United States.
Annual term appointment with possibility of renewal based upon performance and availability of funding. Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree; 3 to 5 years of experience or equivalent.
  • Proven project management, resource management, and supervisory experience and the ability to coalesce staff and resources around a common goal.
  • Prior experience working in a library, museum, or similar setting with understanding of the importance of collections and collections management procedures/technology.
  • Significant knowledge of, and experience using, media technology; including audiovisual collection development, editing and manipulation technology.
  • Must have excellent time-management and negotiation skills.
  • Must have a record of successfully meeting schedules and milestones of projects involving multiple stages, participants and stakeholders.
  • Must provide high level customer service skills and demonstrated ability to develop effective working relationships with a diverse clientele.
  • Proven ability to work in a team environment and independently to accomplish required tasks to achieve program objectives while creating a high-quality and respectful work environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to present ideas clearly and concisely in oral and written form to a broad range of people.
  • Ability to establish and maintain a safe, productive and respectful working environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to organize and facilitate meetings.
  • Proven ability to work effectively with researchers, curators, and archivists in a dynamic, creative, multi-disciplinary environment.
  • Must be logical and analytical with ability to develop new or revised systems, procedures and work flows.
  • Experience working on multiple projects on tight timeframes with multiple stakeholders and ability to hold people accountable for expectations.
  • Demonstrated ability to assess the risks and benefits of different options and using sound business practices, make decisions that protect the interest and further the mission of ML and Lab.
  • Ability to quickly understand and translate business needs as expressed by stakeholders.
  • Ability to balance the goals of the Program with financial stability and sustainability of the Program.
  • Must be fluent with modern computers and applications including project management tools, report generation, presentation graphics tools, word processing, spreadsheets and graphs, email, internet browsing.
  • Proven budget and grant management skills.
  • The ability to obtain and maintain a valid NYS driver's license.
  • Ability to work weekends or evening when required in order to meet pressing deadlines.
  • Ability to travel when necessary.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Advanced degree with at least 6 years of management and collections experience.
  • Advanced knowledge of digital media technology and digital asset management.
  • Strong interest in advancing the cause of scientific conservation and the Lab of Ornithology's mission of applying research to interpret and conserve the earth's biological diversity.
  • Experience in managing scientific or research projects.
  • Working knowledge of accounting and other administrative functions.

Web Application Developer - Android

The Information Science Program designs, develops, and maintains applications and services for citizen-science and education projects. These projects engage the public to collect, archive, analyze and disseminate information about birds and their environments. Additionally, the Lab maintains the supporting web, application, database servers, and associated storage devices, which support a number of the Lab's web applications.

The Information Science Program at the Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking an Android Developer. Duties include:

  • Develop and maintain Android applications and related services for the eBird and Merlin projects.
  • eBird, a real-time, online bird checklist program, is the world's largest and fastest growing biodiversity data resource, collecting millions of bird observations from the general public.
  • Merlin is a bird identification system using eBird data, along with photos and recordings, to help novices identify birds.
  • Upcoming projects include an 'in the field' data entry app for submitting bird observations to eBird, closely integrating native phone capabilities, including calendar, GPS, camera, and voice memos, and extending the Merlin Android app to add image-recognition functionality for identifying birds from a 'just taken' photo.
  • Work closely with a dynamic team of biologists, UI designers, application developers, database administrators, and computer scientists within a collaborative development environment.
  • Help guide overall Android development strategy and recommend best solutions for project requirements.
  • Utilize Android software development tools, team code repositories, and open source libraries and is expected to stay current with Android practices and processes (Java for Android, Android SDK, ADT, test distributions, Google Play submission, and analytics).
Annual term appointment with possible renewal based on performance and available funding. Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree with 3-5 years relevant experience or equivalent combination.
  • A thorough understanding of object-oriented programming and web applications.
  • Proven experience in java programming and Android application development.
  • Experience using Android device features such as location, camera, and internet access.
  • Experience designing and implementing responsive Android UI interfaces that accommodate multiple screen sizes, and degrade gracefully.
  • Experience integrating with APIs and web services.
  • Demonstrable skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and written and verbal communication.
  • Proven experience in documenting and testing code.
  • Ability to learn technical material quickly.
  • Must be able to work independently and function effectively as part of a larger team.
  • Ability to establish realistic goals and deliver work on schedule.
  • Proven experience in providing support to multiple areas.
  • Must be able to use sound judgment in decision making and in accomplishing tasks that are urgent or of a sensitive or confidential nature, balance conflicting priorities, and make decisions from a range of choices.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • 5 years of experience in computer or information science preferred.
  • 3-5 years of experience working on substantial computer software and collaborating with a team of programmers on software projects is desired.
  • Experience with CBTs such as Titanium and PhoneGap.
  • Experience implementing rich internet applications.
  • Experience with relational database table design, SQL programming and performance testing.
  • Prior use and understanding of the eBird system.
  • An interest in birds, nature, biology, science, and/or conservation helpful.

Web Application Developer - iOS

The Information Science Program designs, develops, and maintains applications and services for citizen-science and education projects. These projects engage the public to collect, archive, analyze and disseminate information about birds and their environments. Additionally, the Lab maintains the supporting web, application, database servers, and associated storage devices, which support a number of the Lab's web applications.

The Information Science Program at the Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking an iOS Developer. Duties include:

  • · Develop and maintain iOS applications and related services for the eBird and Merlin projects.
  • · eBird, a real-time, online bird checklist program, is the world's largest and fastest growing biodiversity data resource, collecting millions of bird observations from the general public.
  • · Merlin is a bird identification system using eBird data, along with photos and recordings, to help novices identify birds.
  • · Upcoming projects include an 'in the field' data entry app for submitting bird observations to eBird, closely integrating native phone capabilities, including calendar, GPS, camera, and voice memos, and extending the Merlin iOS app to add image-recognition functionality for identifying birds from a 'just taken' photo.
  • · Work closely with a dynamic team of biologists, UI designers, application developers, database administrators, and computer scientists within a collaborative development environment.
  • · Help guide overall iOS development strategy and recommend best solutions for project requirements.
  • · Utilize iOS software development tools, team code repositories, and open source libraries and is expected to stay current with iOS practices and processes (iOS SDK, Xcode, test distributions, App Store submission, and analytics).
Annual term appointment with possible renewal based on performance and available funding. Applicants to provide resume, cover letter, contact information for 3 references.

Required Qualifications:

  • · Bachelor's degree with 3-5 years relevant experience or equivalent combination.
  • · A thorough understanding of object-oriented programming and web applications.
  • · Proven experience in native iOS programming and mobile application development.
  • · Experience using iOS device features such as location, camera, and internet access.
  • · Experience designing and implementing native iOS UI interfaces and integrating with APIs and web services.
  • · Demonstrable skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and written and verbal communication.
  • · Proven experience documenting and testing code.
  • · Ability to learn technical material quickly.
  • · Must be able to work independently and function effectively as part of a larger team.
  • · Ability to establish realistic goals and deliver work on schedule.
  • · Proven experience in providing support to multiple areas.
  • · Must be able to use sound judgment in decision making and in accomplishing tasks that are urgent or of a sensitive or confidential nature, balance conflicting priorities, and make decisions from a range of choices.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • · 5 years of experience in computer or information science preferred.
  • · 3-5 years of experience working on substantial computer software and collaborating with a team of programmers on software projects is desired.
  • · Experience with CBTs such as Titanium and PhoneGap.
  • · Experience implementing rich internet applications.
  • · Experience with relational database table design, SQL programming and performance testing.
  • · Prior use and understanding of the eBird system.
  • · An interest in birds, nature, biology, science, and/or conservation helpful.

Web Content Assistant

The Communications & Marketing department promotes the Lab's mission by distributing research findings and other Lab news to the media. The Web Content Assistant plays a key role in furthering the mission of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology by maintaining its high-traffic informational resources All About Birds, Living Bird, and the Lab's home page, which receive more than 12 million unique visitors per year.

The Communications & Marketing Program at the Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking a Web Content Assistant. Duties include:

  • Maintain and expand text, photo, audio, and video assets for 600 North American bird profiles and online archives of the Cornell Lab's primary outreach publications, including AllAboutBirds.org, Living Bird magazine, and the Lab's home page at www.birds.cornell.edu.
  • Refresh/add content to site home pages weekly, on magazine issue pages quarterly, and on bird species profiles on an ongoing basis.
  • Manage assets and update schedules using spreadsheets.
  • Make changes to website using content management systems including extensive use of basic to intermediate html.
  • Find, organize, edit, and store photo assets.
  • Create attractive graphics using photos combined with graphical elements in Photoshop.
  • Use knowledge of bird identification to select and annotate photos with accuracy.
  • Work includes proofreading and may include headline writing and writing/editing of new species profiles.
  • This is a 20.0 hours per week annual term appointment with possibility of renewal based upon performance, available work and availability of funding.
Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references.

Required Qualifications:

  • Formal training beyond a high school diploma of 1 to 2 years, 2 years of college course work, or Associate's degree; 2-4 years experience or equivalent.
  • Strong background of course work or equivalent experience with birds and online communications.
  • Must be extremely organized, efficient, and have the highest standards for grammatical and visual consistency, function, accuracy, and photo quality.
  • Ability to meet deadlines is essential.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft office applications.
  • At least one year of experience with HTML, CSS and Photoshop.
  • Proven ability to work in a team environment where cooperation between colleagues and flexibility to different styles and approaches is required.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Bachelor's degree or other formal training of 4 years.
  • Extensive experience with North American birds and bird identification.
  • Familiarity with social networks and other new media.
  • Ability to write short, clear headlines or teasers for home page content desirable.
  • Experience in providing scientific content to the general public on the Web is helpful, as is experience in multimedia presentation.

Internships

To apply for an internship, send a cover letter and resume to the contact person listed. Most internships are unpaid but hours are flexible and course credit is possible. Minimum commitment is generally six hours per week. Cornell undergraduates are eligible to be considered for a limited number of paid internships each year. The Nancy Horton Bartels ‘48 Scholars gift supports Cornell undergraduate interns at the Lab during the summer. The Kristen Rupert and John Foote Undergraduate Research Fund supports the engagement of Cornell undergraduates at the Lab, with preference given to students involved in interdisciplinary projects with other colleges, departments, and units at Cornell.

Bartels Science Illustration Internships

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology will offer at least one paid Bartels Science Illustration Internship each year, lasting from three to six months, 39 hours per week. Recipients will work on a project illustrating birds, wildlife, and/or plants for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's print publications, outreach materials, and web sites. We are seeking students (artists just starting their career) at least 18 years old who have previous experience and exceptional talent in illustration, painting, or drawing who are interested in advancing their skills in ornithological art. Interns will work on projects that help the Lab achieve its mission, and these projects often result in publication of the intern's work. For more information, please download this file. You may also contact Diane Tessaglia-Hymes, design director, by email at dianeth@cornell.edu, or call 607-254-2417 (work) or 607-342-4811 (cell).

Scholarships

The Francis M. Peacock Scholarship for Native Bird Habitat provides financial aid to a college senior or graduate student to study areas in the United States that provide winter or summer habitat for our threatened or endangered native birds. The award is given by the Garden Club of America and is administered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. For more information about this scholarship and how to apply, see the proposal guidelines. If you wish to apply, you will also need to submit a personal information form.

The Walter E. Benning Fund provides scholarship assistance to a Cornell University graduate student studying ornithology and its relevance to conservation. The annual award is about $500. Apply by January 15 of every year by submitting a short (two page maximum) proposal describing your research, relevance to conservation, schedule of completion, and funding. Mail to Irby Lovette, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850

Volunteers

Interested in leading bird walks in Sapsucker Woods, helping in the visitors’ center at the Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity, or becoming a docent? For more information, please contact us at 254-2473 or (800) 843-2473.

Student Jobs

Working just a few hours a week provides you with a multitude of benefits. You will meet new people and adapt more quickly to your new environment. You will develop new skills and improve existing skills while building a network of contacts and good references that will ultimately increase your marketability for summer and post-Cornell jobs. Working part-time also helps improve your time-management skills. Not to mention you'll earn money to help cover some of your Cornell expenses!

To apply for the positions below, please send a cover letter and resume to the contact person listed. Full-time registered Cornell students are eligible to be considered for these positions.

Student Jobs

There are no open positions for student jobs at this time.
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