Job Opportunities

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

Job Openings at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

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 and Life Sciences (CALS), where twelve world-class, mission-driven programs are directed by full-time faculty and other renowned professionals. Lab staff teach undergraduate courses, advise graduate students, collect and disseminate world-famous digital resources on biodiversity, and engage with partner organizations and citizens around the world to conduct scientific research and conservation actions. 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.

GIS Developer

eBird has evolved from a stand-alone citizen-science project focused on collecting data, into a cooperative partnership involving several distinct user groups spanning multiple scientific domains and dozens of partner organizations, each with its own unique interests in the eBird Enterprise. eBird collects information about the distribution and abundance of birds, taking advantage of the enormous popularity of watching birds to create a global network of volunteers who submit bird observations via the Internet to a central data repository. Through a combination of broad-based community engagement and global partnerships, the volume of data coming into eBird has increased exponentially (30–40% annually) for the last decade. eBird is regarded as one of the largest and fastest growing biodiversity databases in the world. Presently, the eBird database contains more than 250 million observations. More than 1 million people access eBird via the web and mobile apps, and more than 255 thousand participants have collectively spend over 18 million hours in the field recording birds. Data have been contributed from every country in the world. eBird data are relied upon for a variety of research initiatives in Information Science, other Lab projects and programs (e.g., Merlin, Citizen Science, Education, Conservation, and Bird Population Studies), external academic institutions (e.g., Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Northeastern, U of New Mexico, U of Utah, and Oregon State), governmental departments and agencies in the U.S. and abroad (e.g., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oak Ridge National Labs, US Department of Defense, CONABIO [Comision Nacional para el Conocimento y Uso de la Biodiversidad], and nongovernmental organizations (e.g., The Nature Conservancy, Point Blue, Bird Studies Canada, Audubon) and private companies.

The Information Science Program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking a GIS Developer. Duties include:

  • Apply cartographic principles to geographic information design to develop web-based decision support tools that will provide access to eBird data for land managers. The goal is to ascertain user requirements to develop exploratory geographic information systems (GIS) analysis to facilitate decision support.
  • Develop an interactive software-based system intended to help decision makers compile and consolidate information from eBird, species distribution models, NASA earth imagery, and other relevant data to identify and solve problems related to the conservation and management of bird populations. Typical decision support use of the GIS-based system includes estimates of distributions and relative abundances of focal bird species that are provided to partners as GIS data layers and accompanied by spatially-explicit information about the robustness of these estimates, all of which can be used interactively by end users to explore different conservation and management scenarios.
  • Develop and manage eBird's GIS infrastructure, including the development of a line and polygon based methods for data input, data output, and data quality on both web and mobile platforms.
Annual appointment with possibility of renewal based upon performance and available funding. Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's Degree in Geography with a focus on Geographic Information Science with at least three years of experience in applying GIS principles in avian ecology, avian conservation, citizen science or similar field.
  • An understanding of the principles of web mapping and map server frameworks and be comfortable with data management, manipulation, design, programming, and deployment of map services for use in decision support tools.
  • Experience with scientific, visualization, and GIS programming languages, including: R, Python, Perl, Oracle Spatial, postGIS, GDAL and QGIS.
  • Must show strong problem solving, critical thinking, and writing skills, work effectively on a team, learn technical material quickly, establish realistic goals, and deliver quality work on schedule with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to prioritize activities and multitask is essential.
Preferred Qualifications:

Interactive Web Designer

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). 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, mobile apps, commercial products and numerous artistic productions (e.g., films, broadcast television, musical compositions and other high-visibility endeavors). 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. ML is involved in a complex mixture of organized and departmental collection, production, outreach, educational and research activities.

The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking an Interactive Web Designer, which is a key member of the ML software team who designs all web/mobile properties in the Macaulay Library at the Lab. Specific duties include:

  • Design the user experience and the visual presentation of Macaulay Library web and mobile properties including web sites, mobile apps, data entry applications, data visualizations, interactive features, and community engagement tools.
  • Propose and implement new design approaches for engaging the public and creating communities via web/mobile channels.
  • Collaborate with Macaulay Library staff and obtain guidelines for integrating the scientific, educational, and marketing goals for new and existing web/mobile properties.
  • Collaborate with ML staff to determine user requirements and ensure the most effective design of our web properties for creating large, inclusive science and conservation communities.
  • Collaborate with project teams and back-end developers to integrate educational tools, scientific data entry interfaces, databases, and data visualization tools into web and mobile properties.
  • Conduct usability testing of prototypes and existing designs.
  • Collaborate with staff in the Lab's Communications and Information Science Programs to ensure that web/mobile branding and look-and-feel of projects is integrated with eBird and other projects at the Lab.
Annual term appointment with possibility of 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' experience in commercial or academic web design projects, preferably working with a web/mobile production team.
  • Commanding knowledge of HTML, CSS, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop.
  • Significant experience with WordPress (or other CMS), JavaScript, and jQuery or another JavaScript framework.
  • Experience with design and development of data-driven web visualizations.
  • Fluency in best practices for web-based information architecture and design, as well as strong knowledge of usability principles and techniques.
  • Demonstrated experience with building user interfaces across a range of platforms including desktop and mobile.
  • Must have a thorough understanding of user interface design considering cross-platform browser issues, responsive design, and interactive web-based applications.
  • Demonstrable skills in problem solving and critical thinking.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills with the ability to convey design information in "laymen's terms."
  • Must be able to work independently and as part of a team while meeting tight deadlines.
  • Ability to organize the workflow for projects, help establish realistic goals and deliver work on schedule.
  • Must demonstrate experience writing project requirements and soliciting feedback from collaborators.
  • Experience working in a collaborative team and working directly with software development engineers for implementation of designs.
  • Excellent customer service skills and demonstrated ability to communicate with a broad range of people is essential.
  • Must be comfortable working in a dynamic environment where change in process is the norm.
  • Ability to exercise leadership at meetings about web design.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Experience with additional JavaScript frameworks and tools such as Angular, Backbone, D3, Node, less, grunt.
  • Experience working in both Mac and Windows operating system environments.
  • Proficiency with team development workflows and tools (e.g., source code repositories, issue tracking, kanban boards).
  • Well-developed illustration and artistic skills.
  • Experience in typographic layout and design.
  • Experience with vector and CSS animations.
  • Experience in project coordination highly desirable.
  • An interest in birds, nature, biology, science, and/or conservation desirable.

iOS Application Developer

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

  • Develop and maintain iOS applications and related services for the Lab's Citizen Science projects. These projects include Celebrate Urban Birds (celebrateurbanbirds.org), NestWatch (nestwatch.org), Project FeederWatch (feederwatch.org) and YardMap (yardmap.org), which collectively engage > 100,000 people / year in interacting with, observing, and reporting on birds and the natural environment.
  • Our goal is to move through these projects systematically to develop iOS apps that integrate multiple tablet/phone capabilities, including calendar, GPS, and camera/sound recording.
  • Work closely with a dynamic team of biologists, educators, UI designers, application developers, database administrators, and computer scientists within a collaborative environment.
  • Collaborate with existing app developers who are responsible for coordinating overall iOS development strategies and recommend best solutions for project requirements.
  • The work will include developing "in the field" data entry applications for such tasks as mapping habitat and objects in habitat, and associating locations with data on birds, habitat, and practices undertaken to protect birds, as well as associating photos, video, and sounds with a location.
  • 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, Swift, test distributions, App Store 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 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.
  • Interest in birds, nature, biology, science, and/or conservation.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • 3 years of experience in computer or information science preferred.
  • 3 years' experience working on substantial computer software and collaborating with a team of programmers on software projects is desired.
  • Experience with xCode, Swift and CBTs such as Titanium and PhoneGap.
  • Experience implementing rich internet applications.
  • Familiarity with relational database table design, SQL programming and performance testing.
  • Prior use and understanding of citizen science platforms.
  • Interest in birds, nature, biology and conservation.

Software Developer

The Bioacoustics Research Program (BRP) within the Cornell Lab of Ornithology collects and interprets sounds in nature by developing and applying innovative technologies across multiple ecological scales to inspire and inform conservation of wildlife and habitats. BRP is involved in a complex mixture of organized and departmental scientific research, technology development, outreach and educational activities.

The Bioacoustics Research Program at the Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking a Software Developer. Duties include:

  • Contribute to the creation and implementation of integrated sound analysis software tools and techniques to support ongoing and future research in the field of animal bioacoustics. Current research projects by scientists in the group involve the study of communication systems and behavior in a wide variety of terrestrial and marine animals.
  • Perform tasks to move forward the overall set of tools provided by the group in collaboration with other members of the Bioacoustics software engineering team.
  • Participate in the development of multiple software projects, including the Raven interactive sound analysis software project (http://www.birds.cornell.edu/brp/raven).
  • Implement data processing features, data conversion utilities, user interface features, and other software features designed by self or others to fit into the established architecture.
  • Collaborate in the development, implementation, and testing of signal and image processing algorithms for the time-frequency analysis of acoustic data to solve problems in data visualization, detection, localization, measurement, and classification of animal sounds.
  • Design and write documentation for developers and end users.
  • Build and maintain integrated web sites to allow developers and users to download software, discuss problems, and contribute additional extensions to the project.
  • Provide complex direct end-user support and maintenance of existing detection and measurement tools.
  • Advise and train staff, faculty, students, and visiting research colleagues to use the newest, most creative and innovative technologies available.
  • Provide technical oversight, guidance, training, and supervision of interns and student programmers to get them up to speed in the Raven software development platform.
  • Manage software projects, keeping track of scheduling, assignments, and reporting both within the team and to the clients.
One-year term appointment with possibility of renewal based upon performance and available funding. Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree in a computer science, engineering, or scientific discipline.
  • 2-3 experience with software design, structured programming, and writing multi-threaded, object-oriented software.
  • Experience programming in Java, C++, and MATLAB.
  • Proven ability to learn new programming languages quickly.
  • Experience writing graphical user interfaces in Java, C++, and MATLAB.
  • Coursework in signal and image processing and statistics.
  • Demonstrable skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and written and oral communication.
  • Proven ability to work effectively with programmers, scientists, and engineers in a dynamic, creative, multi-disciplinary environment.
  • Ability to translate strategy into actionable plans with milestones and deliverables.
  • Experience planning, designing, organizing and managing software development projects including requirements development, scheduling, budgeting, assigning/monitoring work tasks of others, assessing and reporting project status.
Preferred Qualifications
  • Master's degree in computer science, engineering, or scientific discipline.
  • More than 3 years of experience designing and developing complex computer software.
  • Experience writing computer code for image and sound analysis, especially bioacoustics signals helpful.
  • Knowledge of software analytical and statistical tools, as well as general tools for graphing and figure drawing.
  • Experience performing independent literature searches and scientific research.
  • Experience writing software in C, Python, Perl, Java, and/or PHP.
  • Knowledge of and experience using XML.
  • Knowledge of and experience programming with database systems.

Web Developer

eBird has evolved from a stand-alone citizen-science project focused on collecting data, into a cooperative partnership involving several distinct user groups spanning multiple scientific domains and dozens of partner organizations, each with its own unique interests in the eBird Enterprise. eBird collects information about the distribution and abundance of birds, taking advantage of the enormous popularity of watching birds to create a global network of volunteers who submit bird observations via the Internet to a central data repository. Through a combination of broad-based community engagement and global partnerships, the volume of data coming into eBird has increased exponentially (30–40% annually) for the last decade. eBird is regarded as one of the largest and fastest growing biodiversity databases in the world. Presently, the eBird database contains nearly 250 million observations. More than 1 million people access eBird via the web and mobile apps, and more than 255 thousand participants have collectively spend over 18 million hours in the field recording birds. Data have been contributed from every country in the world. eBird data are relied upon for a variety of research initiatives in Information Science, other Lab projects and programs (e.g., Merlin, Citizen Science, Education, Conservation, and Bird Population Studies), external academic institutions (e.g., Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Northeastern, U of New Mexico, U of Utah, and Oregon State), governmental departments and agencies in the U.S. and abroad (e.g., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oak Ridge National Labs, US Department of Defense, CONABIO [Comision Nacional para el Conocimento y Uso de la Biodiversidad], and nongovernmental organizations (e.g., PRBO Conservation Science, Bird Studies Canada, Audubon) and private companies.

The Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking a Web Developer to collaborate with application developers and interface designers to:

  • Develop, test, and maintain web sites, web-based applications, and visualizations focused on the eBird enterprise and other Lab projects.
  • Develop, test, and maintain software, components, and services for related content management systems.
  • Use technologies and development tools including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Eclipse-based IDEs, team code repositories, open source libraries, Java and JSP to extend and enhance the functionality of eBird-based projects.
  • Provide consultation and training to staff and collaborators on the use of software and infrastructure.
  • Create documentation and examples to help other developers use the infrastructure.
  • Conduct functional tests, system tests, performance profiling, and security audits.
  • Contribute to team brainstorming and problem-solving initiatives.
Annual term appointment with possibility of renewal based upon performance and available funding. Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree with 1-2 years relevant experience or equivalent combination.
  • A thorough understanding of object-oriented programming and web application development is essential.
  • Experience developing Java based web applications is required.
  • Must have experience working with designers to create and maintain scalable, responsive HTML/CSS/JavaScript systems across large web sites and applications.
  • Must be proficient with web performance techniques for efficiently delivering front-end code, data, and assets.
  • Experience with WordPress customization and administration is required.
  • Candidate must show strong problem solving, critical thinking, and writing skills, work effectively on a team, learn technical material quickly, establish realistic goals, and deliver quality work on schedule with minimal supervision.
  • The ability to prioritize activities and multitask is essential.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • 2-5 years' experience in web development in a team setting is preferred.
  • Experience and demonstrated expertise in: content management or web publishing systems; Java web application development using Springsource Tool Suite or Eclipse IDE; JSTL front-end templating; the PHP/Apache/MySQL web development stack; designing and implementing APIs and web services; interactive client-side data visualization (D3); CSS pre-processors (SASS/LESS); workflow (Grunt/Gulp), version control (Git), and deployment (Jenkins); JavaScript frameworks (Angular, Ember, Backbone); relational database table design, SQL programming and performance testing using Oracle.
  • Prior use and understanding of the eBird system and interest in birding and ecology is highly desired.

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.

IT Team Student Assistant

The IT Team at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology supports research, administrative, and outreach functions at the Lab by providing a wide set of core IT services including administration and management of virtual server infrastructure, SAN/NAS storage, linux and Windows servers, printers, and desktops. The student assistant will work both independently and as part of the team to complete a variety of tasks and projects including: managing device and software inventories, building desktops with Casper and Configuration Manager, and developing scripts for monitoring and sysadmin.

This position will provide opportunities to work with a top-notch IT Team managing 250+ workstations, 50+ servers, and 500+TB of storage. This is a paid position 8-16 hours per week for Fall 2015 with possibility for Spring 2016 school year. We offer a flexible work schedule but time worked generally would need to be sometime Monday to Friday 7am to 5pm at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. There is an on-demand bus route that serves the Lab (TCAT route 41). Free parking is available.

Required Qualifications

  • · The candidate must be a current Cornell undergraduate student, Federal Work Study preferred.
  • · Easily pick up new technical skills
  • · Attention to detail
  • · Dependable
Preferred Qualifications
  • · Familiarity with Windows and Mac operating system installations, updates, and upgrades
  • · Familiarity with Windows and linux scripting

Interested applicants should send a letter describing their interest and qualifications for the position along with a resume and contact information for at least two references to David Childs, IT Team Lead, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, dac388@cornell.edu.

Student Research Assistant, SFO

Spring Field Ornithology (SFO) is an 8-week intensive course taught by Dr. Stephen Kress, consisting of evening lectures and weekend field trips. The course attracts over 100 students from around the greater-Ithaca area each year.

We are seeking a creative and energetic undergraduate student with a strong interest in ornithology to work with staff and the instructor to update the media (photos and sounds) for the lecture portion of SFO. Primary job duties include:

  • Updating sounds for approx. 250 lecture slides using sounds from the Macaulay Library
  • Updating images for approx. 400 lecture slides using provided sources
Basic Requirements:
  • Interest in ornithology, particularly birds and birding in North America
  • Ability to identify by sight and sound most common birds in eastern North America
  • Web research
  • Experience with Excel
This is a paid position 5-6 hours per week for the fall of 2015, with the possibility of additional work in the spring. We offer a flexible work schedule but generally Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. There is an on-demand bus route that serves the Lab (TCAT route 41). Free parking is available. To apply for the position, please send a cover letter and resume to:
Marc Devokaitis
SFO Course Coordinator
mjd356@cornell.edu

Work Schedule: Flexible
Weekly Hours: 5-6
FWS Required: No
Positions Available: 1
Paid: Yes
Wage: $10.00
Employment Dates: 09/01/2015 - 12/15/2015

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