Job Opportunities

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

Job Openings at the Cornell Lab

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.

Digital Fundraising Assistant

The Digital Fundraising Assistant is a member of the Cornell Lab's Membership and Annual Giving team reporting to the Direct Response Fundraising Manager. Duties include:

  • Help execute quality assurance of online fundraising and marketing communications in the form of emails, landing pages, donation forms and engagement activities.
  • Use direct response tools (such as Hubspot and Engaging Networks) to deploy emails and develop and manage landing pages and donation forms.
  • Import and export email lists and user data, set up email queries, test emails, create landing pages and emails, and update copy and links on pages and emails.
  • Conducting quality assurance will include testing links, reviewing layouts in various browsers and email clients, and proofing copy in email campaigns, landing pages and forms.
  • Work with the Direct Response Fundraising Manager to manage all donation forms including updating copy, graphics and tracking parameters.
  • Create process documentation, work with large sets of data and segmentation of lists, respond to ad-hoc requests, and provide technical support to others.
Required Qualifications:
  • Formal training beyond a HS Diploma of 1 to 2 years, 2 years of college coursework, or Associate's degree or equivalent; more than 1 year experience or equivalent.
  • A minimum of 6 months to 1 year job related experience working with email service providers and content management systems like Engaging Networks and Hubspot; for sending emails and creating and maintaining landing pages and donation forms.
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office suite, especially Excel; ability and comfortable learning new computer systems and software.
  • Excellent organizational skills, ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously, and attention to detail.
  • Capable of working with supervisor to prioritize projects.
  • Ability to work independently as well as part of a team and foster good relationships with members of the Lab, Cornell, and external clients.
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain confidentiality.
  • Demonstrable skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and written and oral communication.
  • Must be able to help establish realistic goals both internally and with external vendors and deliver work on schedule.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • College coursework in marketing, communications, fundraising, or other relevant discipline and some related experience.
  • Interest in digital marketing.
  • Passion for conservation, nature, wildlife, and the mission of the Cornell Lab.
  • Familiarity with HTML and content management systems.
Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references.

Membership Services Manager

The Membership Services Manager will provide frontline customer service for the Lab's members. Duties include:

  • Service the Lab of Ornithology's membership base through efficient and accurate processing of financial transactions and updating of constituent and membership information.
  • Develop new operating processes and procedures, as well as develop department operational guidelines and an office manual.
  • Collaborate in the development and maintenance of training procedures and documentation, conduct training for the membership processing staff, oversee and create complex deposit journals, retrieve check and credit card information from various sources, and implement Lockbox and all policies and procedures.
  • Manage 4-person customer service/data entry team; manage vendor relationships, including lockbox and mail shop.
  • Collaborate closely with colleagues in Alumni Affairs and Development's Gift Processing department.
Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree with 1-3 years related experience in the non-profit sector, preferably in a membership or annual fund role with relevant data management or data entry experience.
  • Must be comfortable with working with an experienced team and providing exceptional customer service.
  • Prior experience with data quality and report preparation.
  • A thorough understanding of import, export and validation processes is essential, as well as experience with meeting program goals and deadlines.
  • Must be self-motivated, team player and able to work independently, and be equally capable of working with the supervisor to prioritize projects and to regularly communicate status and progress.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality is a must.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and motivation for continual gift processing refinement and improvement.
  • Ability to work well as part of a team and foster collaborative relationships with Lab staff, clients, Cornell University, and external vendors.
  • Familiarity with Word, Excel, Access, Mail merges.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • 1+ years of Raisers Edge experience highly preferred.
  • Quick learner, good listener, solution-oriented and a keen eye for detail all a plus.
  • Comfortable with multiple priorities.
  • Prior experience managing workflow and day to day deliverables of a team.
  • Prior supervisory experience.
  • Prior development or fundraising experience at an environmental or higher education organization.

Mid-Level Giving Manager

The Mid-Level Giving Manager reports to the Director of Membership and Annual Giving and works closely with the membership and major gifts teams to develop and implement a program strategy and comprehensive cultivation and stewardship program for Lab of Ornithology mid-level "Golden-wing Society" members—donors who give gifts between $1,000 - $9,999 annually.

Duties include:

  • Engage donors directly through personalized communications and outreach that deepens their relationship with the organization.
  • Develop the strategy for this highly valuable program, oversee the development of recruitment, engagement and stewardship opportunities, marketing materials, and upgrade strategies specifically targeted to Golden-wing Society members.
  • Work with staff managing the Lab's Chairman Council (recognizing annual gifts >=$10,000) to coordinate stewardship and engagement programs between the two giving societies.
  • Tasked with growing the number of donors in the program significantly in order to provide more operating funds for the Lab, as well as to cultivate and identify future Chairman's Council and Board members.
This position is located in Ithaca, New York and will require travel.

  • Required Qualifications:
  • Bachelor's degree, with a minimum of 2 years relevant experience in soup-to-nuts responsibility for a fundraising program or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Exceptionably personable, with proven skills at building and maintaining supporter relationships.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and drive the implementation of cross-channel fundraising plans.
  • Excellent computer skills including proficiency using MS Office and extensive knowledge of Excel.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Organized, detail-oriented, creative with problem-solving skills and strong analytical skills, who is comfortable working in a high energy, fast paced environment.
  • Ability to deal calmly with pressure and deadlines and to communicate with diplomacy in all scenarios.
  • Collaborative team player able to work effectively in cross-functional teams.
  • Ability to work independently, move projects from conceptual stages to launch, and handle multiple and often competing deadlines.
  • Ability to learn and understand the Lab's and the University's priorities and to articulate these clearly to donor prospects.
  • Must be able to exercise sound judgment and leadership, and to operate in a collaborative, professional, and ethical manner.
  • Must be able to work with highly sensitive and confidential information.
  • Must have valid driver's license and the ability to travel.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Demonstrated ability to develop successful strategies for donor recruitment and retention.
  • Demonstrated ability to produce program and project documentation, such as strategy documents, creative briefs, project plans, wrap-up reports, KPI reports.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and drive the implementation of cross-channel marketing plans.
  • Familiarity with complex data segmentation for large fundraising programs.
  • Familiarity with Raiser's Edge or other donor database a plus.
Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references. Visa Sponsorship is not available for this position; not eligible to apply. Relocation assistance is not provided for this position.

Quantitative Ecologist

The Quantitative Ecologist will serve as a member of BRP's leadership council and work collaboratively to establish, contribute to, and implement the scientific vision of BRP. Research focus will be on advanced mathematical and statistical methods to address questions related to the relationship of organisms to one another and their habitats. Duties include:

  • Ensure that research supports BRP's statement of purpose and strategic goals. Represent BRP's science by providing information and insights into the decision-making processes for BRP.
  • Develop, conduct, and lead original research in the fields of ecology and animal bioacoustics.
  • Serve as Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) on multiple, concurrent sponsored projects.
  • Monitor and report sponsored project status on a regular basis to Program Director and Lab Administration.
  • Collaborate with, guide and advise other researchers and technical staff on the analysis and interpretation of scientific data.
  • Foster and mentor a collaborative and knowledgeable team of students, postdocs, and research professionals that coalesce around the common goal of advancing BRP's scientific mission.
  • Promote interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration.
  • Communicate BRP's vision, goals and research objectives to staff and collaborators.
  • Seek ways to collaborate with other researchers in the Lab and on campus.
  • Work collaboratively with other PIs in the Lab to identify, seek, and secure funding to support BRP's vision and strategic goals.
  • Collaborate with BRP staff and external scientists on publishing methods and research in technical reports and peer-reviewed journals.
  • Represent BRP and the Lab by attending and presenting at conferences, seminars, workshops, and meetings.
  • Identify, seek, and secure external funding to support BRP's vision and strategic goals.
  • Write and mentor others in writing grants, proposals, white papers, and peer-reviewed publications.
  • Collaborate with BRP staff and external scientists on publishing methods and research in peer-reviewed technical and scientific journals.
This is a full-time, 3-year appointment; appointed annually pending renewable funding, available work and successful performance.

Required Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in biology, ecology, acoustics, or related field.
  • At least 4 years of postdoctoral experience.
  • At least 5 years of experience in marine science research or bioacoustics.
  • Significant research and development experience in quantitative ecology.
  • Must have a strong record of original independent research and peer-reviewed publications.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Must have a record of successfully reporting and meeting schedules and milestones research projects that involve multiple stages, complex budgets, and several participants.
  • Demonstrated experience leading or working as part of a team.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • At least 6 years of postdoctoral experience.
  • Experience securing funding for research and development grants and/or contracts.
  • Experience leading large-scale, multi-layered projects.
  • Experience enhancing the performance of a team through productive collaboration and effective management.
  • Experience mentoring and advising graduate students and postdocs.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Please send a single pdf file containing a letter of application outlining qualifications and experience for the position, curriculum vitae, and the names and contact details for three references. Email to set2@cornell.edu or in hard copy to Sue Taggart, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, 291A Johnson Center for Birds & Biodiversity, Ithaca, NY 14850. Inquiries about position specifics can be directed to Holger Klinck at hk829@cornell.edu. Review of applicants will continue until September 1, 2017.

Year Round

BirdSleuth Assistant

BirdSleuth provides resources and professional development to educators aimed at engaging K-12 students in their own scientific research, participation in citizen science, and connecting to local habitats. A dependable student is needed to work both independently and as part of a team to help with special projects such as crafting social media messages to a large community of educators, curriculum/resource development including writing and editing lessons, and planning for and participating in community outreach events and workshops. Occasional office tasks such as packing, shipping, and data entry are also included.

Qualifications:

  • Must be a current Cornell undergraduate student
  • Excellent communication and organization skills
  • Strong social media writing background
  • Knowledge and interest in citizen science, birds, and the environment
  • Experienced eBird user
  • Self-motivated, strong work ethic
  • Dependable
  • Collaborative spirit
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Experience using Excel, Power Point, Survey Monkey, WordPress
  • Prior work in educational settings and/or youth outreach programs
This is a paid position, 8-10 hours per week for the 2017-2018 academic year. We offer a flexible work schedule, generally Monday to Friday 8AM to 5PM, at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. A free shuttle travels between Corson-Mudd and the Cornell Lab. There is an on-demand bus route that serves the Lab. Free parking is available.

Interested applicants should send a cover letter describing their interest and qualifications for the position along with a resume and contact information for two references to Stacie Mann, K-12 Resource Coordinator, 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850, slm355@cornell.edu. Visit birdsleuth.org for more information about BirdSleuth and birds.cornell.edu to learn more about the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Student Assistant - All About Birds

All About Birds is an award-winning website by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology with 12 million visitors each year. Join the All About Birds team to assist with the launch of our new and improved Online Bird Guide. Build your identification skills for birds in North American and learn to create photo, video, and sound galleries for North American bird species. Assistant will select photos and videos, write captions, enter references, and assist in managing content for the All About Birds website as well as write basic species accounts, and assist with monitoring the Lab's Facebook page. Other duties as assigned. Special Requirements: Strong identification skills for North American bird species is preferred. Approximately 10 hours per week starting in September, continuing into December. Hours and dates of employment are flexible. To apply, send a resume and cover letter to Kathi Borgmann, klb274@cornell.edu

Kristen Rupert and John Foote Undergraduate Research Fund

Recipients of Rupert/Foote funding engage in paid semester or summer opportunities in collaboration with a Cornell Lab of Ornithology faculty or staff member. This fund is specifically designed to promote cross-disciplinary study at the University, particularly by Cornell students whose interests and majors fall outside the traditional realms of ornithological research. Examples might include a mechanical engineering major who helps design a bird recording device, an English major who writes articles for our website, a computer science major who creates an algorithm for our bird ID app, or an art major who draws images for our outreach publications. Nominations for this program are initiated by a Lab faculty or staff member. Students interested in this program should discuss it with their Lab-based mentor or supervisor or contact Myrah Bridwell at mb252@cornell.edu. Nominations are considered on a rolling basis throughout the year.

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 websites. 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 or 607-342-4811.

Francis M. Peacock Scholarship

The Francis M. Peacock Scholarship for Native Bird Habitat provides financial aid to students studying areas in the United States that provide winter or summer habitat for our threatened or endangered native birds. Typically, the Scholarship awards $4,500 annually to one scholar. In special instances, because of two unusually qualified candidates or two candidates working on one project, the award may be divided between two candidates. College seniors or graduate students enrolled in a US-based institution are eligible to apply. The award is given by the Garden Club of America and is administered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Applications must be submitted by January 15 preceding the proposed period of study. For more information, see the proposal guidelines.

Other funding opportunities for Cornell undergraduates

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology manages a number of additional funds that support undergraduate student research, semester and summer jobs, expeditions, and activities that align with the Cornell Lab’s broad mission. The Lab currently does not have funds to support University financial aid or similar tuition scholarships to individuals, and most of these opportunities are limited to Cornell undergraduates who are in good academic standing. To initiate a conversation about these funding opportunities, students or their advisor/mentor should obtain our simple funding request form by emailing Myrah Bridwell at mb252@cornell.edu.

Summer

Philip H. Bartels ’71 Scholars

Two Bartels Scholars are appointed annually to engage in a paid, eight-week summer opportunity. This opportunity is open to Cornell undergraduates who would conduct the proposed project during the summer in collaboration with a Cornell Lab of Ornithology faculty or staff member. Although Bartels Scholars most commonly focus on research, any Lab-related activity may be appropriate. Nominations for Bartels scholars are initiated by a Lab faculty or staff member. Students interested in this opportunity should discuss it with their Lab-based mentor or supervisor or contact Myrah Bridwell at mb252@cornell.edu. Nominations for the forthcoming summer should be submitted by March 31.

Volunteers

We are looking for volunteers of all ability levels to assist with the programs and operations of the Visitor Center. If you love birds and want to be around others who share your interests, you are invited to join our new Visitor Center volunteer corps!

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, housed at the Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity, offers opportunities for visitors to connect with the Lab and learn about its mission to interpret and conserve the earth's biological diversity. Birders, school classes, families, and nature lovers come to the Lab to walk the trails, watch birds, view the art, use the library, and learn from exhibits, tours, guided walks, seminars, and other types of programs.

Volunteer Opportunities
• Helping with youth education programs
• Leading guided tours
• Assisting with outreach efforts
• Helping out in the Adelson Library

Requirements
• Attend initial information session
• Complete the training for a specific volunteer appointment
• Commit to at least five hours per month (specific time commitments vary by appointment)
• Must be 18 years of age or older

Benefits
• Complimentary Cornell Lab of Ornithology membership
• 10% discount in Wild Birds Unlimited at Sapsucker Woods store
• Program discounts
• Training and continuing education opportunities


If you are interested in volunteering at the Lab of Ornithology please contact Anne Rosenberg at baj3@cornell.edu or call 607-254-2109.

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