Job Opportunities

Join Our Dynamic, Inclusive Workplace

Located in Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary in Ithaca, New York, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a renowned nonprofit institution dedicated to advancing the understanding and protection of birds, wildlife, and our shared planet through research, education, citizen science, and conservation.

As a nonprofit science and conservation organization and a vibrant unit of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, we offer the resources of a world-class university and the impact of an innovative nonprofit organization supported by more than 100,000 members and donors.

The Lab has 200 staff and 8 interdisciplinary centers. Scientists and artists, engineers and conservationists, educators and app developers, multimedia producers and students, support staff and volunteers, all work together here, along with local and online communities and partners around the world.

We are committed to diversity and inclusion in our workplace as we join with people from all backgrounds and walks of life to share a love for nature and a commitment to protecting our planet.

Staff Openings

Come work with us! To view and apply for Cornell Lab staff openings, visit the Cornell Career page and search for “ornithology.”

For other jobs in ornithology, see listings from the Ornithology Exchange.

Student Opportunities

Each year, dozens of students gain hands-on experience at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Come join a research project, assist with education and outreach, or apply your talents in a way that you envision. You can apply for one of the paid or volunteer positions below. Or learn about our mission and programs, then identify relevant faculty or mentors, or staff listed in our directory. Inquire about volunteering or earning credit for a project that matches your interests. (Note: high school students must be at least 16 years of age to volunteer.)

Year Round

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.

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.

Science Journalism Positions for Cornell Undergraduates, Summer 2022

Are you a Cornell undergraduate who would love the opportunity to share your passion for science communication and to connect with the public about birds, nature, and conservation? Gain valuable hands-on experience in reporting, writing, and production in a full-time science journalism position at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology this summer. Work with the Lab’s science editors to develop story ideas and pitch them for publication by Living Bird magazine, the All About Birds website, or other Cornell Lab channels. Bring your ideas to life and share scientific insights with your readers by interviewing scientists, students, or other experts and weaving their voices into your story. Produce compelling print or online articles, including opportunities to assist with production-related to photography, illustration, data visualizations, multimedia, fact-checking, editing, social media, and digital content management.

This 10-week full-time summer position includes a $5,000 stipend from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Science Communication Fund, thanks to Jay Branegan ‘72 and Stefania Pittaluga. The position will be designed for students with a demonstrated interest in science communication, a desire to develop journalistic writing and editing skills, and curiosity to explore career opportunities. To apply, you must be a Cornell undergraduate, and we encourage applicants with any level of prior experience. 1) Prepare a cover letter that explains your interest in science communication and your reasons for wanting to work at the Lab of Ornithology (this is a very important part of the application as we look for students who are genuinely curious about and committed to learning and developing their skills and opportunities in science journalism specifically, including on topics related to birds and biodiversity); 2) Attach a resume including experience related to writing, journalism, or other communications and outreach (prior experience is helpful but not required); 3) Provide two examples of your writing that best demonstrate your ability to connect with a general audience on topics related to science and nature (we’ll be looking for pieces that demonstrate your knack for storytelling and your ability to write in a clear, accessible, and compelling manner for lay readers). Send your application to Miyoko Chu, senior director of communications, at mcc37@cornell.edu. Submit your application by February 7, 2022. We will consider applications on a rolling basis and will make offers by March 1, 2022.

Volunteer Positions

The Lab is not taking new volunteers at this time. 

We are looking for volunteers of all abilities 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 Visitor Center volunteer corps!

From our Visitor Center overlooking Sapsucker Woods Pond, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology 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 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 Cornell Lab of Ornithology (when our volunteer program resumes) please contact Jennifer Smith.

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