Undergraduate Employment


Astro 100/101 Lab and Help Desk 

This fall the Department of Astronomy will again be hiring students to work at our ​virtual "Help Desk," which serves students taking our introductory courses for non-science majors. We are also looking for assistants in our intro astronomy lab sections. We would like to hire Astronomy majors for the Help Desk who have a solid background in basic astronomy and are good at explaining astronomical concepts and simple calculations.

We run the Help Desk Monday through Thursday evenings via Zoom, from 7-9pm. Students of Astro 100 and 101 visit the Help Desk for assistance with their homework, preparing for exams, and review of material covered in class.

We are unsure how many teaching assistants we will need, but there are 6 sessions each week Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at various times for 50 minutes each. These labs are conducted in a Team-Based Learning classroom in the Integrative Learning Center. The labs use hands-on materials and computers in the TBL room to carry out activities that help students learn about motions of the Sun and viewing the night sky, mostly using the free planetarium program Stellarium. The sessions are usually led by a graduate teaching assistant, and you would assist by circulating around the room to help individual students and teams to troubleshoot different aspects of the lab and software and to gain a better understanding of how to translate what they are doing to astronomical observations. If you are interested and available for any of these positions and times, please email your application to Prof. Stephen Schneider, ses@astro.umass.edu, and CC Department Admin Cara Iacoponi, ciacoponi@umass.edu with the subject "Fall 2021 Lab/Help Desk".

Applications close Friday, August 13, 2021. We will begin reviewing applications Friday and will announce decisions the week of August 16th.


1) List what astronomy courses you have taken and the grades you received. When do you expect to graduate?

2) Which of the 7-9pm Help Desk time slots would you like to be considered for?

3) Which of the following lab times (including 15 minutes beforehand) would you like to be considered for?

Monday 12:20 pm-1:10 pm ILCS220

Wednesday 12:20 pm-1:10 pm ILCS220

Friday 12:20 pm-1:10 pm ILCS220

Monday 1:25 pm-2:15 pm ILCS220

 Wednesday 1:25 pm-2:15 pm ILCS220

Friday 1:25 pm-2:15 pm ILCS220

4) What previous experience do you have in teaching or tutoring?

5) What experience do you have with astronomical observations? For example, do you know the constellations? Do you know how to set up a small telescope?

6) Do you have work-study funding available?