Jobs & Volunteering

Assistant Food Service Supervisor - Astronomer's Lodge at McDonald Observatory

Position is located at the McDonald Observatory in the Fort Davis Mountains, 440 miles from Austin, Texas. This position's normal work schedule is Saturday - Tuesday with 10 hour work days. Regular days off: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Provide the necessary skills to prepare meals and facilitate guests of the Astronomers Lodge. Participate in special events, supervision of casual employees and often work solo on weekends, therefore, requires some housekeeping, inventory supply and cashier duties. Prepares and serves meals, beverages, and other items according to the posted menu. Helps to develop new menus, learns new recipes, and implements menus in a professional manner. Assists with special events. Supervises casual employees in the absence of the Sr. Food Service Supervisor. Cleans kitchen and dining area, washes dishes, pots, pans, appliances, cabinets, and other items as posted. Performs additional heavy cleaning as needed including, but not limited to, such items as vent hoods, ice machine, cabinets, freezers and refrigerators. Assists with ordering food items and supplies as needed. Assures proper stock of guest refrigerator and snack area. Properly thaws frozen foods for meals on the following day, plans in advance according to menu. Verifies product is on-hand to fulfill menu requirements. Provides back-up support for housekeeper on an as needed basis. Assists occasionally with cleaning rooms, entertainment room, laundry and other areas as assigned. Answers telephone and takes complete messages, if calls are in regard to room reservations, accurately prepares registration forms. Assists with room and key assignments for incoming guests. Assures that rooms are ready for incoming guests. Prepares billing documents for guests on an as needed basis.

More details on this position are at


Electrical Engineer - Hobby Eberly Telescope

Have you always wanted to work with state of the art equipment to assist in answering the biggest questions in the Universe?  McDonald Observatory has an opening for an Electrical Engineer to maintain various electrical and electronic subsystems for one of the largest telescopes in the world, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, in the beautiful Davis Mountains near Fort Davis, TX.  To view a complete job description of the Research Engineering/ Scientist Associate III, salary, benefits and application instructions visit and refer to job posting number: 15-04-15-01-4209.  Interviews will begin in late April 2015.  The University of Texas at Austin is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Public Observatory benefits greatly from volunteer support provided by area amateur astronomers. These individuals frequently bring their own telescopes to Star Parties in order to share striking views of the night sky with visitors to the Observatory.

On-site Amateur Astronomer Volunteers at the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center
Are you an experienced amateur astronomer looking for an opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with the public? Do you have an RV or travel trailer and the freedom to spend several weeks (or more) at a remote dark-sky site.

The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory is looking for experienced amateur astronomers to serve as site-volunteers to support the Observatory's extensive public programs. The Observatory's Visitors Center plays host to approximately 60,000 visitors each year, many of whom participate in the Center's array of outreach activities. Site-volunteers will assist with both daytime and nighttime activities including guided tours, star parties, special viewing nights, and summer scout night programs as well as other special programs at other times of the year. In exchange for a four week (flexible), ≤ 20 hrs/wk (depending on time of year, up to 12 evening/night hours & up to 8 daytime hours) commitment and upon successful completion of the application process, the site-volunteer will be granted access to one of the Observatory's RV sites (full hook-ups, etc., provided.) Other restrictions apply. Background check required. Greatest needs are typically through the month of March with our Spring Break crowds and late May through August during traditional summer vacation months.

For more information, please contact Frank Cianciolo, Visitors Center manager (frankc @ utexas . edu (remove the spaces), 432-426-4152).

Additional Volunteer Opportunities

The Frank N. Bash Visitor Center at McDonald Observatory offers volunteer opportunities to individuals interested in astronomy and/or education. The greatest need for volunteers has been during our public star parties at busy times of the year. We have several telescopes that we use for our public programs including a 16" Meade LX200, 22" Classical Cassegrain, 22" Dobsonian and several Celestron and Meade 8" Schmidt Cassegrains. Training is provided. If you would like more information please contact the Visitors Center through the Volunteer Coordinator or call us at 432-426-3640 and ask for Shannon Rudine.

See also: Outreach volunteer opportunities in Austin