Online Mentor Engagement Leader, Iridescent
Iridescent is a science education nonprofit with a mission to inspire and equip underserved children to imagine and invent. We work closely with scientists and engineers to bring cutting edge science and engineering to underserved groups. Iridescent has been in operation for 7 years, reaching more than 18,000 participants globally. We have a very clear sense of what works and doesn’t and where we are headed.
Briefly, what works is as follows: high need communities need a combination of in person programs to establish relationships between STEM experts and children. Following that, the children need to spend at least 100-200 hours (annually) practicing critical thinking skills, solving problems, inventing solutions. We are looking to foster the majority of this practice online, through the Curiosity Machine, our online learning platform.
Iridescent’s focus is thus shifting from solely providing in-person programs to needy communities to one that engages communities through web and mobile tools over decades. The online platform Curiosity Machine is key for this strategy. In the website, children can access videos of scientists and engineers talking about their cutting-edge research, build open ended design challenges based on their work, and submit it online for feedback. Mentors trained by Iridescent provide one-on-one support and encourage students to improve their designs.
We are looking for a visionary and courageous team member who will play the vital role of nurturing an engaged community of scientist and engineer mentors in the Curiosity Machine and support curriculum development.
Producing Curiosity Machine videos, examples here. This involves:
- reading and analyzing a scientist’s (or engineer’s) research;
- developing interview questions to ask the scientist;
- interviewing the scientist;
- working with our script writer to ensure the science in the script is represented accurately;
- working with our videographer to ensure the science in the video is represented accurately, in particular the Iridescent-produced animations that explain particular science concepts.
Coordinating activities with our online mentor community of professional scientists and engineers. This involves:
- bringing new mentors through our online training module in facilitation techniques;
- regularly communicating with and developing a relationship as the leader of the mentor community;
- ensuring that all student projects submitted to the website are evaluated by mentors in a timely fashion, and stepping in to evaluate projects yourself when needed.
- Masters or PhD in science or engineering, preference for physics or physics-related engineering disciplines;
- Good management skills, able to lead volunteers to achieve organizational goals;
- Effective written and verbal communication capabilities;
- High level of comfort with tinkering, building;
- Multiple courses or experiences in science communication to non-technical audiences;
- Entrepreneurial – should be always learning and working out of her comfort zone.
- Self-starter, willingness to learn and experiment.
- Passion for the organization’s mission, an appreciation for science education and working with underserved communities.
- Preferable location: San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles or Chicago.
What we offer
- A brilliant team that offers you support but also freedom for you to deliver your best;
- Remote work environment;
- Medical and dental benefits.
Please complete the following screening task (here is our rationale on why we ask candidates to invest the time upfront):
Please describe your research or current project or one of your favorite science/engineering concepts in 150 words or less, only using the “ten hundred” most common words in the English language. Use this text editor to make sure you are only using the ten hundred most common words (inspired by the xkcd comic on this topic). Although a totally ridiculous way to have to explain a topic, this is extremely good at forcing thinking about non-jargony ways to describe what you do. As scientists and engineers, we often get stuck in set ways of describing our research, so much so that we often use jargon without even realizing it’s jargon.
Read this Iridescent Mentoring Philosophy document and share your reflections post-reading. What were you most surprised or interested to learn about from this reading? What part of this reading would you most directly use when mentoring or teaching kids, or designing an activity for kids?
Provide your own response to at least two of the five student responses given at the bottom of this document. These are real examples of design submissions in the Curiosity Machine.
Send a cover letter, resume and screening tasks to firstname.lastname@example.org