Paleontology Assistant

Mammoth Cave National Park

Start Date: May 15th, 2023

End Date: August 7, 2023

A mandatory Professional Development Workshop will be held in Washington, D.C. from July 31 – August 4, 2023.

Compensation: $640/week + housing. Travel costs to the site and back home are covered by the program*. 

Car is required

Application Due: January 22, 2023

The Mosaics in Science Program seeks to engage ethnically and racially diverse young professionals in natural resource careers.

Must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident.

All interns must be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 prior to the start of their internship.

Please Apply HERE

Position Description:

In 2019, the discovery of numerous fossils in lower levels of Mammoth Cave resulted in the collection of a large number of Chondrichthyan (shark) fossil specimens. The location and collection of these fossils are an ongoing field project that has generated more than 250 specimens for cataloging into the Interior Collection Management System (ICMS) so that the specimens can be added to the park ‘s museum collection. 

The intern’s primary project will focus on the collection, identification, cataloging, and housing of fossil specimens. The intern will research additional information about the specimens that have been identified, create a digital museum record for each specimen, and to house the specimen in the collection storage area. The intern will have the opportunity to participate in locating additional shark fossils inside Mammoth Caves if they are interested. In addition, the intern will provide as needed assistance to visiting researchers who may be either from the general public or field professionals.

​​Work Products:  The intern shall create and input catalog records for the fossil specimens in the museum collection and produce a short report and group presentation for the SRM staff members about this and the various projects that they took part in over the course of the summer.

The report should highlight their internship at Mammoth Cave and include photographs and summaries of their activities in either PowerPoint and/or Poster presentation.

Intern Qualifications: 

Computer competence in word and excel: Ability to deal with the public as public requests are often received.

At least two years of postsecondary education is required. Preference will be given to applicants with a background and/or working knowledge in Geology, Paleontology, History, Archaeology, Anthropology or Biology – OR – at least one year experience working in related research.

No special certifications are required.

The intern should be a self-starter, curious about the world around them and willing to research questions which arise from that curiosity. It is often necessary to make reasoned judgements, so the intern should be prepared to think through their decisions regarding the project. Guidance and discussions as to approach will be part of this activity. The intern will need strong research and writing skills and computer competence. They will need to be highly organized and capable of prioritizing activities to stay on track within the parameters of the project goals. While they will need to be an independent thinker they must also be able to also take directions when needed.

Other Requirements

Applicants must have a valid driver’s license to drive a government vehicle. A personal vehicle is REQUIRED for this position. 

Natural & Physical Environment:

The work site will primarily be an office setting in the Curatorial Facilities at the Science and Resource Management Offices and require periods of sitting, doing computer work, standing, lifting objects of varying weights and the occasional use of chemical sealants on the specimens.  The office space is a typical office with adequate lighting, heating/cooling with the sole exception being that it is in a curatorial facility and does not have windows in any area. Normal casual office attire is all that is required of this portion of the project. A light jacket or sweater may be necessary as the space is cooled to less than 70 degrees F as it is a collection space.

The intern will have the opportunity to take part in field work with the cave specialist as he and consultant paleontologists continue the collection of specimens. The field work portion of the project will require the ability to work inside cave passages and require the ability to walk long distances, crawl in tight or small passages various environments (dry/dusty, wet/muddy, or through some standing water), lift heavy objects and be comfortable in small, enclosed spaces. Durable fieldwork clothing, i.e.  suitable for crawling, hiking, and getting soiled, as well as, comfortable sturdy boots (that cover the ankle) and a small caving pack (may be provided by the park) are all required for caving fieldwork.

Mammoth Cave National Park is located in the rolling hills of south-central Kentucky and is a wooded rural area.  Kentucky enjoys a temperate climate. with hot and humid summers. Thunderstorms are likely to occur in the summer months and a rain jacket is advised.  The roadways in the park wind in and out of hills and valleys and are commonly crossed by wildlife (deer, turkeys, coyotes). It is common to see wildlife in and around roadways as well as visitors stopped in the roadway to observe them. Caution must be taken while driving to avoid a collision with wildlife or other vehicles stopped in the middle of the road.

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