Summit program – graduate instructor


UA Science: Sky School Graduate Fellowships
For the 2018-19 academic year, UA Sky School will be offering graduate fellowships for open Sky School instructor positions. The fellowships are designed to connect graduate students with K-12 students as research mentors and educators during residential or daytime educational programs. The fellowship is a unique opportunity to gain experience with science education and communication. Sky School staff will provide training for effective mentoring of students. Instructors will mentor groups of K-12 students on 1-4 day programs throughout the year at our Mt Lemmon campus or at schools in the Tucson area. Programs include instruction on general themes relevant to sciences in the sky island region—ecology, geology, hydrology, dendrochronology, soil science, astronomy, culture, and history—as well as opportunities for students to conduct inquiry projects on topics of their choice. Sky School staff will provide feedback to instructors on improving their facilitation and teaching skills.

Time commitment
A variety of time commitments are available ranging from 10-20+ program days per year. Instructors may choose to work primarily in the Tucson area or at our residential Mt. Lemmon campus. Most programs are during the week and tend to be concentrated between September – November and March – May. Some run Friday-Monday or weekends, though the majority occur Monday-Friday. We will try to accommodate each instructor’s academic schedule where necessary.

Instructors are provided a cash award (stipend) for all Sky School activities (Summit mountain and City schoolyard inquiry programs, science teacher professional development, staff training, open houses, special outreach events, etc.). Commitments available from 10 to 20+ days per year and stipends of up to $4500/year. These awards are considered financial aid by the institution, though they are not need-based. You are advised to contact the graduate college or a financial aid advisor if you have specific questions as to how a Sky School award may affect your overall account. Stipends amounts are based on a tiered system of time commitment to programs and are awarded semesterly.

Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Arizona or Arizona State University for 2018-2019. Those accepted must have transportation available to travel to program sites—locations in the Coronado National Forest, including our Mt. Lemmon campus, and schools within the greater Tucson area. Carpooling is often available. Some programs require overnight stays at the Mt. Lemmon campus. Graduate students may receive this fellowship more than once and do not need to be United States citizens.

The instructor will lead lessons and mentor K-12 participants as they design, carry out, and present research projects on Mt. Lemmon or in a schoolyard over the course of the academic year. Additionally, instructors may be asked to support Sky School outreach and development opportunities occasionally throughout the year.

Successful instructors will also:

  • Pass background check and register fingerprints with UA Police Department
  • Commit to keeping First Aid/CPR training current
  • Assemble online resources and short pre-program reading lists for students
  • Contribute to development and writing of lesson plans and curricular resources
  • Attend mandatory training/development events on the UA campus as well as on Mt. Lemmon

Evaluation Criteria
Applications will be primarily evaluated for the ability to communicate with and relate to participants. Also important is the ability to explain your own research to young people, from elementary to high school ages. A research connection to resources unique to Mount Lemmon or the Sonoran Desert is helpful, but not necessary. We try to maximize the diversity of subject areas covered by all fellows. Applicants in non-science majors are welcome if they can show significant experience with scientific inquiry and/or engineering design. Experience teaching or mentoring youth as well as experience in the outdoors are helpful, but not required. Instructors will ideally represent diverse backgrounds and research areas. Applicants early in their graduate programs are especially encouraged to apply to facilitate holding a multi-year fellowship with the Sky School.

Application Process
Our extended application deadline is April 20th. Please email application materials to Hiring will be ongoing until all positions are filled. Our first staff training will be held in early September, 2018 at our Mt. Lemmon campus.

Application materials:

  • Brief statement of interest, explaining your prior experience and qualifications, your desired personal outcomes for the fellowship, your availability for Tucson-area vs. Mt. Lemmon programs, and any preferred age ranges to teach (elementary, middle, high school). One page limit.
  • Brief description of your research interests written at a level appropriate to generate understanding and curiosity for a typical 8th grade student (one page limit)
  • Curriculum vitae, including any past educational, outdoor, or outreach activities relevant to this fellowship (two page limit)
  • Letter of support from your advisor (can be sent under separate cover)

Please contact us or any of our current graduate instructors with any questions if you are considering applying.




Wiki with curriculum and lesson examples: