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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Fellowship Administrative Coordinator
Agency:  Smithsonian Institution
Job Announcement Number:  13-22

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$75,222.00 to $97,787.00 / Per Year
Monday, June 17, 2013 to Friday, June 28, 2013
Full Time - Indefinite Trust Appointment. This is not a Federal position.
1 vacancy in the following location:
Cambridge, MA, USView Map
This position is open to all qualified current Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) employees.


The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is part of what is arguably the largest and most diverse astrophysical institution in the world, where the staff carries out a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, and earth and space sciences. If you would like to join this exciting organization, apply today!

The primary purpose of the position is to administer SAO’s Fellowship Program, including Postdoctoral, Predoctoral, Visiting Scientist and Internship Programs.  The SAO Fellowship Program Coordinator also assists SAO scientific divisions and administrative departments with fellowship matters and serves as the liaison between the Director's Office and Smithsonian Institution's (SI's) Office of Fellowships and Internships in Washington, D.C. The Fellowship Coordinator ensures that SAO complies with policies applicable to stipended members of SAO and is an advocate for predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows, visiting scientists and interns.


  • Direct Deposit/Elect Funds Transfer required for salary payment.


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1. Administers SAO’s Fellowship Program, overseeing and managing the entire process from application to review, acceptance, orientation, and termination. Works collaboratively with the Fellowship Selection Committee and the Predoctoral Program Director to evaluate program success and make recommendations to the Director for improvements. Places announcements of fellowship opportunities in various scientific publications. Receives applications and analyzes content to determine program eligibility and to verify completeness. Responds to applicant's queries for information, providing information relative to guideline requirements. Prepares all applications for review by the Fellowship Selection Committee. Once applicants have accepted, ensures that all pertinent documents (academic information, tax forms, visas, etc.) have been collected. Verifies tax status by interpreting and applying IRS laws and regulations, consulting with SI’s Office of General Counsel as necessary. Maintains the Fellowship website.

2. Interprets, develops and implements administrative policies related to fellowship program administration, defining administrative requirements and providing information to the Director, scientific divisions and administrative departments. Provides advice and assistance to scientific divisions on policies, procedures and budget matters pertaining to academic and research programs. Monitors grants awarded by SI. Ensures compliance with internal and external regulations affecting financial, tax, and budget processes. Meets regularly with division administrators and support staff to identify any problem areas or concerns, trends, areas of imbalance, etc. Ensures timely stipend payments. Prepares reports and analysis as requested by the supervisor.

3. Supports the career development of students and fellows. Designs, develops, and implements career and networking series open to all students and fellows at the Center for Astrophysics. Identifies and recruits panelists from industry and academia. Seeks input from students and fellows by forming subcommittees to discuss content and direction of events. Moderates and leads panel discussions, as well as informal networking events with speakers. Organizes academic seminars and social events for Harvard students and SAO Predoctoral Fellows to encourage interaction between the two groups. Counsels and advises Predoctoral Fellows, as needed, to ensure success in their research at SAO. Monitors interns through discussions with advisors and teachers.

4. Administers and monitors the Fellow health insurance plan. Manages actions (enrollments, terminations, changes) and proceedings (billing issues, monthly invoices) relating to insurance coverage. Facilitates problem-solving and resolution of benefit issues when requested by fellowship awardees. Works with insurance representatives to deliver timely information to fellowship population about their health benefits. Prepares and maintains records, reports, and other confidential information related to health care enrollment.

5. Develops customized databases that integrate applications, finance and accounting transactions, admissions, record-keeping, listservs, and interactive websites with the goal of minimizing duplication and reducing redundancy in information collection. Maintains accurate data for current fellows and archives data for former fellows for longitudinal analysis.

6. Prepares required statistical reports for SI and reports requested by the Director and ADs for use in developing various reports, e.g. for the Visiting Committee. Reviews awards, stipends and allowances making recommendations of any changes felt necessary to remain competitive within/across particular fields of study. Analyzes data, develops metrics and responds to requests from administrators for statistics on current and past fellows.


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Experience: One year of full-time experience at the GS-11 level that is close or similar to the work of this position. The experience includes activities such as:  assisting in the administration of a Fellowship program for a mid sized university or organization which included compiling and analyzing program data, developing databases for programs and general administrative support.  

Qualification requirements are derived from the Office of Personnel Management's Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions.

Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the job announcement closing date.


Your application will be evaluated first for the basic qualifications described above. The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

 -Knowledge of and skill in managing a predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowship program for an organization.The incumbent should have knowledge of a variety of administrative operations including work analysis, budget execution, financial management, and contract and grant management.

-Mastery of principles, standards, and practices governing academic fellowship and grant programs, as well as practices and trends in such programs in order to provide analyses, expert guidance and recommendations to management.

-Knowledge of operational procedures and regulations necessary to effectively interface with SI's Office of Fellowships and Internships.

-Knowledge of IRS laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to tax withholding status for visiting scientists and requirements related to non-resident alien tax compliance sufficient to make well-informed, effective, and timely decisions.

-Strong written and oral communication skills in order to interact with and establish and maintain effective working relationships with foreign visitors, scientific, technical, and administrative personnel, and officials at all levels within the CfA at a number of levels, and with vendors and outside clients.

-Knowledge of and skill in office applications including word processing and spreadsheet applications and basic knowledge of html and file transfer protocol (FTP) in order to develop and maintain websites.

-Skill in data compilation and analysis.

Important Note: Your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses to the occupational questionnaire or other assessment tool for consistency. If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than is supported by your resume, you will be assigned a rating commensurate to your described experience. Your resume should provide detailed information regarding how your education and experience relate to this position, including the major duties and qualifications criteria listed.

To preview questions please click here.


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The Smithsonian offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, vacation and
sick leave, holidays, commuter benefits, health/life insurance, and accidental insurance.

Please see Benefits at for a complete description.


The Smithsonian embraces diversity and equal employment opportunity.


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Click on the "Apply Online" button on the upper right side of the page.
Please Note:
  • You must apply for this position online through the 'Apply Online' button and submit required supplemental documents (if they are relevant to you).
  • You may submit required documents by uploading them online during the application process;
    You may manually fax required documents.  Faxes are received by an automated system, not a physical fax machine.  Documents that are faxed as part of the application process must be sent with the system generated cover sheet by the closing date.  Documents faxed without the system generated coversheet are not retrievable and cannot be considered as part of the application package.  
  • The complete application package, including any required documents, is due in the Smithsonian Office of Human Resources on the closing date of the announcement by 11:59 PM Eastern Time.
  • If you are unable to apply online, paper applications may be accepted with prior approval of the Contact Person listed below.


Your application package must  include a detailed resume created in the USAJOBS Resume Builder.


Judy Gallagher
Phone: 617-495-7374
Fax: 617-495-7263
Agency Information:
Human Resources
60 Garden Street Cambridge, MA 02138
Mail Stop 17
Cambridge, MA
Fax: 617-495-7263


After you apply, you will receive an automated acknowledgement email that your submission was successful. The staffing process to identify highly qualified candidates may take up to four weeks or more to complete. After the announcement closes and application reviews are done, you may be contacted by the hiring office if further evaluation or interviews are required. All applicants will receive written notification on the final outcome of the position.

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