Student Researcher

Posted on
Current state: Review
Department: SOFIA Program
City: Mountain View
State/Province: California
Country: USA
Contact Person: Shawn Dixon
Contact Email: [email protected]
Institution: Universities Space Research Association
Web Link:

Student Researcher

Tracking Code


Job Description

USRA is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations. USRA engages the creativity and authoritative expertise of the research community to develop and deliver sophisticated, forward-looking solutions to Federal agencies and other customers – on schedule and within budget.


USRA is seeking a full-time Student Researcher for the SOFIA program in Mountain View, CA. The Student Researcher will be modeling the Spectral Energy Distribution (SEDs) using analytic and radiative transfer models. The task is to explore the limits of each modeling approach and extract the parameters that can be reliably derived from the SED modeling. The goal is to classify the sources based on their SEDs and possibly tie the classification to the different evolutionary stages of massive star formation.


Duties and Responsibilities: 

  • Compile ages for the selected star forming regions
  • Analyze the results of modeling the SEDs using the Robitaille models and the semi-analytic SED model by Chakrabarti al., especially compare model parameters to published ages of the respective star forming regions
  • Explore limits of the SED modeling incl. parameter uncertainties, degeneracies, and relevance
  • Software development as required for the above steps

Additional Responsibilities

  • Support the PI in conducting the research project
  • Ensure the protection of NASA and USRA intellectual property with respect to commercial and ITAR/EAR concerns through disclosures, patent applications, and adherence to NASA’s scientific and technical information dissemination guidelines.
  • Support efforts of USRA Management to ensure that USRA conducts its business operations in an effective, cost-competitive, and professional manner
  • Ability to work effectively with co-workers, customers, and supervisor in a professional and courteous manner is an essential function of this position.
  • Complete all trainings as scheduled.

Required Skills

  • Bachelor degree in Astronomy or a related field or equivalent certificate(s) or work experience
  • 2-5 years experience in astronomy
  • Experience with astronomical data reduction using IDL or Python
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently

Applicants should apply to the posting at and include a cover letter and resume. Review of candidates will begin immediately. Additional information on USRA can be found at

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

Job Location

Mountain View, California, United States

Position Type