Great Lakes Social Scientist

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

Alpena, MI, USA
Posted on Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Location: Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Alpena, MI

Supervisor: HR/Operations Manager on site and TBNMS Superintendent

Rate: Full-time, exempt, 24–36-month term position

What We Need

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is a leading voice for U.S. protected waters, is seeking a Great Lakes Social Scientist. The person in this role will use surveys and analyses to study people, with the goal of helping manage protected species. Understanding the “people side” of coastal and resource management – the people who live in a coastal community and what they care about – helps inform how policies will impact them and whether a policy will be effective. The position is currently hybrid.

The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center (GLMHC) is the central focus of all sanctuary programs and a hub for community activity including educational programs, scientific research, public outreach events, festivals, meetings, and more. As the “gateway” to the 4,300 square miles of sanctuary waters in Lake Huron, the GLMHC serves a vital role in furthering the sanctuary’s mission to protect and preserve the Great Lakes and their rich history. The Specialist will specifically work to effectively communicate the sanctuary mission and goals, encompassing both research and education efforts, to various and diverse audiences.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is committed to a culture of inclusion, equity, and belonging. We are dedicated to attracting and retaining a diverse staff. We honor experiences, perspectives, and unique identities, and welcome the contributions that you can bring to the dedicated team. With a diverse team of employees, we can grow and learn better together and achieve our mission to protect the health of the ocean, coasts and Great Lakes for current and future generations.

What You’ll Do

  • Integrate economic, human dimensions, non-economic and ecological information for assessing ecosystem services and economic valuations.
  • Conduct intercept surveys and supervise surveyors.
  • Complete data entry and analysis of socioeconomic research.
  • Work with community members to collect their stories of sanctuary meaning.
  • Serve as liaison between the sanctuaries and the community to provide status updates and answer questions from the public.
  • Collect data to evaluate ecosystem services provided by sanctuary locations.
  • Prepare reports regarding important socioeconomic considerations.
  • Communicate socioeconomic findings to the Foundation, NOAA, other agencies, and the general public.
  • Work closely with an on-site coordinator within NOAA’s ONMS Socioeconomic program.
  • Perform other duties as assigned to support sanctuary programs.

Who You Are

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in social science, including but not limited to economics, sociology, survey research, and anthropology.
  • Proven experience with database management and statistical analysis using a statistical program like SAS, STATA, R, or other comparable software.
  • Competency with using Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint); Intermediate/advanced skills in Excel.
  • Strong data analytic skills with a foundation in statistics.
  • Strong communication skills, both written and oral, with experience presenting research results and publications, participating in expert panels, and developing website content and content for social media.
  • Demonstrated commitment to high professional, ethical standards and a diverse workplace.
  • Ability to coordinate volunteer schedules.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Coursework in environmental or natural resource economics.
  • Coursework or experience with survey sampling and questionnaire design.
  • Experience interviewing respondents.
  • Experience working with Native and Indigenous peoples.
  • Coursework or experience using GIS software.
  • Ability to travel in the region up to 20%.

Why You Will Love Us

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (“Foundation”) is a leading voice for U.S. protected waters, working with communities to conserve and expand those special places for a healthy ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes. The Foundation works in close partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to increase stewardship of our ocean and Great Lakes through on-the- water conservation projects, and education and public outreach activities, and by support for research. Together, we safeguard species and the places they call home, and support coastal communities and economies.

  • Dedicated and passionate staff committed to marine and Great Lakes Conservation
  • Generous leave policy, plus paid time off the week between December 25 and January 1; and 12 paid holidays
  • Health benefits: Medical with an FSA option; dental, and vision
  • Foundation paid Life and Disability Insurance
  • Preparing for the Future: 403(B) with employer contribution after one year of service

Compensation and Benefits: $55,000-$68,000 annually based on experience. The Foundation offers a competitive benefits package.

Applications must include a cover letter, resume, and at least three professional references. Applications received by July 16th will be preferred.

Location: Alpena, MI (hybrid with some telework available)


The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind based on race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, genetic information, pregnancy, or any other protected characteristic as outlined by federal, state, or local laws. This commitment applies to all employment practices within our organization, including hiring, recruiting, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, leave of absence, compensation, benefits, and training. The Foundation makes hiring decisions based solely on qualifications, merit, and business needs at the time.