Posted: Open to internal and external applicants.

Reports to: Ocean policy manager.

Status: Hourly/nonexempt, temporary, 4- to 6-month position (depending on hours worked). Specific dates based on start date, anticipated November 2019 through March 2020.

Hours of work: 15–20 hours per week, Monday–Friday, between 8am and 5pm. Specific schedule to be determined at time of hire. Must be available to work at least three days per week.

Date needed: November 2019.

Posting expires: Thursday, October 3, 2019.


About the organization

The Seattle Aquarium is a respected authority on Puget Sound, the Salish Sea and the world’s one ocean. Our passionate staff increases awareness and drives the change needed to preserve and protect our marine environment through a variety of channels, including a compelling exhibit experience and engaging daytime and evening events; research that advances understanding and conservation of marine ecosystems; policy and advocacy to advance science-informed decisions for our coast and ocean; conservation education programs for people of all ages and backgrounds; community outreach to underserved populations; strong and consistent marketing efforts; and more. Our conservation programs focus on moving toward a future that embodies climate resilience, sustainable seas and clean waters.


We’re noted for our collaborative, communicative and team-oriented working environment. Our values, developed in conjunction with our staff, include commitments to adopting and promoting sustainable practices; creating awe-inspiring experiences; constantly learning and improving; fostering an inclusive community; maintaining scientific credibility through evidence-based practices; and honoring our unique place by using our location and history as a lens for larger understanding.


Proudly accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, we are the eighth-largest aquarium in the U.S. by attendance and we welcome over 850,000 people through our front doors each year. Guided by our mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment, we have developed a master plan to substantially increase in size and impact by opening a new exhibit building, the Ocean Pavilion. Our current annual budget is $18 million.


Position description

We’re seeking a part-time, temporary ocean policy assistant to support the Seattle Aquarium’s growing policy work. The ocean policy and advocacy work across the organization includes engaging at all levels of government (i.e., local, state and federal) to advance science-based decisions for our ocean. Our policy work spans a range of issues, including reducing plastic pollution, advancing strong fisheries management practices, and conservation of threatened and endangered species such as the southern resident orcas.


The ocean policy assistant will have the opportunity to work directly on policy advocacy related to the 2020 Washington state legislative session, which runs from January through March. The person in this position will also take the lead on advancing a discrete state or federal policy project that will be identified together with the ocean policy manager. The work accomplished during this assistantship will help the Seattle Aquarium realize our vision to emerge as a proactive leader in conservation, both in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.


Essential functions

  • Research and analyze environmental issues at all levels of government. Potential issues include marine debris and pollution, salmon recovery, climate change, ocean acidification, coral reef restoration, marine protected areas, aquaculture, orca recovery and water quality.
  • Summarize and report on relevant scientific studies, government reports and draft legislation. Develop talking points and position statements grounded in scientific evidence.
  • Support outreach and communications activities for multifaceted policy campaigns. Tasks could include writing comment letters, coordinating public activation via exhibit interpretation, developing blogs and social media messages, writing email action alerts and drafting testimony for legislative hearings.
  • Track evolving legislation as it moves through the Washington state Legislature and/or Congress, identify opportunities for action or influence and monitor changes that are proposed through amendments.

Additional responsibilities

  • Work with the public relations and marketing departments to develop clear, compelling communication materials, including web content, fact sheets and more. Provide support for presentations and talking points on ocean policy issues and actions.
  • Participate in meetings and phone calls with our partners in the policy arena.
  • Provide policy updates for Seattle Aquarium staff and volunteers.
  • Depending on availability, may make occasional day trips to Olympia to attend hearings, deliver testimony or participate in meetings.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


Required skills and abilities

  • Very strong written and oral communications skills.
  • Experience with literature reviews, online research and packaging information into clear, concise, easy-to-digest memos or other formats.
  • Team player with strong interpersonal and collaboration skills and a service-oriented work ethic.
  • Strong organizational skills, an ability to prioritize and consistently meet deadlines and a high degree of professionalism.
  • Skilled at using Microsoft Office (Word, Excel) and internet browsers.
  • Self-motivated with a demonstrated passion for the Aquarium’s mission and values.


Experience, education and certifications: We will consider various combinations of relevant experience and education in order to meet minimum requirements.



  • B.A./B.S. in a relevant field, such as public policy, natural-resource management, environmental studies or marine biology.
  • 1+ years of professional work experience in environmental or marine policy, public policy, public administration, law or natural-resource management.



  • M.A./M.S. in a relevant field such as environmental or marine policy, public policy, public administration, law or natural-resource management.
  • Familiarity with legislative and/or rule-making processes at the state or federal level.
  • 2+ years of policy-related professional work experience.


Working conditions

  •  Occasional local travel (less than 5%).
  • May be sitting for long periods of time (e.g., 4+ hours in front of a computer screen).
  • The position is located at the Seattle Aquarium offices in downtown Seattle.
  • Flexibility desired for evening or weekend hours around occasional events.


Salary and benefits

$16.75/hour. Temporary staff are not eligible for benefits but accrue paid sick time and are paid an additional $0.75/hour to assist with transportation costs.


How to apply: The Seattle Aquarium is a progressive, equal opportunity employer that values a diverse workforce. All candidates are encouraged to apply by uploading a résumé, a one-page letter detailing interest and relevant experience and a short writing sample in our online application program. The writing sample should be 1–5 pages in length and demonstrate experience with summarizing a complex subject, e.g., a position statement, one-pager, executive summary of a report, workshop summary, blog post, etc.


Please let us know if you require a reasonable accommodation for this job.

*Note: Must pass a background check, upon job offer, to be eligible for this position.