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14 Mar 2023

Temporary Paleontology Apprentice

San Diego Natural History Museum – Posted by San Diego, California, United States

Job Description

STEM APPRENTICESHIPS: The grant-funded San Diego Natural History Museum STEM research apprenticeship program provides training and mentoring in curation, imaging, databasing protocols, and collections-based research to students, to prepare them for continued advancement in the natural sciences, which can translate to career pathways in academia and research, as well as environmental consulting.

Applications are invited for one (1) paid undergraduate student apprentice position in the Department of Paleontology at the San Diego Natural History Museum (SDNHM).


The Paleontology Apprentice will contribute to a project focused on documenting the paleobiological history of the southern California region.

Potential tasks may include the following:

  • Mechanical preparation of invertebrate and vertebrate fossils using static hand tools and pneumatic tools
  • Wet screening of sediment samples to concentrate micro-invertebrate and micro-vertebrate fossils
  • Consolidation of fossils using various chemical consolidants
  • Microscopic “picking” of wet-screened sediment concentrate for micro-invertebrate and micro-vertebrate fossils
  • General sorting and taxonomic identification of invertebrate and vertebrate fossils
  • Organizing sorted fossils into individual species lots and placing in archival specimen trays, plastic vials, glass vials, and/or gel capsules
  • Entering collection locality and specimen identification information into the SDNHM Paleontology Collection Database
  • Placing organized, trayed, catalogued, and numbered fossils into steel drawers and storage cabinets in the SDNHM Paleontology Collection.

Examples of projects to be worked on as part of the apprenticeship may include:

  • Late Pleistocene terrestrial and marine microvertebrate fossils from coastal southern California
  • Early and middle Pleistocene terrestrial macrovertebrate fossils from inland southern California
  • Late Pliocene and late Miocene marine invertebrate and vertebrate fossils from coastal and inland southern California
  • Middle Miocene terrestrial vertebrates from coastal southern California
  • Middle Eocene terrestrial vertebrate fossils from coastal southern California
  • Late Cretaceous marine invertebrate fossils from coastal southern California

The Paleontology Apprentice will be expected to create a final report or presentation on their work. Apprentices will regular instruction, guidance, and follow-up for all tasks assigned.

QUALIFICATIONS: To be considered for this position, applicants must reside in San Diego County and attend a community college or university in San Diego County. A special emphasis is placed on recruiting students who are members of groups currently underrepresented in STEM careers.

In compliance with the San Diego Natural History Museum’s mandatory vaccination policy, the Museum requires proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Accommodations based on medical and religious exemptions will be considered.


HOURS: The apprenticeship will involve up to a total of 275 hours, with a flexible weekday schedule (weekend work may be possible).

COMPENSATION: Paid, hourly, $16.30/hr.

Employees enjoy free admission into all of Balboa Park’s museums as well as free admission to the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.

LOCATION: The majority of work will be conducted on site in the Museum’s Balboa Park facility. Some fieldwork may be possible.

How to Apply

Please submit a CV or resume with three references and a Cover Letter. All materials should go to No phone calls or drop-ins, please.

Job Types: Temporary. Salaries: Less than 20,000.

Job expires in 71 days.

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