Research/Access Assistant

Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is currently searching for a Research/Access Assistant to join the Physical Oceanography Department. This is a full-time, non-exempt position, and is eligible for benefits.  This position will last two years with the potential to extend longer depending on productivity. Onsite employment is preferred but hybrid will also be considered. 


Approximately half of the position involves assisting Dr. Bower, who is blind, with accessing information pertinent to her research. This includes but is not limited to modifying electronic documents for screen reader accessibility, describing inaccessible graphics, and rendering some graphics in accessible format. The other half of the position involves providing standard research assistance on a variety of physical oceanographic projects. The group researches deep ocean currents in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans using various in situ instruments such as acoustically tracked floats and moored current meters, as well as satellite observations of ocean surface properties.


The internal working title for this position could be either Research Assistant (RA) I or Research Assistant (RA) II. The final level of the position will be determined commensurate with the selected candidate's level of education & experience. 



With close supervision, uses established laboratory procedures to perform prescribed research tasks determined by field of study and scope of individual research project.



With some supervision, employs established laboratory procedures, standard equipment, and fundamental concepts to conduct research tasks determined by field of study and scope of individual research project.



Essential Functions

Essential Function:

The Research Assistant will develop creative and unique solutions to challenges associated with visual accessibility, especially related to scientific content. In this unique job position, science and accessibility are intertwined; therefore, the ideal candidate will possess skills relevant to both science and excellent communication and interpersonal skills. The ideal candidate can efficiently digest and interpret scientific materials and communicate them with an effective accessibility-focused approach. The second half of the position involves assisting other members of the Bower Lab with data organization and archiving, report preparation, research cruise logistics, instrument preparation and inventories, as well as preparation of manuscripts and presentations. The successful candidate must be able to do occasional travel on domestic and international trips in support of projects.



  • Assists in collecting project data as directed;
  • Prepares data or material for analysis or presentation using standard research techniques;
  • Processes and analyzes data according to established technical procedures;


  • Maintains records related to the research and/or research equipment.
  • Executes designated research tasks, making use of selected laboratory experiments, equipment, field work, library research, data acquisition and processing, statistical analyses or other investigative techniques;
  • Organizes and summarizes acquired data, using scientific and statistical techniques including computer programs;
  • Organizes and/or drafts material for the preparation of research papers, manuscripts, or other documents for publication and/or presentation;
  • Participates in the design of experiments or field work



  • As deemed necessary by supervisor

Education & Experience

Both levels:

  • Openness to learn how to work with blind/low-vision individuals required.
  • Excellent communication, descriptive, and interpersonal skills required.  
  • Excellent organization skills required. 
  • Good attention to detail and note-taking ability required. 
  • Able to travel to meetings and conferences both on- and off-campus with Dr. Bower to serve as sighted guide (finding meeting rooms, reading posters aloud, locating colleagues, managing meeting session schedule) required.
  • Excellent Microsoft Office skills required (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). 
  • Excellent Google Suite skills required (Docs, Sheets). 
  • Experience with document accessibility for screen readers preferred. 
  • Experience with Matlab preferred. 
  • Experience with primary literature searching and reviewing preferred. 
  • Experience making conference quality posters and presentations preferred. 
  • Experience with Adobe Creative Suite preferred.
  • Experience with creating accessible graphics (tactile, swell paper, etc) preferred.



Bachelor's degree, or Associate's degree in related field plus one year related experience, or High School diploma or equivalent plus three years' related experience.



Bachelor's degree in related field, or Bachelor's degree in non-related field plus two years' related experience, or Associate's degree in related field plus three years' related experience, or High School diploma or equivalent plus five years' related experience



Physical Requirements

Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, pushing, pulling, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, working around others, and with others.  Physical duties are subject to change.



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