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Development Intern

Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) seeks a current undergraduate or graduate student, or a recent college graduate, interested in serving as an Intern at our North American Office in Durham, NC. The Intern will work for the Development Department and will provide a wide range of database, research, administrative, and general support to OTS’ Development team. This is a proven opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of fundraising by interacting with an active team of fundraisers and by helping the team work with its stakeholders, alumni, and prospective donors. In addition to learning the industry-standard database software packages of Raiser’s Edge and ResearchPoint, extremely helpful in future job applications, this internship is a prime opportunity to gain experience and familiarity with areas such as gift entry, direct mail, online giving, social media, research and stewardship. The Development Intern will report to the Development Manager and will support the entire development department.

Essential Functions

  • Assist with the planning and implementation of the unrestricted Annual Fund.
  • Maintain donor files and development materials.
  • Use Internet and other resources to conduct research on potential donors.
  • Organize and compile research findings for cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
  • Verify/update contact information for donors, alumni, and key stakeholders.
  • Maintain and update database information.
  • Provide support for marketing and donor communication materials.
  • Assist with the solicitation of donations.
  • Assist with and participate in donor appreciation activities, including (but not limited to} thank you notes and calls.
  • Other development tasks and support, as needed.


  • Professional appearance and manner.
  • Must maintain strict confidentiality.
  • Requires familiarity with basic computer software programs.
  • Knowledge of Internet research tools and techniques is essential.
  • Must be self-motivated and able to work independently.
  • Needs to think critically and be detail oriented.
  • Flexibility, initiative, creative thinking, and a willingness to learn required.
  • Preferred, experience with fundraising/sporting events.
  • Preferred, experience with Raiser’s Edge.

Flexible within business hours (8:30am to 5:00pm). A firm commitment of 10 hours+ per week is required. The internship will start with mutually agreed upon days but may adjust hours and days depending on satisfactory performance. Position is located in our Durham, NC office. This is an unpaid internship.

Organization for Tropical Studies is an equal opportunity employer.

A complete application includes a cover letter and resume.

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Leadership Coordinator

The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is a nonprofit consortium of nearly sixty universities and research institution worldwide. OTS was founded to provide research and leadership in research, education and responsible use of natural resources in the tropics. OTS works to sustain our tropical ecosystems, by driving scientific discovery and knowledge, by enriching human perception of nature and by enhancing worldwide policy actions in the tropics. OTS has offices in the U.S., Costa Rica and South Africa and operates research stations in Costa Rica (Las Cruces, La Selva and Palo Verde) and Kruger National Park in South Africa (Skukuza Science Center, a partnership with South African National Parks and Nsasani Trust).

OTS is hiring a Leadership Coordinator to support the President & CEO. You will report directly to the President & CEO, and play a key role in ensuring the success of the President’s office. You are energetic, thoughtful, positive and creative, willing to roll up your sleeves to get the job done, whatever it may be, while keeping things hyper-organized. You are flexible, strategic, thrive at multi-tasking in a fast-paced environment, while also paying exquisite attention to detail. You are collaborative and are always willing to go the extra mile. You are a good writer. You have the maturity, professionalism and confidence to function as a liaison to the Board of Directors and to the senior staff leadership team. Finally, you are excited about tropical ecology.

Whether you are interested in a career enabling executives and organizations to be successful or whether you see this as an opportunity to learn up close and have an impact on research, education and conservation in tropical ecosystems, this position could be for you.

Key Responsibilities

Executive Support
Completes a broad variety of administrative tasks for the President & CEO including managing an extremely active calendar of appointments; completing expense reports; arranging (and re-arranging) complex and detailed travel plans, itineraries, and agendas; scheduling and managing conference calls involving multiple time zones; creating and compiling documents for meetings and to facilitate decisions by the President & CEO.

Edits documents and composes and prepares correspondence that is sometimes confidential.

Coordinates and ensures the CEO's schedule is followed and respected. Proactively manages the CEO’s time effectively, delegating meetings to others as appropriate.

Plans and manages logistics and organizes documents for Board meetings, which are held both domestically and internationally.

Communicates directly, and on behalf of the President and CEO, with board members, donors, member institution representatives and others, on matters related to CEO's programmatic initiatives.

Researches, prioritizes, and follows up on incoming issues and concerns addressed to the President, including those of a sensitive or confidential nature. Determines appropriate course of action, referral, or response.

Works closely and effectively with the CEO to keep her well informed of upcoming commitments and responsibilities, following up appropriately. Acts as a "barometer," having a sense for the issues taking place in the internal and external environment and keeps her updated.

Provides leadership both internally and externally, to build relationships crucial to the success of the organization, and manages a variety of special projects for the President, some of which may have organizational impact.

Prioritizes conflicting needs; handles matters expeditiously, proactively, and follows-through on projects to successful completion, often with deadline pressures.

Relevant Experience, Skills and Abilities

Required (critical to successful job performance. Applicants not meeting required skills may not be hired)

  • 3-5 years of Executive Assistant experience, or experience in a similar role supporting senior leaders
  • Undergraduate degree
  • Professional demeanor and ability to exercise discretion
  • Highly organized, with the ability to multi-task, prioritize, manage and keep track of multiple requests and projects and adapt to urgent requests and changes in priorities
  • A strategic thinker who anticipates future opportunities and consequences, thinks innovatively and can organize chaos into a coherent plan
  • Ability to evaluate risks and opportunities, uses analytical and problem-solving skills and takes initiative and drives for results
  • Highly skilled in MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Creative Suite (especially InDesign), social media web platforms, distance communication and meeting technology, and ability to learn new applications quickly
  • Strong written and verbal English communication skills


  • Fluency in Spanish would be a big plus
  • Personal interest in tropical ecosystems, international research, education and conservation
  • Knowledge and experience with non-profit organizations and/or universities
  • Experience in multi-cultural, distributed, international work environment
  • Environmental science or conservation background

Supervisory Responsibilities/Authority Allocated

You will not directly supervise OTS employees, but will provide direction and delegate to staff. In a project management capacity, you will need to motivate, engage, and build consensus amongst individuals from different parts of the organization to achieve project objectives and goals. You have the confidence to convene meetings (both internal and external) and meet directly with senior staff internally to ensure deadlines are met and parties are fulfilling responsibilities on the project. You will manage relationships with outside consultants, contractors and interns as needed. You will be expected to make day-to-day judgment calls on issues related to risk management and policy interpretation.

Working Conditions

  • This position is based in Seattle, Washington; will consider a telecommuting arrangement
  • Domestic and international travel, up to 25% time may be required
  • Willing to work outside of normal business hours when needed to accommodate meetings involving participants from multiple time zones

To Apply

Both a resume and a cover letter are required. Applications received without a cover letter will not be considered. Please send both documents (in PDF format) to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it including "Leadership Coordinator" in the email subject line.

The Organization for Tropical Studies is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.

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Palo Verde Scientific Director

Definition of job position

The Station Director position duties include: Oversight of the management of Palo Verde Biological Station and its staff, oversight of research conducted at the Station, participating in OTS courses visiting the station, proposal writing and project management, interaction and outreach with the local scientific and conservation community, and establishment of an independent research program. The Station Director reports directly to his/her supervisor who is the General Director of OTS; the position also coordinates closely with the President and CEO and the Science Director of OTS.

Qualifications & Requirements

  • Ph.D. in ecology, resource management, or a related field, with demonstrated and relevant academic, research and field experience in an ecology related field, preferably in Costa Rica or Central America
  • Extensive knowledge of Costa Rica (or Latin America more generally), including culture, history, politics and governmental operations, and research community
  • Knowledge of Costa Rican Ministry of the Environment's (MINAE) regulations and process to obtain research permits
  • Three years of demonstrated management experience
  • Demonstrated experience in field research in a tropical environment
  • Knowledge of the U.S. higher education -system and direct experience with U.S. college students
  • Experience with budget management, project management, legal compliance, risk management, and conducting or overseeing the successful completion of academic and/or research programs
  • Knowledge of international environmental research programs and/or organization(s); ability to promote the involvement of local and international scientists and NGOs; ability to negotiate with program partners; and demonstrated success in grant-writing
  • Demonstrated ability to coordinate and be part of an interdisciplinary teaching and research team
  • Experience in facilitating organization-wide team work among diverse individuals
  • Experience living and working in Central America, preferably Costa Rica
  • Bilingual Spanish/English required
  • Demonstrated commitment to academic excellence in a field research environment and prior experience working at a field station in either a research or management capacity
  • Willingness to work flexible hours and live on-site at the Station with groups of U.S. undergraduate and graduate students and visiting researchers
  • Ability and willingness to travel locally and internationally to support the Station's administration and initiatives

Preferred Qualifications

  • Two years of university teaching and curriculum development experience
  • Five years of demonstrated management experience
  • Experience managing a residential site, preferably a field based research facility

The general responsibilities of the Director include

  • Administration: This position is responsible for oversight of the administrative functions of the Biological Station including: staff management, Center's operations, financial and physical plant management, risk management, and other administrative duties related to the operation of the Biological Station. Specifically:
    • Provide direction and supervise growth at Palo Verde Biological Station.
    • Supervise the Station Administrators, scientific and academic staff.
    • Work together with HR Department to recruit, train, and retain qualified staff.
    • Build and support a strong commitment to team work at the Station.
    • Ensure that the Biological Station operates in a manner that is consistent with local, regional, and national laws, regulations, policies, and procedures of the OTS Costa Rica Office (CRO) and North America Office (NAO).
    • Set and enforce facility and asset maintenance, repair, and replacement schedules.
    • Manage activities to minimize ecological impacts and long-term sustainability of station facilities and research.
    • Develop and implement data management policies in accordance with international standards.
    • Develop and oversee annual operating and capital budgets.
    • Oversee monthly and yearly accounting cycles, local payroll, and outsourced accounting and purchasing
    • Work with CRO and NAO Coordinators and staff (Operations, IT, Finances, Human Resources and Development), to build and maintain a collaborative relationship throughout the organization through regular and open communication.
    • Develop, implement, and update, as needed, risk management systems including emergency procedures, evacuation plan, incident reporting, safety audits, and waivers and releases.
    • Resolve group management concerns and student discipline problems.
    • Represent Palo Verde Biological Station in CIDECAT and other regional management committees.
    • Assist the Palo Verde Advisory Committee in its efforts to provide independent assessments and recommendations.
  • Research and Academic Programs: Facilitate the design, implementation, and evaluation of academic programs; support the faculty with their course development and research needs; facilitate obtaining research permits for OET and graduate students who base their research at Palo Verde; facilitate compliance with all Costa Rican regulations regarding research; apply for grants that promote the scientific and administrative needs of the Biological Station; represent the OTS at academic conferences as appropriate.
    • Develop, implement, and update, as needed a 5 year plan for the Station to build academic and research programs based on consultation with PVAC, users of the station, and outside academics.
    • Seek and promote research projects that take advantage of the site, habitats and ecosystems with new ideas, technologies and potential for integration with years of research results.
    • Ensure ongoing implementation and evaluation of the Station's 5 Year Plan including adherence to timelines, publication of results, appropriate data management, and record keeping, retention of partners, achievement of goals and compliance with Costa Rican laws and regulations regarding research.
    • Maintain the records of research activities, including copies of publications and research products, and the geographically-referenced database of projects.
    • Work with educational faculty of OTS courses and outside faculty-led groups.
    • Monitor the station's performance throughout the year.
    • Monitor researcher and student support services.
    • Participate in and occasionally lead the station's monitoring and research projects.
    • Identify and pursue possible funding sources in support of the Biological Station's research projects.
  • Public Relations: Representation of the Station in local, regional, and international areas, including fundraising, as requested. Develop and supervise the Station's outreach efforts within the local community and Costa Rica. Support NAO & CRO in its recruiting efforts, as requested.
    • Represent the station and OTS in the Costa Rican and international research communities.
    • Work with OTS staff to create and publish la Selva-specific promotional materials and outreach.
    • Identify opportunities to incorporate faculty and students into the Costa Rican academic, research and local community.
    • Oversee outreach at local, regional, and national levels in the following types of activities: community, networking contacts, universities, research organizations, businesses, agencies and institutions.
    • At all times, work to ensure good relations between the Biological Station, SINAC and local community.
  • Additional Duties
    • Perform duties, as assigned by Costa Rica Director General and OTS President and CEO
    • Any other duty that his/her acting supervisor assigns that is inherent to the position and his/her capacity.


Commensurate, based on education and experience

Application deadline: October 15, 2017

To apply:
Submit cover letter, curriculum vitae with list of 2 references and salary expectation. Electronic applications are preferred and may be submitted online via the OTS website: http://www.ots.cr

Applications may also be sent electronically
OTS is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.

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Last Updated ( 01/17/18 )
Organization for Tropical Studies
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