Public Lab Research note

Fellowship Posting: Community Technology Fellow

by joyofsoy | January 30, 2020 23:12 30 Jan 23:12 | #22441 | #22441

Starting: Late March

Commitment: Roughly 20 hours/week over eight months

Fellowship Stipend: $15,000

Where: This fellowship is open to anyone located in the United States

About Public Lab and the Fair Tech Collective

Public Lab is a community, supported by a 501(c)(3) non-profit, that develops and applies open-source tools to environmental exploration and investigation. By democratizing inexpensive and accessible do-it-yourself techniques, Public Lab creates a collaborative network of practitioners who actively reimagine the human relationship with the environment.

The Fair Tech Collective, Professor Gwen Ottinger's research group at Drexel University, uses social science theory and methods to foster environmentally just science and technology.

About the Fellowship

This is a joint fellowship being offered by Public Lab and the Fair Tech Collective. In this project, the Fellow will do research to update and archive the bucket air sampler. The Fellow will also be responsible for writing and editing an updated technical and organizing manual for communities who want to use the bucket. To help ensure the sustainability of the bucket, the Fellow will identify labs that can provide reliable, affordable air sample analysis and communicate with stakeholders about the feasibility and organization of a potential network of bucket trainers. The Fellow will be co-supervised by Dr. Gwen Ottinger of the Fair Tech Collective and senior staff members of the Public Lab team.

The major goals of this fellowship are to:

  1. Update and digitize the bucket manual: You will create a version of the bucket manual that can be easily accessed online and published in a run of hard copies for distribution. The updated manual will include information and illustrations on building the sampling tool. You will support the work of an illustrator and designer to complete the bucket manual.
  2. Set up the infrastructure for a distributed community of trainers: You will do an assessment of the current landscape of Bucket Brigades and look at the feasibility of a distributed network available to support people in using the bucket tool and methodology to support community organizing activities.
  3. Technical scoping: You will identify potential lab partners who will be willing to analyze bucket samples pro bono or at a discounted rate. You will support the Public Lab Kits Coordinator in identifying and sourcing hardware components for the buckets.

In the fellowship, your tasks will include:

  1. Doing interviews with members of existing and previous Bucket Brigades.
  2. Creating a revised and updated bucket air sampling manual. The original version was created in the 1990s and was approximately 80 pages.
  3. Developing a wiki page on that highlights the bucket tool, process, and steps.
  4. Writing research note documentation on detailing your process, steps, and highlights from your research.
  5. Drafting a prospectus on potential air sampling lab partners.
  6. Drafting a concept for a trainer network to support communities interested in using the bucket tool and methodology. The concept will identify participants, resource needs, and potential sources of funding.
  7. Interacting with an advisory team of 4-6 people and, when possible, meeting weekly with the Public Lab and Fair Tech Collective team or providing written updates on progress.
  8. Maintaining and adhere to Public Lab values, and the Code of Conduct.

The ideal candidate will:

Have approximately 3-5 years of experience and/or have done work at a Masters level in, or fields related to, environmental studies and sciences, environmental engineering, or science and technology studies.

This role may be for you if you are:

  • Detail-oriented: You have excellent documentation skills and are often praised for your organization and attention to detail. An exceptional written and oral communicator: You have excellent interpersonal and interview skills, and you express yourself effectively in genres ranging from email to proposals.
  • Team-oriented: You work collaboratively, both in-person and with remote colleagues, to envision and promote positive change, solve problems, and to be supportive of others.
  • A helper who includes everyone: You've worked with people with different backgrounds, and different fields and experiences. You're able to communicate on environmental science and monitoring in a way that's approachable and understandable to newcomers.
  • Tech-savvy: You thrive in an online environment. You are excited to learn new programs and share about technology and monitoring in the context of advocacy.
  • Self-directed: You work successfully with minimal supervision. You can organize work, set and meet your own internal milestones, and communicate when help is required.

This fellowship will be hosted through Public Lab, which is committed to a diverse, multicultural work environment. We encourage people with different ability sets, people of color, and people of diverse sexual orientations, gender expressions, and identities to apply.

To Apply

Send a cover letter, resume or CV, and the answers to the questions below in a single document to with the subject line Community Technology Fellow by March 1. No phone calls, please.

  1. Why are you interested in this fellowship? What about working on this issue intrigues you?
  2. How would your experiences benefit your work as a fellow?
  3. If awarded the fellowship, what would you hope to learn, and what would you hope to accomplish?

Public Lab is committed to a diverse, multicultural work environment. We encourage people with different ability sets, people of color, and people of diverse sexual orientations, gender expressions, and identities to apply.

Image of bucket air sampler: Dr. Gwen Ottinger


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