Utah State University

Paleontology Lab & Collections Manager

City Price Campus
Posted Date 3 weeks ago(4/2/2024 10:44 AM)
Requisition ID
# of Openings
Job Locations
Category (Portal Searching)
Program Management & Support
Position Type
Benefited Full-Time
Job Classification
Percent of Time or Hours per Week
100% Time
USU Eastern
USU Eastern-Administration
Advertised Salary
Minimum of $40,000; Commensurate on education and experience, plus excellent benefits
Telework Eligible


Paleontology Lab & Collections Manager:


The Prehistoric Museum at Utah State University Eastern invites applications for a permanent, full-time Paleontology Lab and Collections Manager (Curator, Associate). This is a newly created position that will primarily serve as chief fossil preparator and paleontological collections manager. This position integrates all aspects of paleontology, from field, to lab, to collections, in order to provide optimal, long-term care for paleontological specimens and data. As lab manager, the position will supervise preparation projects focused on both recently collected specimens and other fossils during the museum’s 62-year history. As collections manager, the position will serve as caretaker for a growing collection that includes nine holotypes, with more to be named in the coming years. The lab and collections manager will also assist with and lead fieldwork across eastern and southern Utah in some of the richest fossil-bearing rocks on the planet. In all of these areas, the paleontology lab and collections manager is considered an essential part of a collaborative research team, and their contributions described below will be acknowledged with co-authorship in peer-reviewed publications where appropriate.


The Prehistoric Museum is located in Price, UT – the gateway to Utah’s dinosaur country. The museum elucidates the history of life across eastern Utah and the Colorado Plateau, with a focus on its paleontological record and pre-Columbian human history, and educates the public about that history. The Prehistoric Museum currently houses over 8,000 paleontological specimens from across the region and beyond, with a majority of those specimens collected from within two hours of museum itself. The Prehistoric Museum has an active field program across the region, with a particular emphasis on the Mesozoic. Current field, lab, and collections projects include the Triassic Chinle Formation, Lower Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation, the marine Upper Cretaceous including the Mancos and Tropic shales, and the terrestrial Upper Cretaceous including the Neslen and North Horn formations, with plans to expand to other rock units in the near future. 


Preparation Lab Management – 50%:

  • Serves as chief preparator, directing day-to-day operations of the fossil preparation lab using best practices of AMMP, SVP and SPNHC.
  • Oversees fossil preparation projects, including manual prep, chemical prep, screen washing, building archival cradles, etc. Maintains records documenting the preparation process.
  • Trains and supervises student and volunteer preparators in best practices in fossil preparation.
  • Maintains and repairs lab equipment; maintains adequate supplies of reagents and other materials.
  • Ensures a safe workplace for all preparators.

Collections Management and Registration – 30%:

  • Serves as collections manager for paleontology, responsible for the long-term preservation and physical care of paleontological and geological specimens, in collaboration with the Curator of Paleontology.
  • Catalogs paleontological specimens as they transition from field, to lab, to collections.
  • Maintains all data relevant to paleontological specimens in both digital and paper forms where appropriate.
  • Manages and updates the collections database for paleontology and geology.
  • Directs occasional collections inventories.
  • Manages incoming and outgoing loans.
  • Trains and supervises students and volunteers in collections work.
  • Collaborates with other collections staff to manage archives relevant to paleontology.

Fieldwork – 15%:

  • In collaboration with the Curator of Paleontology, coordinates and leads paleontological fieldwork across Utah.
  • Maintains and repairs field equipment.
  • Maintains adequate supplies of reagents and other materials relevant to fieldwork, including food for the field crew.
  • Manages accurate data associated with all paleontological resources encountered and/or collected, including GPS coordinates, quarry maps, etc.
  • Trains and supervises students and volunteers.

Other – 5%:

  • Assists Curator of Paleontology in earth science education and outreach, including school group and other exhibits/collections tours.
  • Conducts independent and collaborative research and presents findings at scientific conferences and other venues.
  • Occasionally provides support for exhibits installation.
  • Other duties as assigned.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree in geosciences, biology, or museum studies with an emphasis on paleontology.
  • At least two years of experience in fossil preparation.
  • At least one year of experience working in museum collections.
  • Proficiency in collections management software.
  • Knowledge of and commitment to following best practices in laboratory, collections and field settings.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, attention to detail, critical thinking, and organizational skills.
  • Ability to lift up to 40 lbs and hike up to ten miles per day in extreme temperatures and terrains.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Excel and Word.
  • Experience supervising students and/or volunteers.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • A master’s degree in geosciences, biology, or museum studies with an emphasis on paleontology.
  • At least four years of experience in fossil preparation.
  • At least two years of experience working in museum collections.
  • Proficiency in geographic information systems software.

Required Documents

Along with the online application, please attach:

  1. Resume/CV to be uploaded at the beginning of your application in the Candidate Profile under “Resume/CV"
  2. Portfolio detailing previous preparation and collections projects to be uploaded at the beginning of your application in the
    Candidate Profile under “Documents 1-10”
  3. Name and contact information for 3 professional references to be entered into Candidate Profile
  4. Cover letter to be typed/pasted at the end of your application

**Document size may not exceed 10 MB.**

Advertised Salary

Minimum of $40,000; Commensurate on education and experience, plus excellent benefits


The environment and physical requirements may change depending on the specific function of the work each department performs. Incumbents may be in both indoor and outdoor environments. Indoors, in an office space, event space, or public space are protected from weather conditions, but not necessarily from temperature changes. Incumbents may nearly continuously sit and often use repetitive hand motion (such as typing).


Outdoors, incumbents may not be protected from weather conditions and may be exposed to extreme heat and extreme cold. Additionally, indoor or outdoor work environments may include being confined or in narrow spaces for periods of time. The incumbent may also be exposed to loud noises or vibrations from equipment, and conditions that may affect the respiratory system, such as fumes, odors, dusts, mists, gases, and poor ventilation. Bending, crawling, and crouching may be required. Incumbents may be required to lift, push, and/or pull objects up to 50 pounds and be required to walk and/or stand for long periods of time.

University Highlights

Founded in 1888, Utah State University is Utah’s premier land-grant, public service university, with a strong commitment to excellence, access, and inclusion, empowering people to lead successful lives of involvement, innovation, and impact. Utah State provides high-quality education to 27,500-plus students locations throughout the state, including at three residential campuses, eight statewide campuses, and 23 education centers. USU Online educates students from all 50 states and 55 countries. For over 25 years, USU Extension has served and engaged Utahns in all of Utah’s counties. As an R1 research institution, Utah State is dedicated to advancing knowledge through research and scholarly activities, providing a high-quality undergraduate and graduate education at an affordable price.


Utah State is committed to cultivating a community of inclusive excellence where all perspectives, values, cultures, and identities are acknowledged, welcomed, and valued. We seek to recruit, hire, and retain people from all walks of life who will champion excellence in education, research, discovery, outreach, and service. We believe that promoting a strong sense of community and belonging empowers and engages all members of USU to thrive and be successful. Forbes recognized our commitment to employees when they named Utah State the best employer in Utah in 2023. Learn more about USU. 


The university provides a Dual Career Assistance Program to support careers for partners who are also seeking employment. Additionally, USU is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities. To request a reasonable accommodation for a disability, contact the university’s ADA Coordinator in the Office of Human Resources at (435) 797-0122 or hr@usu.edu. 


About the Region

U.S. News and World Report ranked Utah first for its strong economy, fiscal stability, education, and health care. Outstanding outdoor recreational opportunities abound throughout the state, including five national parks, 43 state parks and recreation areas, and 15 alpine ski resorts. The home of USU’s main campus, Logan, is a city of 54,000-plus people in a picturesque mountain valley 80 miles north of Salt Lake City. The Logan metro area claimed the top spot in the Milken Institute’s 2022 ranking for best-performing small cities in the nation. 


*updated 04/2024

Notice of Non-discrimination

In its programs and activities, including in admissions and employment, Utah State University does not discriminate or tolerate discrimination, including harassment, based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, status as a protected veteran, or any other status protected by University policy, Title IX, or any other federal, state, or local law.

The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the application of Title IX and its implementing regulations and/or USU’s non-discrimination policies:


Executive Director of the Office of Equity Matthew Pinner, discrimination@usu.edu, Distance Education Rm. 401, 435-797-1266

Title IX Coordinator Cody Carmichael, titleix@usu.edu, Distance Education Rm. 404, 435-797-1266

Mailing address: 5100 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322

For further information regarding non-discrimination, please visit https://equity.usu.edu/, or contact:

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 800-421-3481, OCR@ed.gov

*updated 09/2023


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