Herpetology Apprentice (Part – Time, Temporary)

San Diego Natural History Museum
November 18, 2021
1788 El Prado, San Diego, California
Job Type
Type of Pay
Contact Name
Brad Hollingsworth
Contact Email


Applications are invited for two (2) paid undergraduate student positions in the Department of Herpetology at the San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat). This immersive apprenticeship program provides students with Museum-based experience in amphibian and reptile biodiversity science centered around collections curation, specimen preparation, and digital image capture.

Objectives & Duties:

Specific museum collection tasks to be taught will include an overview of biodiversity data and data flow, preparation of alcohol-preserved whole-body specimens, collection organization and maintenance, and photographic capture of individual specimens to be uploaded to public-facing websites.

Specific curation tasks to be taught will include: collecting ethics and the purpose of collections; taxonomic nomenclature; collection organization; wet specimen preparation; collecting data including locality description and mapping systems; storage systems (jars, labels, fluid); collection maintenance and care; data tracking procedures and data entry into the SDNHM Herpetology Collection Database run on the software Specify; high resolution photographic imaging of individual wet specimens, adding photographic metadata, and photographic editing techniques in Adobe Lightroom; uploading bulk images to the Specify database and pushing the images to our collections portals, including the Amphibian and Reptile Atlas of Peninsular California.

Examples of projects to be worked on as part of this program include: general collection maintenance and organization; pickling backlogged accession material; georeferencing individual species locality data; quality control of collecting data; photographing our entire holdings of individual species or counties, or species assemblages from islands in the Gulf of California, or various endangered species.


The apprenticeship program will involve up to 12 hours of work per week over a total period of 20 (twenty) weeks (January 2022 through May 2022). Compensation will be $16.00 per hour.


To be considered for this position, applicants must be full-time students in the final two years of a life science undergraduate degree program (or equivalent).

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.

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

Applicants should submit a cover letter/email, a succinct statement (250-500 words) detailing course work completed and scientific interests, and the names and contact information for two faculty references. Please submit materials to Bradford Hollingsworth (bhollingsworth@sdnhm.org) by December 15, 2021.

Starting Date: As soon as January 15, 2022.

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