Closed: Job Opportunity: Minnesota Sea Grant Communications Data Associate

This position has been filled.

DULUTH, Minn. — We're a small and very busy communications team looking for another dedicated science communicator with exceptional communication and data skills to join us.

Image credits: Left to right, Don Schreiner, M. Thoms, MNPCA, MNSG, M. Thoms, M. Thoms.

Quick Link

Applications must be submitted online. To apply for this position, go to  and search for job opening 349252. 

Who We Are

Minnesota Sea Grant is one of 34 federal-university Sea Grant partnership programs in the United States. Our extension educators, communicators, and researchers conduct outreach, education, communication, and research that addresses the most urgent Great Lakes, coastal, and riparian needs in Minnesota. Our work is concentrated in the following programs: 

  1. Healthy Coastal Ecosystems
  2. Community Resilience
  3. Fisheries and Aquaculture
  4. Educator Resources
  5. Maritime and Hazmat Transport
  6. Research
  7. Fellowships and Internships

Position Description

The Minnesota Sea Grant Communications Data Associate is a full-time (40 hours-per-week), 12- month staff position with the University of Minnesota Sea Grant College Program (MNSG) and reports to the MNSG Communications Manager. The MNSG Comms Data Associate is responsible for:

  1. Google analytics for websites managed by MNSG.
  2. Analytics for MNSG’s social media platforms.
  3. Coordination and maintenance of MNSG’s customer contact list/database. 
  4. Coordination, maintenance, distribution, and reporting for MNSG’s email customer relations management software (e.g., MailChimp). 
  5. Collection, coordination, reporting, and visualization of activity data resulting from the programs, products, and services of MNSG staff. 
  6. Helping communications staff with website content updates

Position Duties

(30%) Data collection, coordination, reporting, and visualization.

  1. Collect, assemble, and coordinate program and project-specific data from MNSG staff and supported researchers on a regular basis (e.g., monthly, quarterly, annually) as directed by the communications manager via eSeaGrant, spreadsheets, or other means.
  2. Produce reports summarizing collected data that turn numerical data into accessible, practical information that can be used to inform the best way to proceed with a project or program.
  3. Assist with the design of digital and accessible surveys, outreach materials and other tools used for data acquisition as directed by the communications manager.
  4. Assist with the transformation of resulting information such as stakeholder reviews and feedback into information that managers can use to develop strategic and tactical plans. Assist with the use, maintenance, and design of stable, reliable and effective spreadsheets, databases, and other platforms (to include eSeaGrant) to track, compile, analyze, and maintain MNSG datasets as directed by the communications manager.

(20%) Google analytics set up, maintenance, monthly/quarterly reporting (for communications management, PIER reporting, federal site review, specific project reporting requirements), and analysis.

(20%) Data visualization for web, social, reporting, and presentations.

  1. Assemble data from MNSG staff and MNSG-supported researchers.
  2. Assist with the design of stable, reliable and effective spreadsheets and databases to track, compile, analyze and maintain MNSG datasets.
  3. Assist the communications manager to develop specifications, design and implement data processing workflows and applications.
  4. Produce digital and accessible charts, graphs, slides and slide decks, and other presentation formats and data-driven content from collected data for websites, social media, reports, presentations, and educational materials as directed by the communications manager.
  5. Identifying and managing data feeds for web applications. Contribute and collaborate toward designing web applications.
  6. Perform data management related to MNSG communications, outreach, and research program activity; ecological monitoring programs and buoy systems. Assist with visualization, analyses, and quality control.

(10%) Web content updates.

  1. Process website update submissions, review, verify, spell-check, fact-check, obtain approval when necessary, and post to the appropriate website(s).
  2. Participate in recurring website page reviews (monthly, quarterly), note content that is outdated, incorrect, should be removed, etc., and help comms staff with updates and removal as requested.

(7.5%) Social media analytics set up, maintenance, monthly/quarterly/annual reporting, and analysis.

  1. Twitter
  2. Facebook
  3. YouTube

(7.5%) Email platform coordination, maintenance, distribution, and reporting.

  1. Prepare, coordinate, and maintain email platform templates, campaigns, automations, and integrations using MailChimp (or other email platform(s)) for MNSG monthly program and project-specific newsletters and communications as directed by the communications manager.
  2. Regularly review available email (CRM) platforms to assess if MNSG should change platforms to better reach target audiences and/or better track and assess email effectiveness.
  3. Ensure relevant and requested program, project, and activity data are added to newsletters and other communications.

(5%) Contact email list coordination and maintenance.

  1. Ensure that MNSG’s email lists are accurate, up to date, and maintained.
  2. Ensure that MNSG’s emails lists are searchable, sortable, segmentable (i.e., segmentable fields are fields that can be used to separate out and identify which subscribers to target with an email or newsletter).
  3. Respond to email bounces (soft and hard), unsubscribes, and related issues.
  4. Work with the communications team, MNSG Director, and program and/or project leads to collect, update, manage, review, and create new program and project-specific lists as directed by the communications manager.

Working Location 

This position is located at the University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program offices on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus. There is occasional travel during non-business and weekends. This position may be a combination of in-office work and remote work with a minimum expectation of at least one to two days per week in the office.


Minimum Requirements/Qualifications 

Bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree in communication(s), journalism, marketing, art (digital graphic design), or related field or four years of combined equivalent education and experience.

Preferred Requirements/Qualifications
  1. Bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree in science communication, visual arts, English, public relations, or science.
  2. Familiarity with and ability to consistently use Associated Press style.
  3. Excellent writing and editing skills.
  4. One (1) year of post-college experience as a writer, editor, reporter, graphic artist, communication specialist, multimedia specialist, or similar role in which excellent writing skills were evident.
  5. Evidence of ability to accurately interpret and summarize technical, specialized or complex information for public understanding.
  6. Experience writing about science and research for non-academic audiences.
  7. Experience using Adobe Creative Cloud programs (e.g., InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.).
  8. Familiarity with and interest in freshwater topics, particularly the Great Lakes.

Minnesota Sea Grant is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sea Grant Program, which supports 33 similar programs in coastal states throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. It receives funding through the NOAA – Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the University of Minnesota. The Program partners with local, regional and national organizations and is an integral member of the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network.

Benefits Working at the University

At the University of Minnesota, you’ll find a flexible work environment and supportive colleagues who are interested in lifelong learning. We prioritize work-life balance, allowing you to invest in the future of your career and in your life outside of work. The University also offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes:

  • Competitive wages, paid holidays, and generous time off
  • Continuous learning opportunities through professional training and degree-seeking programs supported by the Regents Scholarship
  • Low-cost medical, dental, and pharmacy plans
  • Healthcare and dependent care flexible spending accounts
  • University HSA contributions
  • Disability and employer-paid life insurance
  • Employee wellbeing program
  • Excellent retirement plans with employer contribution
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) opportunity
  • Financial counseling services Employee Assistance Program with eight sessions of counseling at no cost

Please visit the Office of Human Resources website for more information regarding benefits.

How To Apply

Job Open Date: 07/19/2022
Job Closing Date: 09/19/2022

Applications must be submitted online. To apply for this position, go to  and search for job opening 349252. You will be given the opportunity to complete an online application and attach a resume and cover letter.

Additional documents may be attached after submitting your application by accessing your "My Activities" page and uploading documents there.

Complete applications must include:

  1. A resume or curriculum vitae
  2. A cover letter indicating how your qualifications and experience have prepared you for this position
  3. You are required to submit the names of at least three (3) professional references including an email address and telephone number for each.
  4. A diversity statement that addresses your professional skills, experience and/or willingness to engage in activities that would enhance Minnesota Sea Grant's diversity and equity efforts.
  5. During the interview, finalists will be given time to complete a writing, editing, and/or data visualization assignment.

First submit the application with cover letter and CV/resume. Then return to the “My Activities” page to attach the additional documents.

Email application procedure questions to

To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647). If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact a University of Minnesota Access Consultant at 612-624-3316.

If you have started receiving retirement annuity payments from the Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS) or Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) your eligibility for this position may be impacted. Please contact OHR Benefits at 1-800-756-2363 for more information. Veterans and individuals from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. The University of Minnesota is an Equal Opportunity Educator and Employer.

***Smoking and chewing tobacco and the use of electronic cigarettes is prohibited on all UMD property, including indoor facilities, campus grounds and University vehicles.***

If you have questions about the position contact Marie Thoms at or call 218-726-8710.