Opportunities at Silent Spring Institute

We are always seeking applications from exceptional individuals who want to be part of our team.


Data Science and Visualization Developer
Internship in Outreach and Special Events
Senior Scientist


Silent Spring Institute is a non-profit research organization dedicated to identifying—and changing—the links between the environment and women's health, especially breast cancer. We are a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in epidemiology, toxicology, chemistry, GIS, community-based research, and communications. Annual budget of approximately $1.8 million supports a staff of 13, working with collaborating investigators at Harvard, Brown, UC Berkeley etc., and activists at Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, Hurricane Voices, Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow and nationally. Research focuses on breast cancer and environmental pollutants, especially endocrine disrupting compounds and animal mammary gland carcinogens, and path-breaking studies of household exposures. This is an opportunity to be part of a nationally recognized, innovative, mission-driven team.

Data Science and Visualization Developer

Location: Newton (Metro-Boston)
Full time, excellent benefits

Mission Statement: Help Silent Spring Institute make our science intelligible to everyone through interactive web and mobile applications.


We’re looking for a developer to lead our efforts to communicate our findings.

We’re relentlessly asking tough questions about the chemicals that are increasingly a part of the products we buy -- see http://bit.ly/RIcdra, http://nyti.ms/U8YrxF. You’ll be there with us, helping us communicate our findings to make healthier homes, more informed consumers, and cleaner communities.  This means data wrangling, automated reporting, and interactive visualization using web-based technologies (and eventually mobile). You would initially work on some of our ongoing projects, but will contribute to the development of new projects in the future.

For one of our scientific studies, we took readings of chemical levels in people’s environments and their bodies. For your first project, you’ll help us turn numbers into messages that the people themselves can understand in an interactive, web-based visualization.

Additional opportunities include working with R or ArcGIS (and learning them if you don’t already know them) to finish development of an R package for environmental health data, creating computational systems to assess privacy risks in environmental health data, and leading further development of our MassHEIS site. You could also contribute to the ongoing development of a mobile app to help people make informed decisions about reducing toxics in their homes.


  • web app development. You can implement a design using web technologies (CSS, HTML, and Javascript), ideally both desktop and mobile.
  • data visualization. You can make intelligible custom graphs and charts, using tools like d3.
  • client and server: You know or are learning your technology options (Rails, Django, node.js, PHP, etc., Bootstrap, Stylus, Backbone, etc.), and can make informed decisions.
  • data management and statistical analyses: Ideally, you’ll be familiar with R or a similar tool, or be willing to learn.
  • experience with interaction design is a definite plus.
  • good software engineering habits: source control, testing, reusability, documentation, etc.

You’ll need to be able to work with diverse technical and non-technical colleagues. As the primary software person on our team, you’ll need to demonstrate considerable autonomy and versatility.

More about us
Our 16-person multi-disciplinary team includes expertise in toxicology, exposure science, epidemiology, and community-based participatory research.  We collaborate with computer scientists and other scientists at Harvard, UC Berkeley, US Centers for Disease Control and elsewhere.  We publish in peer-reviewed journals and are often in the news (http://bit.ly/RIcdra,http://nyti.ms/U8YrxF).  We are celebrating our 20th anniversary year!

Compensation:  This is a full time position.  We offer competitive salaries, 4 weeks vacation to start plus holidays, health insurance, and other benefits.

To apply: Send a cover letter and resume to careers@silentspring.org. If you don’t have significant work experience yet, please also include a copy of your academic transcript (photocopy is fine).


We seek applicants with skills and interests in environmental health science and policy and non-profit management.

Responsibilities will be tailored to the skills and interests of the applicant. Each intern will work directly as an assistant to a supervising staff member, and interns are encouraged to develop an independent project to be completed during the internship as well. Responsibilities may include literature searches, interviewing, environmental sampling, data management, and writing, among other possibilities. Undergraduate and masters level interns are expected to spend approximately 20% of their time on office support tasks (telephones, etc.). Interns are expected to maintain regular work hours, with some flexibility to accommodate major assignments and exams.

Examples of previous and projected intern activities:

  • Identify from chemical engineering references the consumer products that are likely sources of exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds
  • Using GIS, map likely air pollutant exposures on Cape Cod
  • Assist in developing web site capabilities and content
  • Help maintain and expand the Institute’s 6,000-item special library
  • Using interviews and published literature, identify the best models of community based participatory research
  • Interview breast cancer activists about environmental attitudes

Requirements: Excellent academic record. Chemistry, biology, statistics coursework an asset for research interns. Energetic, flexible, constructive outlook. Excellent attention to accuracy, ability to work independently within a multidisciplinary team. Commitment to careful and impartial research in a context of partnership between scientists and the public.

To apply, send cover letter describing your interests and experience related to this internship, resume, writing sample, and copy of academic transcript (photocopy is fine) to Diane Czwakiel, Administrative Manager, Silent Spring Institute, 29 Crafts Street, Newton, MA 02458, or email to careers@silentspring.org with 'Internships' in the subject line. Please designate the time period you are interested in.

Senior Scientist

Senior scientist applicants should expect to develop and lead an independent research program within our mission. Our scientists publish in high-impact scientific journals, compete for federal grants, and participate in scientific conferences. We collaborate with researchers at Brown, Harvard, and Tufts, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, University of Southern California, USGS, and CDC. Senior scientists are supported by outstanding research assistants and access to funds for pilot studies and proposal development. Click here for publications by Silent Spring Institute researchers.

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition/Silent Spring Institute
Lead Intern in Special Events and Outreach

This position assists with oversight of other interns and projects for each of the organizations. Publicizing and preparing for the annual Against the Tide fundraising event will be the main task involving MBCC. Engaging in additional projects and supporting the two organizations will also be part of the internship. This position involves frequent communication with Cheryl Osimo, MBCC/SSI Event and Outreach Coordinator. Responsibilities include contacting media outlets throughout Massachusetts with press releases and feature news stories covering the Against the Tide events.

Tasks can be completed from school or home, as Internet and telephone will be the primary communication tools needed for assignments. Thus, the flexibility of the position is substantial, with minimal travel except for on-site assistance required the day before and day of the 2013 Against the Tide Swim/Walk/Run/Kayak events held in June at DCR's Hopkinton State Park in Hopkinton, MA, and in August at DCR's Nickerson State Park in Brewster, MA. It may be necessary to attend other events that are not yet on our calendar. Interested students must commit to one of the two intern opportunities: 1. February 2013 - July 2013, or 2. May 2013 - September 2013. While the position is unpaid, many institutions offer students credit or stipends to cover expenses.

Job Responsibilities May Include:

  • Assisting Cheryl Osimo with oversight of other interns.
  • Interviewing Against the Tide event participants. This responsibility requires phone and/or email contact with those who have been touched by breast cancer. Phone interviews are critical for obtaining information used in press releases and media coverage. In some instances it will be necessary to interview participants in person.
  • Preparing press releases for newspaper, radio, and television coverage, as appropriate, and emailing and/or faxing to media outlets. This includes follow-up calls and providing additional information when necessary.
  • Initiating contact with local community businesses, health facilities, and individuals to encourage community sponsorship and individual and team participation.
  • Posting event materials including posters and mailers in various locations. This responsibility includes targeting high traffic locations that will increase event participation.
  • Assisting with preparation the day before and the day of an event. This may include inflating buoys, marking the walk trail, contacting event vendors, and various other duties.
  • Promoting various events via social media outlets: Facebook, Blog, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Assisting with programs not yet on our calendar.

This position requires access to a computer and telephone. Critical skills include ability to work independently and manage multiple tasks, excellent communication skills, concise and clear writing abilities, and proficiency with Microsoft Office, particularly Word and Excel document preparation. Organizational skills are necessary to manage a high volume of emails, documents, event information, and contacts. The position also necessitates an ability to conduct interviews with compassion, sensitivity, and tact.

For more information, please contact Cheryl Osimo, MBCC/SSI Event and Outreach Coordinator, at 508-246-3047 or cherylosimo@comcast.net. Please state which time frame you are interested in along with a cover letter and resume.

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