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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Youth Engagement through Science (YES!), since its inception in 2010, has connected local youth with Smithsonian collections, experts, and training to inspire them to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. This internship experience provides youth from communities traditionally underrepresented in science careers with the resources needed to help them to achieve their ultimate goal of attending college. During six weeks in the summer, students who participate in YES! work side-by-side with Smithsonian researchers and educators behind the scenes and away from the public areas of the museum. Interns are given the unique opportunity to work in the Museum’s vast research collections – seeing rare objects and specimens including meteorites, mummies and mammoth skulls!

YES! interns acquire valuable technological skills and enhance their written and verbal communication abilities through guided workshops. Working with Museum educators, they help visitors experience the Museum in interactive ways. For example, in past years, our interns helped visitors become familiar with the tools of a forensic anthropologist by examining specimens from Museum teaching collections; engaged visitors with the fascinating live inhabitants of the Insect Zoo; and interacted with younger visitors in the Museum’s hands-on Discovery Room.

In early fall, interns rejoin us for a ten-week college preparatory program that rounds out the third component of our program. Students will be guided through the college application and orientation process in sessions covering an array of topics.  Interns also benefit from tours of local colleges to help them prepare for their pursuit of higher learning.  To continue refining their communication skills, students will resume their rotations in the exhibit halls presenting cart activities to visitors as well.

The Youth Engagement through Science program aims to form a bridge between the Smithsonian Institution and students interested in STEM careers by providing new avenues for them to understand and participate in scientific pursuits at the next level.

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