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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Program Components


Youth Engagement through Science (YES!) is a 16-week program:

  1. Six-week Summer internship – Monday – Friday, June 23rd to August 1st, 2014
  2. Ten-week Fall College Preparatory Program – Saturdays, September 13th to November 15th, 2014

Summer Program Components
Component 1: Career Immersion

  • Science Internship. Through an 80-contact-hour internship, students learn the skills of performing research and understanding the context for their work from experts. Each intern will work on an individual project with a Smithsonian scientist-mentor at the National Museum of Natural History, the National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Gardens, and the National Air and Space Museum.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Tours, Field Trips, and Guest Speakers. As part of the YES! program, interns experience the vast scope of the Smithsonian Institution during field trips to some of the Institution’s museums and research centers in the area. In addition, guest speakers from our science community talk with our students about their work in their respective fields.

Component 2: Communicating Science.Community Leadership is key to sustaining students’ interest in their work and to sustaining relationships between students, their communities, and the Smithsonian. Interns engage in interactive workshops covering various skills, including oral and written communication and research presentation. Participants are provided with guidelines and opportunities to communicate and make presentations as real-world professionals.

  • Communicating Science to Public Audiences:Interns work with the Museum’s Education and Outreach staff and volunteers to learn how science is communicated to the public. Interns engage in hands-on experiences in NMNH’s exhibits, including Mammals, Human Origins, Gems & Minerals, and Paleobiology, as well as learning spaces such as the Insect Zoo & Butterfly Pavilion, Forensic Anthropology Lab, and Discovery Room.
  • Broader Social Impacts Roundtable: Roundtables are weekly 2-hour discussions on the interplay of science and public policy and the relevance of students’ projects for scientific and public value.
  • Cross-Cultural Communication Experience: Interns will receive training in cross-cultural communication and then practice what they have learned with rotations in the exhibit halls as volunteers working with museum visitors.
  • Community Day: During the last week of the summer program, the interns use their newly acquired skills in communicating science to present the results of the projects they worked on with their scientist–mentors. This science fair-style event allows the Smithsonian community to view the students projects and learn more about their summer experience.

Fall Program Components
Component 1: College Preparation. During the fall, students participate in college preparation activities:

  • Practical College Preparation Course: NMNH collaborates with the Center for Minority Advancement in Science and Technology (CMAST), a community-based college preparation provider. Students improve reading, writing, and mathematical skills. Workshop topics include preparation for entrance exams, selecting a college or university, selecting a major, financial aid, and writing college-entrance essays. 
  • College Visits: On two Saturdays, students visit colleges in the Washington, DC, area to talk with admissions counselors, meet current students, and explore campuses.

Component 2: Community Leadership and Engagement. For Community Leadership and Engagement, participants can become ambassadors through one of two tracks below: Scientific Research or Science Communication –

  • Scientific Research: Leading Peers in Citizen Research. Interns will design and lead a workshop for their peers to access NMNH collections onsite or digitally to explore research questions related to core natural history content and skills.
  • Science Communication:Interns will research and design a conversation about current science relevant to their lives, their futures, and the future of the Earth, and delivering it via distance learning technology to classrooms across the country.

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