YES! Youth Engagement through Science

2015 intern prepares DNA samples for sequencing. Photo by Adrian Van Allen2015 intern prepares DNA samples for sequencing. Photo by Adrian Van Allen

Program Description:

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and Global Genome Initiative are committed to increasing opportunities in biodiversity research for interested students in under-represented communities. The Youth Engagement through Science (YES!) program is a multi-year trajectory designed to help participants build their science and communication skills, explore careers in science by working side by side with scientists, and prepare for the next step in their education through a college preparation course. The YES! 2.0- Global Genome Initiative experience builds on the knowledge and skills acquired through the first year of the YES! 1.0 Program by adding hands-on experiences working with DNA in the Museum’s genomics laboratory and doing independent research projects using the technology of genomic science.

Program Components:

Summer Session: 7 weeks, June – August

During the first two weeks, interns participate in a Genomics Boot Camp learning skills such as pipetting, running gels, DNA extraction, amplification, DNA sequencing reactions, library preparation for genomic analyses, and other lab protocols to pursue a team-based research project with Smithsonian Global Genome Initiative scientists and collaborators. They participate in multi-institutional, collaborative research projects, and receive in-depth lectures and live chat discussions from local, remote, and even international scholars. The students also participate in discussions about the methods they are using and other genomic applications in evolutionary biology. Following Boot Camp, interns transition to independent, mentored research projects in biodiversity genetics and genomics. Throughout the summer interns also visit other local research institutions such as the National Zoo's Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Systematic Entomology Laboratory at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  In addition to research experience, the interns receive training and mentoring in scientific writing and presentations skills and in communicating their research to public audiences.  The summer culminates in a Community Day experience in which interns share their research from Boot Camp and their mentored research experiences to their families, friends, and museum visitors.

Fall Session: 6 weeks, September - October (Saturdays only)

Interns will engage in college preparation activities (optional) and will work on developing a TED-like presentation about their science experience in the YES! 2.0 program. Between October – December interns will give their presentations to their school community and peers.

Yes! Projects

Yes! Internship Opportunities