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

Cryptobiotic Condos—How Genomics Helps Monitor Coral Reefs

The following is a blogpost about an expedition sponsored by the Smithsonian's Global Genome Initiative. There’s more to reefs than fishes and coral, far more. In fact, it is estimated fishes and coral make up less than 1% of all reef-associated animal species. The other 99% of reef diversity –...


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Access to taxon and genomic sample information, tools and training to support genomics and bioinformatics research and information and other resources for our current and prospective partners.  


YES! Global Genome Initiative student perparing genomic samples for DNA sequencingYES! Global Genome Initiative student perparing genomic samples for DNA sequencing

Join Us

To learn more about the YES! Global Genome Initiative program, GGI fellowship opportunities, and visiting scientist opportunities, please contact us

GGI will engage the next generation of biodiversity genomic scientists by providing training opportunities through STEM programs, advanced fellowships and visiting scientist opportunities.

Exemplary programs supported by GGI:

Yes! Global Genome Initative: The Next Generation of Genomic Researchers





Inspiring Teenagers

Genomics is increasingly an important part of how the world defines and studies organisms. GGI's push to inspire and train the next generation of genomics researchers is critical.

Open Access Drives Discovery

One of the biggest roadblocks to non-human genomics research is finding information. Do samples exist? What do we know about them? And, most importantly, what are we missing?

The Global Genome Initiative is building a portal that aggregates all this information to accelerate discovery. An ecologist studying elephant conservation in Kenya will have access to the same information as a researcher at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. Each can pursue his own questions.

Training the Next Generation

The Museum has always prepared emerging scientists to investigate life, in all its fascinating forms. The Global Genome Initiative will continue this tradition. We will attract the brightest minds and increase our ability to train pre- and postdoctoral students.


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