Navigation Menu+

Internship: Program Assistant, Youth Programs

Youth Engagement through Science Group Photo


Position Description

The Office of Education and Outreach at the National Museum of Natural History seeks a Program Assistant Intern to assist with the coordination and implementation of two of our youth programs at the museum. The National Museum of Natural History and the Office of Education currently run two youth programs, Youth Engagement through Science and Early Youth Engagement through Science (see below for more information about these programs). The program assistant’s primary role will be to assist the program coordinators in the execution of day-to-day tasks and to provide management of and mentorship to youth participating in our programs. The program assistant will also work on a project to support the development of integrated programming for NMNH youth participants. The position reports directly to the Youth Programs Coordinator and is part of the Education and Outreach staff. Other logistical tasks will be assigned on an as-needed basis and require good organizational skills to meet deadlines.  This position offers a special opportunity to work with youth as a leader and role model for higher achievement in science or cultural studies.

Learning Objectives

  • The intern will enhance program management skills through implementation of an informal education science program in a museum setting.
  • The intern will learn how to engage and mentor a teen audience from diverse communities with interests in science.

A stipend will be awarded for this internship.

Position Duties and Responsibilities

The intern will:

  • Work closely with the Youth Programs Coordinator to see that daily tasks are met to keep the program on schedule.
  • Serve as a group leader, team builder, trainer, educator, and motivator for youth participants
  • Must be able to manage groups of teens, small or large, and see that tasks are being completed.
  • Manage creative services, including production of print and electronic materials and packaging of programs and curriculum.
    • Facilitate and deliver educational programs through a wide variety of teaching methods.
    • Assist in planning, implementing, and evaluating our youth programs.
    • Engage diverse audiences in ways that are inclusive and do not discriminate to ensure full access to programs, facilities and educational services
    • Prepare educational and promotional materials and reports using appropriate technology.
    • Assist with program management functions including developing and maintaining the youth programs database and coordinating program communications.
    • Build, strengthen and sustain trust-based relationships with parents, caretakers and programmatic partners
    • Attend any necessary training sessions and ongoing youth program meetings as needed
    • Perform adjusted or additional duties, as needed

Program Project:

In addition to the above duties, the intern will assist in the development of monthly programing for youth program participants. The purpose of NMNH youth programming is not only to provide youth program participants with experiences related to the core scientific themes of the museum, but to foster a community within the museum and across all youth programs.

The intern will:

  • Conduct benchmarking research to see what is offered at other institutions
  • Decide on appropriate formats for the events ex: scientist talk, documentary and discussion, etc.
  • Work with staff to engage museum scientists and researchers
  • Develop  3 to 6 potential Youth Programs’ Night Events


  • Undergraduate student or graduate student who has completed coursework or is currently enrolled in courses in museum studies, museum education or education and has a background in science or anthropology
  • Experience, ability and interest in working with teens in an informal education setting.
  • Must be able to lead and manage a group of 25 teenagers and 40 pre-teens in a fast paced program
  • Strong verbal, written communication and interpersonal skills
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • An eagerness to learn and the flexibility to work in a large institution
  • Demonstrated self-motivation and ability to work hard
  • Must be able to work occasional evenings
  • Must be proficient in Microsoft office products and preferably (not required) have some background in graphic design, photography, and photo management.
  • Knowledge of youth development strategies and prior experience in a mentoring role a plus.
  • Bilingual preferred.

Program Overviews:

Youth Engagement through Science

Youth Engagement through Science (YES!) is a 16-week internship program, based at the National Museum of Natural History, which engages high school students ages [14-17] from the Washington DC region. Six weeks during the summer, students work with Smithsonian research scientists and science staff through behind-the-scenes internships while learning how to communicate and interact with the public. Students will be assigned to different mentors throughout four Smithsonian sites, including: National Museum of Natural History, National Zoo, Smithsonian Gardens, and the National Air and Space Museum. Other activities, such as field trips, tours and roundtable discussions, are planned for the students to help enrich their experience at the Smithsonian while helping to cultivate our next generation of scientists.  In the fall, students return to the program to receive college preparation courses on Saturdays, which include local college tours. As an integrated component to the program, a community outreach project is developed by each student to reach out to their peers about their experience in our program.

Early Youth Engagement through Science

The Early Youth Engagement through Science (EYES) program is an exciting and interactive 5-day program for middle-school students in grades 6-8 from the Washington, D.C. region. Participants are immersed in Smithsonian science through behind-the-scene tours, field trips, conversations with scientists, and fun activities. The experience culminates with a creative student project shared with family and friends. We offer two opportunities in August to participate in the program and accept 40 students through an application-based process. There is no cost to participate in the EYES program.

How to Apply: Please send a cover letter, Resume, one Letter of Recommendation and a college transcript to:

Attn: Youth Programs
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History
Office of Education & Outreach
PO Box 37012, MRC 158
Washington DC, 20013

Or email packet to: youthnmnh@si.edu. Qualified candidates will be contacted to schedule an interview.

Schedule Commitment:  Intern must be available to work full-time, 40hrs a week from June 2, 2014 to August 29, 2014 with a possible extension in the fall.

Contact:  Elio Cruz, Youth Programs Coordinator, email: cruze@si.edu, phone: 202-633-4588