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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Program Components

We are currently accepting applications for the 2014 program.


Do I have to live in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area in order to apply?
Yes, you must currently reside in the DC metro area and be enrolled in a local high school.

I spend my summers with extended family in the District, Maryland or Virginia; am I eligible to apply?
You must be a resident of the DC area to apply. The YES! program is designed to provide opportunities for students in our local community.

Is there an application process?
Yes! Please see our application/requirements section for details on how to apply to our program.

Who can apply?
Anyone who meets the requirements is eligible to apply.
Applicants must:

  • Be students who are currently enrolled in 9th through 11th grade who live in the Washington, DC metropolitan region.
  • Be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.
  • Attend a local high school (public or private) in the Washington, DC, metropolitan region (DC, MD or VA).
  • Be in good academic standing.
  • Participate in both the summer and fall sessions of the program.
  • Be interested in science or cultural studies as a potential career path.

How are students selected for the program? I think I have enough qualifications to consider myself a top candidate.

We require a lot of input from our applicants in the form of application surveys, transcripts, essays, references, and recommendations. Our Review Committee assesses all the input from the applicants and ranks students according to specific criteria. This process requires two rounds of reviews, based on the number of applications. The committee selects approximately 30% of the applicant pool in the first round; the final selection is made after these applicants are interviewed by the YES! Program staff.

I am currently a senior in high school; can I apply?
Sorry – right now, the program is open only to students who are currently in 9th through 11th grade.

I am currently in the eighth grade and will be in ninth grade next year; can I apply?
You must be a current freshman, sophomore or junior in high school in order to apply.

I only want to do the summer internship; is that possible?
If selected for our program, you are required to participate in both sessions. If you cannot take part in the fall session, we must retract your invitation and offer it to another applicant.

Engineering is my forte; do I qualify?
While engineering is important in many types of science and research, no mentors from this discipline are available at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Gardens, National Air and Space Museum, or at the National Zoo. We are a museum of the Natural Sciences and Cultural Studies. Please see our Projects section for the areas of concentration we offer.

I want to study Biology with the hopes of a medical career; can I participate in the program?
As with engineering, medicine is an important scientific discipline, but it is primarily an ”applied” science, and the emphasis at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Gardens, National Air and Space Museum, and the National Zoo is research. We are a museum of the Natural Sciences and Cultural Studies. Please see our Projects section for the areas of concentration we offer.

How much does the program cost?
There is absolutely no cost to participants for this program.

Is there a stipend for the program?
Yes, there is a stipend awarded to students upon completion of the summer and fall sessions.

Is transportation provided to and from the site?
Transportation is not provided; you must arrange your own transportation.

Is food provided?
No, you must bring your own food or be prepared to purchase food onsite at our staff cafeteria.

How many hours per week is YES!?

Thirty to forty hours per week for the summer session. Our summer session runs Monday through Friday; students should expect a full day’s worth of activities. We start our day at 9:00 am and conclude by 4:00 pm.
Five to six hours per week for the fall session.  Our fall session occurs on Saturdays with students taking part in college preparatory classes in the morning and public engagement activities in the afternoon.
What does a typical day look like as a part of the program?

The summer session consists of:

  • Internship projects
  • Communication training
  • Diversity training
  • Public Interpretation
  • Field Trips
  • Behind-the-scenes tours
  • Guest speakers
These components are integrated into our program schedule throughout the course of the six weeks.  

The fall session consists of:
  • College Preparation - mornings
  • Public Interpretation - afternoons

Contact Information:

Youth Programs Staff at:, 202-633-4588



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