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The Q? Blog

My Journey to Becoming a Paleontologist

by Aldair -- Jul 8, 2014
Aldair, a YES! intern

My name is Aldair. I attend high school in Washington, D.C. My favorite subjects are literature and science. In college I would like to study paleontology,...

YES! interns Aldair (left) and Maria take the fossil cart through the museum. Photo by Smithsonian Institution.
YES! interns Aldair (left) and Maria take the fossil cart through the museum. Photo by Smithsonian Institution.

Many students in high school apply to the YES! program, but only a few are given the opportunity to enter. When I first heard of the YES! program, I was told that it was being held in a Smithsonian museum and it revolved around science. The word science is what caught my attention. I am interested in studying paleontology and I believe this program is the first step to achieving my goal.

One among many things that I am excited about is working with bones and fossils. While I am just an intern, I still have the privileges of working like a real scientist. I never thought I would have a chance to see what is in store for my future through actual experience. It also prepares me for the career(s) I plan to follow.

I've already learned that while we have great responsibilities, we get to have fun too! Working with specimens is fun on its own, but the adults that watch over us attempt to create adventures for the interns to go through. Through scavenger hunts, missions, and field trips, we learn a little more about everything through exploring museums.

I hope to learn how to properly analyze and study bones and fossils during my internship with Graham Slater. To be a paleontologist, I need to know many skills before I can even dream of joining the field. I also hope to learn how to be careful and thoughtful about the things I am allowed to hold with my bare hands, such as skulls and bones of wolves. 

Categories: YES! Teen Interns