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The Q? Blog

My Summer at the Museum as a 'Bug Guy'

by Manuel -- Aug 6, 2014

My name is Manuel. I currently go to high school in Washington, D.C. My favorite subject in school is biology. I have always enjoyed studying life, and...

YES! intern Manuel holds an Atlas moth pupa behind the scenes at the O. Orkin Insect Zoo. Photo by Smithsonian Institution.
YES! intern Manuel holds an Atlas moth pupa behind the scenes at the O. Orkin Insect Zoo. Photo by Smithsonian Institution.

You might think scientists are boring, nerdy, and quiet, but at the YES! Program (Youth Engagement Through Science) high schoolers learn the truth. That's the same lesson I learned.

Going into my first day at the program I was scared but curious. All I knew was that I was going to be working at the O. Orkin Insect Zoo. I was going to be a bug guy.

When I got to the behind-the-scenes lab, I was pleasantly surprised by the other bug people. They were friendly, helpful, and extremely knowledgeable. In 15 quick minutes they were able to explain to me everything they knew about the Atlas moths I was going to be working with.

Atlas moths, the largest moths in the world and native to Asia, were going to be taken care of by a high schooler. I'm responsible for their every need. If they need food, water, or a clean habitat I am the one to help them out.

At the Insect Zoo, I don't just take care of moths; the majority of my time there is spent in the public eye. I work on the Insect Cart holding cockroaches, grasshoppers, caterpillars, stag beetles, millipedes, and the popular leaf insects. I also get to work in the Butterfly Pavilion for free and get to see some of the most amazing animals in the world!

This program has taught me about the the not-so-boring scientists that work at the museum and has given me a once in a lifetime opportunity to work at the Smithsonian.

Categories: YES! Teen Interns