YES! Internship Program FAQ

Who can apply?


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

  • Be students who are between the ages of 14 and 19, currently enrolled in 9th through 11th grade and live in the Washington, DC metropolitan region.
  • Be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.
  • Attend a local high school (public, private, independent, or homeschool co-op) 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.

Do I have to live in the Washington, D.C., 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 metro area to apply. The YES! program is designed to provide opportunities for students in our local community.

I am currently a senior in high school; can I apply?


Unfortunately, the program is open only to students who are currently in 9th through 11th grade.

I am currently in the 8th grade and will be in 9th grade next year; can I apply?


You must be a current freshman, sophomore or junior in high school in order to apply.

What are the program dates?

For 2019, the program dates are:

Full time Internship: 6 weeks, Monday through Friday, June 24 - August 2, 2019, 9:00am - 4:00pm

YES! interns will work on science research projects with Smithsonian research scientists and science staff. They will also receive training and mentoring in communication skills and will go on behind-the-scenes tours and field trips to other Smithsonian locations.

Part time Internship: 8 weeks, Saturdays only

August 10 - September 28, 2019, 9:00am - 4:00pm

Interns will participate in college preparation workshops and college visits, and will develop a TED-like presentation about their science experience in the YES! Program. 

Reach 100

Between September 29th and November 1st, YES! interns will participate in a “Reach 100” initiative, where they will be tasked to give their presentations to their school community and peers.

I only want to do the summer internship; is that possible?


If selected for our program, you are required to participate in the full-time summer internship, 8 Saturday sessions in late summer/early fall, plus Reach 100. If you cannot take part in the full program, we must retract your invitation and offer it to another applicant.

Is there an application process?


Yes! To be considered for the YES! Program applicants must submit a completed application. A complete application includes:

  • Application Form    
  • Application Survey 
  • Required Essays 
  • Two Letters of Recommendation 

All application components and instructions are included on the YES! Application PDF which will be available on our website in November. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. 

Who can submit a letter of recommendation on my behalf?

Letters of recommendation should be submitted by teachers, mentors, counselors, and/or community leaders using the Letter of Recommendation Form provided with the YES! Application. We recommend that one letter come from a science teacher. Letters of recommendation should not be submitted by family or friends.

How do I submit my application?

Please submit your application via the email or mail addresses listed on the application. Applications dropped off at the museum will not be accepted.

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 forms, surveys, essays, 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 internal reviews, plus a third interview round with the applicant. Approximately 20 percent of the applicant pool will be invited to the interview round, and final selection is made after these applicants are interviewed by the YES! Program staff.

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. 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 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 $2,500 stipend awarded to students.

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 a.m. and conclude by 4:00 p.m. Our fall session occurs on Saturdays, with the typical day beginning at 9:00 a.m. and concluding at 4:00 p.m., but some days may be longer or shorter due the distance of college visits. Accepted applicants will be provided a detailed program schedule at orientation. 

What does a typical day look like as part of the program?

The summer session consists of:

  • Internship project days
  • Communication training
  • Public interpretation training
  • 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 preparatory classes
  • Science communication classes and filming
  • College visits

Contact Information:

Youth Programs Staff at: youthnmnh@si.edu (link sends email), 202-633-4588