Teen Science Scholars

Teen Science Scholars

Teen Science Scholars complete hands-on summer internships with Science Division staff at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Teen interns strengthen their investigative and communication skills, develop a peer network of students from across the state of Colorado, and share their work and experiences during a Showcase event at the end of the summer. To be eligible, applicants must be entering their junior or senior year of high school in the fall of 2022, be interested in learning more about a science-related career and be available for the duration of the internship (early June through the end of July). Teens from groups that have been historically marginalized from the sciences and individuals who will be the first generation in their family to complete a four-year college degree are strongly encouraged to apply

Teen Science Scholars receive a monthly stipend, bus passes, and Museum cafeteria vouchers to offset cost-of-living expenses during their internship. Transportation and supplies for fieldwork are provided by the Museum.

Teen Science Scholars is made possible with support from the Harvey Family Foundation, the Gateway Fund II of The Denver Foundation, the Paul and Harriet Rosen Teen Science Scholars Endowment, Dr. Paul & Mrs. Harriet Rosen, Marx-Stark Family Foundation, Robert Walker & Cristy Godwin, Phillip & Susan Greenberg, John G. Duncan Charitable Trust, Robert Zupkus & Janet Burda, Jon & Roxanne Isenhart, and Lael Moe & Cathy Fennelly, among other donors, and Dr. Richard Stucky, who was instrumental in founding the program.

To learn more about each position click on the position headings below. There is a Teen Science Scholar Information Session scheduled for February 17. To register click on the registration link below.  

Application Deadline is Monday, March 7, 2022

Teen Science Scholar Information Session
Monday, February 17, 2022 6 p.m.

Registration Link 

Teen Science Scholar Flyer English 

Teen Science Scholar Flyer Spanish



Teen Science Scholars

Anthropology Scholar

Forty years ago, archaeologists excavated 10,000-year-old bison bones in northern Colorado, and 1200-year-old houses on a bluff in New Mexico, put the artifacts in boxes, and never finished studying them. DMNS is set to unleash science on these rich windows into the past with the help of TSS. For the Ice Age megafauna kill site, known as Jones-Miller, students will have the chance to pick through ancient sediments to recover important clues as to how these bison met their end. To better understand life in ancient New Mexico, students will examine the artifacts left behind in the households of hundreds of people who lived at the crossroads of the ancient Southwest.

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Arachnology and Entomology Scholar

The Entomology and Arachnology Collections at the Museum are looking for two motivated Teen Science Scholars to help sort and curate arthropod specimens collected at various sites in the western United States. These interns will learn: 

  • How to identify different groups of arthropods, sorting specimens into different insect orders.
  • How to curate and preserve various types of arthropods including whether preservation should be in alcohol or pinned and, if the latter, how each different type of insect is pinned.
  • How to create data labels that are critical for long-term curation and to ensure that specimens are useful to science.

Scholars will write summary reports of the arthropods identified from each field site. The curator of the DMNS entomology collection, Dr. Frank Krell, and the curator of the DMNS arachnology collection, Dr. Paula Cushing, will co-mentor these students. We are looking for individuals who are interested in insects, arachnids, and other types of creepy crawlies. Scholars should show keen attention to detail.

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Conservation Scholar

What is conservation? 

Conservation is the discipline of long-term preservation of material cultural heritage, which includes fine art objects, ethnographic items, and archaeological artifacts. The main activities involved in conservation are documentation, examination, research, preventive care, and treatment. For more information about conservation, visit the American Institute for Conservation’s website: https://www.culturalheritage.org/about-conservation/what-is-conservation. 

In the Avenir Conservation Center, we are currently conducting a condition survey of over 700 Native American items from the Northwest Coast Collection. This project involves collaboration with source communities. The purpose of the condition survey is to learn more about these objects (materials, manufacturing techniques) and determine which objects are most in need of future conservation stabilization. In addition to being introduced to the discipline of conservation, Teen Science Scholars will assist in the documentation and examination of these items. This will include photographing and handling the items, examining them under magnification, and recording observations related to their deterioration.   

In addition, the Avenir Conservation Center is working to preserve 130,000-70,000-year-old conifer cones that were excavated from the Ziegler Reservoir site near Snowmass, CO, ten years ago. We are conducting experiments to determine the best method for preserving the cones, using several different chemical solutions. Teen Science Scholars will learn about methods of preserving waterlogged materials and will assist in the preservation and documentation of the experimental cones and the cleaning, preparation, handling, and documentation of the ancient cones. 

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Geology Scholar

This summer, the Curator of Geology will partner with two Teen Science Scholars to investigate aspects of Colorado geology and paleontology, including distribution of geographic collections data within the Rocky Mountain region, and/or to conduct experiments to assess the impacts of elevation and climate on elasticity. Projects will vary depending on weather, timing, and local logistics. 

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Paleobotany Scholar

This summer the Earth Sciences Department is excited to work with two Teen Scholars to help photograph and analyze a portion of the paleobotanical (fossil plant) collection housed in the Avenir Collections Center. The project's aim is to understand the ecological interactions between plants and insects immediately following the Cretaceous–Paleogene mass extinction. The photographic evidence collected for this study gives us information on how plants and insects, which are the bedrock of this ancient food web, rebound from the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs and gave rise to the age of mammals. Training and mentoring will focus on aspects of paleontological specimen photography, data collection, and curation.

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Paleontology Scholar

This summer the Earth Sciences Department is excited to work with two Teen Scholars to help organize and curate a portion of the Laramidia Project dinosaur collection housed in the Avenir Collections Center. The project will focus on fossils collected from the Late Cretaceous of New Mexico, including horned dinosaurs, tyrannosaurs, duckbilled dinosaurs, and other animals to unravel the ecology of the ancient landmass of Laramidia. The fossils from this region document long-term changes in response to climate, sea level, and mountain building and are part of a long-term research project that has collected fossils from across the Rocky Mountain region. Training and mentoring will focus on aspects of paleontological research, beginning with a basic introduction to collections management, database management, and identification of fossils. In addition, students will assist augmenting the project webpage and will practice science communication by presenting their work to the public during an onsite table event.  Opportunities to learn about the museum behind the scenes, other departmental research and projects, and career-building activities will also be part of the learning experience.  

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Applications will be reviewed and individuals will be notified to schedule an interview no later than March 28. Staff will be reviewing applications March 7 through March 27.

Interviews are scheduled for March 28 to April 8. All applicants will receive a response no later than April 25.

If you are selected as a Teen Science Scholar you will receive a $1,500 stipend. Stipends are not used as compensation but to offset expenses during the internship.

Yes, you can apply to be a Teen Science Scholar. Please keep in mind you must be physically present for your scheduled shifts at the Museum from June 4 to July 28.

The Museum does not provide housing for this program. We provide RTD bus passes to participants during their internship.

As long as you are eligible for the program you can apply in 2022.

This depends on the area you have been selected for. Schedules range from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday to Thursday, or 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday. You will be informed of the schedule during your interview. All participants will take part in professional development workshops on Fridays.

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