Teen Science Scholars

Teen Science Scholars

EXPLORE 
Each year, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science interviews and selects 20 Teen Science Scholars to work as interns within the Science Division.

TSS is intended for high schoolers from underserved and/or underrepresented communities or schools. These internships provide hands-on opportunities to carry out scientific work alongside Museum scientists while exploring opportunities in museum and STEM careers. Scholars also participate in professional development activities, including public speaking, planning for college, and honing skills for joining the workforce. At the end of the summer, Scholars celebrate and present their work and experiences during a Showcase event.

In 2023, 100% of scholars said they would recommend the program to other students. 100% of scholars also reported gaining skills in:

  • Using professional communication
  • Being a productive member of a team
  • Collaborating on projects
  • Seeking out new learning experiences

Teens who come from communities that have been historically underrepresented in the sciences, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds or schools, and/or those who will be the first generation in their family to complete a four-year college degree are strongly encouraged to apply.

DISCOVER 
In previous years, Teen Science Scholars completed internships in archaeology, earth sciences, education collections, health science, ornithology, photography, zoology/genetics, and botany collections. The 2024 focus areas will be posted on this page. Applicants will be asked to rank their top two choices.

Teen Science Scholars is made possible with generous support by the Isenhart Charitable Fund, Robert Zupkus & Janet Burda, The Gateway Fund II, Simpson Family Giving Fund, The Philip & Susan Greenberg Fund, Philip Ferranti, Daniels Fund, and Huntington Bank.

2024 Teen Science Scholar Flyer

2024 Teen Science Scholar Positions

Anthropology Collections & Conservation

Three Teen Science Scholars will have the rare opportunity to participate in the deinstallation of the North American Indian Cultures Hall while working in both the Anthropology and Conservation departments.  Students will learn how DMNS collaborates with tribal nations regarding objects and how the museum cares for artifacts when not on display.  Students will choose two Indigenous objects to deinstall, research, and document in a conservation report. The work may include diving into the Archives to research the objects’ history, documenting the objects with digital photography, using microscopy and an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer to determine what objects are made of, and creating custom housing for the objects. 

Anthropology Collections & Conservation is  ideal for students who are interested in Indigenous cultures, have an interest in working with and caring for artifacts, and enjoy writing and research. This opportunity is also ideal for detail-oriented students who want to combine scientific analysis with an interest in history. This department’s work includes guest speakers and possible field trips. 

Archaeology

Ten Archaeology Teen Science Scholars will tackle dirt and history – literally. Alongside archaeologists, historians, geophysicists, archivists, and community members, scholars will plan, execute, and excavate portions of City Park. Delving into the recent past, scholars will apply archival research and ground-penetrating radar to get an idea of what lies beneath and where to dig. We will share our work actively with the public, school children, city officials, and passersby through exhibit design, website content, and show-and-tell tours. Work will be outside, dirty, fun, hard, and entirely new and innovative. This is research that has never been done before!  

Archaeology is ideal for students who are curious about society and humanity, enjoy detective work, like to get their hands dirty, and can collaborate as part of a team. This department’s schedule includes workday fieldwork and field trips. 

Archives

The DMNS Archives collects, catalogs, preserves, and provides access to the Museum’s administrative, cultural, and scientific history. In the Archives, you’ll find historical treasures such as hand-written field notes from curators, drawings and plans for exhibits, images, and films of research sites and excavations, and old ledgers documenting the Museum’s early collection acquisitions. Archivists describe these materials for researcher discoverability, arrange them in logical order for use, store them for long-term preservation, and digitize items for online access. 

Two Archives Scholars will work with physical and digital records to help make these materials more accessible and better preserved. Interns will learn a range of archival skills, such as metadata creation (e.g. describing photos), processing, digitization, answering researcher questions, and digital asset management.  

Archives is ideal for students who are captivated by old photos and documents, enjoy writing, are tech-savvy, love a good mystery, and want to illuminate the past to inform the present and future! This department’s work includes field trips. 

Digital Research Lab

The Digital Research Lab is excited to work with two Teen Scholars on the digital preparation and visualization of fossils from the Corral Bluffs site in Colorado Springs, which documents the recovery of the first million years after the Cretaceous/Paleogene mass extinction. This fossil-rich site has produced dozens of crocodilian and mammalian fossils, most of which have been digitized through Computed Tomography scanning and surface scanning. Scholars will gain experience working with both imaging methods: 3D modeling from CT scans and generating surface models with the Artec surface scanners. A portion of the internship will also be dedicated to creating publication figures, animations, and 3D prints for science communication and outreach. 

The Digital Lab is ideal for students who are detail-oriented and creative, learn by doing, like learning about new technology, and want to work with fossils! This department’s work includes possible workday fieldwork and field trips. 

Vertebrate Zoology

This summer, Vertebrate Zoology Teen Science Scholars will receive a well-rounded, hands-on experience in working with DMNS’s ornithology (bird) collection. Four members of the Zoology team will work together to mentor and train three scholars in specific tasks needed to take birds of prey that died in the wild and incorporate them into our physical and digital research collection. First, students will be trained in different methods of specimen preparation, including cleaning feathers, preserving skeletons, and dissecting tissue samples. The students will then process tissue samples in the Genetics Lab to see how molecular work aids in the identification of species. Finally, the students will work in the collection preservation spaces learning the various collection management techniques the Museum uses to ensure the long-term care and accessibility of its specimens. Mentors will take scholars on field trips around the Denver area to expand their knowledge of birds, nature, and museum’s roles in science.  

Vertebrate Zoology is ideal for students who are inspired by the natural world, are excited about working with deceased animals, and would like to gain skills in laboratory settings. This is also ideal for students interested in working with animals and/or genetics but unsure of what career paths are available.  This department’s work includes field trips.   

Teen Science Scholar Application

How to Apply to be a Teen Science Scholar

First Time Applicants

  • Please click on the application link and complete the following steps
  • Create an Account
  • Update Your Profile
  • Complete Required Essays

That is all you need to do!

Current Volunteer 
If you are a current DMNS volunteer, please contact [email protected] to have the Teen Science Scholar Checklist added to Your Account.

Applied Last Year 
If you applied to be a Teen Science Scholar in 2023, contact [email protected] to have your account reset. Please avoid creating a new account. We will respond to the request within 48 hours. Please do not create another account.

Important Reminders 

  • In the Essay section, save your progress by entering text in an essay box ("Please share why you have chosen this specific area"). Any boxes checked or other fields you type in will NOT be saved unless you type some text in an essay box.
  • Complete all steps; incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • If you are selected for an interview, you will receive an email with instructions on scheduling a date and time after Monday, March 11. Interviews will likely take place beginning Tuesday, March 12 – Friday, March 22. Please check your email regularly and respond promptly.

Questions? 
Contact [email protected]

Read Full Description

Applications will be reviewed and individuals will be notified in early March for interviews that will take place in mid-March.

All applicants will receive a response no later than mid-April. A representative from Teen Science Scholars will connect directly with a scholar's parent/guardian/caretaker to share details, expectations, and answer questions in mid to late April.

2024 Teen Science Scholars will receive a $1,700 stipend paid in two installments. Stipends are not used as compensation but to offset expenses during the internship. All interns will receive daily lunch vouchers for DMNS's cafeteria. 

All materials and supplies are provided by the Museum, including any transportation for field trips or fieldwork. If field work is involved, all supplies, meals, and expenses will be covered.

 

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

The Museum does not provide housing for this program. RTD is free for all riders under 19 years of age through summer 2024, and interns are strongly encouraged to take advantage of that offer.

As long as you are eligible for the program, you can apply for 2024. Please contact us at [email protected] to have your account reset. We kindly request that you do not create a new account.

The schedule will be Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. –3 p.m., but exact start and end times will vary by department. Field trips or fieldwork may occur outside normal business hours. You will be informed of the department-specific schedule during your interview. The internship will run June 10 - July 25, 2024, excluding July 1 - July 5.

Fieldwork refers to multi-hour or multi-day research experiences, sometimes conducted in offsite locations, with scientists and other researchers. It can include physically demanding tasks and being away from the Museum for long stretches of time. Each discipline's description will clearly state whether it will include work-day or multi-day fieldwork. 

  • Multi-day fieldwork might include working outdoors, camping, and being away from the Denver area for several days at a stretch. Scholars will sleep at or near the work site.
  • Workday fieldwork might include commuting from the museum, working outdoors, or conducting outdoor scientific work. Scholars will start and end their day at the Museum.
  • Field trips may include day trips to nearby sites of interest, museums, or other places where research or scientific work may take place. Scholars will start and end their day at the Museum. 

DMNS will host several free online information sessions beginning in December and running through February 2024. Dates and links will be posted to this page.

If a student is selected for Teen Science Scholars, a representative will connect directly with a scholar's parent/guardian/caretaker to share details, expectations, and answer questions.

If you are an educator or youth mentor and would like to invite a DMNS staff member to talk to a group of students or educators about Teen Science Scholars, please fill out the interest list form on this page. 

Please reach out to program coordinator Chelsea Barker who can arrange for the use of a DMNS computer once applications become available. 

At this time, all our internships will be offered in English. If a selected student's parent/guardian/caretaker would feel more comfortable conversing in another language, please get in touch with program coordinator Chelsea Barker to arrange translation services. 

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