Smithsonian Science Education Center Internship Program

The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) works to improve the teaching and learning of science for K-12 students throughout the United States, and ultimately, throughout the world.  It develops innovative new curriculum, conducts Summer Science Academies for Teachers at the Smithsonian museums and labs, and fosters science education leadership among school and community leaders.

*We encourage you to look through our website and learn more about us before you apply. The SSEC is not a physical laboratory and we do not provide any scientific research or museum education internships.

 

SSEC Summer 2019 Interns!

See what some of our amazing interns had to say about working with SSEC this summer. 

 

Douglas M. Lapp Endowment Internship in Education

Image of Douglas M. Lapp, the first Executive Director of the National Science Resources Center, now named the Smithsonian Science Education Center

The Douglas M. Lapp Endowment Internship in Education is funded through an endowed fund in honor of Douglas M. Lapp, the first Executive Director of the National Science Resources Center (NSRC), now named the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC). 

Awardees of the Lapp Endowment Internship are appointed based on a demonstrated interest in the field of science education.                              

Internships are available for graduate students only who are interested in pursuing a career in the communications, marketing, or public relations fields.

For more information about this internship, click here.

 

Smithsonian Science Education Center Internships

 

2021 VIRTUAL INTERNSHIPS

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SSEC will only offer virtual internships for 2021. Students will not be working at SSEC’s location in Washington, DC.

Please read the internship descriptions below and apply if you are interested. Interns will need to be available during the timeframes listed for our time-sensitive projects.

Eligibility for Interns

As there are a wide range of opportunities for learning, SSEC accepts applications from students currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs, as well as high school students (at least 16 years old). The SSEC is actively seeking a diverse applicant pool. All interns must successfully complete a Federal background check before their internship begins.

Application Deadline

SSEC will start accepting applications for 2021 starting on October 17, 2020. The deadline for all applications is December 1, 2020.

Your application must include:
1. Resume or CV
2. Writing Sample
3. Three references from supervisors, teachers, or professors who have observed you in the classroom or workplace.

Application and Selection Process

To apply, go to the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA). You will create an account at this site. After you have created an account, you can begin your application and select your first, second and third choice of program areas of your interest (see program descriptions below). Your application will be automatically submitted from the SOLAA site to SSEC for consideration. Do not send any application materials directly to SSEC!

Your application will be reviewed by the staff at SSEC. You can view your application status in SOLAA at any time. After complete applications have been reviewed, only selected candidates will be contacted by telephone for a phone interview. Please submit your best work for a complete application!

2021 Virtual Internship Descriptions

1. Education Innovation and Research
2. Zero Barriers in STEM Education
3. Diversity in STEM Teaching Workforce
4. STEM Education for Sustainable Development
5. Global Goals Community Research Guides
6. Digital Media Intern

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for SSEC internships?

What is the deadline for applications?

How many internship positions are available?

Is there a stipend?

What are the work hours?

What should I include in my writing sample?

My school requires me to do an internship for graduation. Can I do an internship for credit?

I am an international student.  Can I still apply?

How can I learn more about all Smithsonian Institution internships?

For questions about SSEC internship opportunities, please contact Angela Pritchett, Internship Coordinator, at 202-633-2284 or PritchettA@si.edu.

 

Virtual Internship Descriptions

Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Intern:

Project Description: Intern will work with Smithsonian Science Education Center staff and partners to plan and implement virtual professional development workshops for trainers and teachers participating in the Smithsonian Science for North and South Carolina Classrooms project. These workshops will provide teachers with professional development that supports content–pedagogical knowledge, access to high quality materials (in the form of SSEC-developed curriculum), and school and local community support for science and engineering education.

Learning objectives include:

1. Planning for professional development workshops for grades 3-5 science teachers.
2. Communicating with partners and clients to deliver an event.
3. Developing reports and summaries used in federal grant management.
4. Preparing and managing materials for engineering instruction in a virtual environment.
5. Training adults in inquiry-based instruction and engineering curriculum.

Intern will receive daily instruction, guidance, and follow-up for all tasks assigned. Intern will also get an understanding of why tasks are done and how important their execution will be in order for positive results.

Timeframe: The internship will be completed sometime between February and July 2021, and last for no more than a 10-week period from the start date, as agreed upon by the needs of the SSEC and availability of the intern.

Zero Barriers in STEM Education Intern:

Project Description: Intern will work with Smithsonian Science Education Center staff and partners to plan and implement a virtual education summit for leadership teams, within DC Public School district, participating in the 2021 Zero Barriers in STEM Education Summit. The Summit will provide practitioners in education with supports to develop and implement a logic-model to address a schoolwide area of need related to accessible and inclusive STEM education.

Learning objectives include:

1. Understanding the importance of creating an inclusive culture to ensure robust STEM experiences are accessible to all learners along the continuum of human ability and experience.
2. Using relevant and research-backed information to improve understanding of inclusive and Universal Design practices.
3. Planning for the Zero Barriers in STEM Education Summit and the training of adults in the creation of a logic model in order to effect systemic change.
4. Communicating with partners and summit participants leading up to and during summit.
5. Preparing and managing materials to be utilized in a virtual setting.

Intern will receive daily instruction, guidance, and follow-up for all tasks assigned. Intern will also get an understanding of why tasks are done and how important their execution will be in order for positive results.

Timeframe: The internship will be for 10 weeks starting February 22, 2021 and ending by May 3, 2021. Hours: 25-40 hours per week. We encourage full-time participation.

This would ideally be right before the Diversity Summit and leading up to or during Accessibility Summit.

DEAI in STEM page: https://ssec.si.edu/deai-stem
2019 STEM Diversity Summit: https://ssec.si.edu/STEM-diversity

Diversity in STEM Teaching Workforce Intern:

Project Description: Intern will work with Smithsonian Science Education Center staff and partners to plan and implement a virtual education summit for leadership teams representing schools, districts, and alliances participating in the 2021 STEM Education Summit: Building a Coalition for Attracting and Retaining a Diverse STEM Teaching Workforce. The Summit will provide practitioners in education, at various levels of the education system, with supports to develop and implement a logic-model for recruiting or retaining STEM teachers from underrepresented populations within their respective learning communities.

Learning objectives include:

1. Understanding the impact of underrepresentation of minority populations in STEM education.
2. Using relevant and research-backed information to improve understanding of diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion as it relates to professional opportunities in STEM teaching.
3. Planning for the STEM Education Summit and the training of adults in the creation of a logic model in order to effect systemic change.
4. Communicating with partners and summit participants leading up to and during summit.
5. Preparing and managing materials to be utilized in a virtual setting.

Intern will receive daily instruction, guidance, and follow-up for all tasks assigned. Intern will also get an understanding of why tasks are done and how important their execution will be in order for positive results.

Timeframe: The internship will be for 10 weeks starting February 22, 2021 and ending by May 3, 2021. Hours: 25-40 hours per week. We encourage full-time participation.

This would ideally be right before the Diversity Summit and leading up to or during Accessibility Summit.

DEAI in STEM page: https://ssec.si.edu/deai-stem
2019 STEM Diversity Summit: https://ssec.si.edu/STEM-diversity

STEM Education for Sustainable Development Intern:

Project Description: Intern will work with educators, researchers, staff, SSEC partners, and experts in the field of STEM Education for Sustainable Development (STEM4SD) to support the development and launch of the Smithsonian Science Education Center’s network for STEM4SD and accompanying programs.

Learning objectives include:

1. Gain an understanding of STEM4SD.
2. Gain an understanding of the LASER model for transforming formal science education through strategic planning and professional development, the Global Goals Action Progression (Global GAP) and Sustainability Mindsets, and the services and curriculum offered by the Smithsonian Science Education Center that support this work.
3. Research new resources to supplement both the intern’s and organization’s understandings of STEM4SD, global networks, and global science education.
4. Generate and revise blog posts based on the SSEC’s thought leadership intersecting policy and best practices in global science education.
5. Learn the basics of educational program development and strategic planning including the revision of organizational systems, building strong communication skills, and best practices in partnerships and collaborations.

Intern will receive daily instruction, guidance, and follow-up for all tasks assigned. Intern will also get an understanding of why tasks are done and how important their execution will be in order for positive results.

Timeframe: The internship will be completed sometime between February and July 2021, and last for no more than a 10-week period from the start date, as agreed upon by the needs of the SSEC and availability of the intern.

More information: https://ssec.si.edu/sustainable-development

Global Goals Community Research Guides Intern:

Project Description: Intern will work with Smithsonian Science Education Center curriculum developers to assist in the development of two Smithsonian Science for Global Goals community research guides. Interns will learn how to apply knowledge of science content, research, and pedagogy to assist in developing high-quality resources for teaching and learning.

Learning objectives include:

1. Assisting in the development of community research guides focused on biodiversity or sustainable communities for global audience of students ages 8-17. This task will include writing, editing, and proofreading as part of a team of writers, editors, education specialists and scientists.
2. Researching and understanding the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals along with their accompanying educational goals.
3. Assisting in interviewing subject matter experts about biodiversity and sustainable communities, and translating high-level academic information into student-facing materials.
4. Conducting additional research on biodiversity and sustainable communities.
5. Helping to create case studies to showcase the work of subject matter experts who are collaborating on the community research guides.
6. Helping to incorporate field testing feedback into the curriculum research guides.

Candidates should have strong writing skills, experience/interest in education or curriculum, and the ability to adhere to tight deadlines. Interns will be managed directly by the curriculum writers for Smithsonian Science for Global Goals and will receive feedback and guidance on their writing and other content creation.

Timeframe: The internship will be for 10-15 weeks starting in January 2021 and ending by April 15, 2021 and will require a minimum of 25 hours per week.

Digital Media Intern:

Project Description: Intern will work with the Smithsonian Science Education Center staff and partners to aid in the translation and reformatting of our Science Stories eBooks into Spanish. They will design and implement a working user interface framework for the interactive eBook with features including hyperlinks and popup vocabulary boxes. This person will compile the metadata necessary for publication and contribute to helping submit eBook files to the Apple iBook store. They will participate and share their work with the Digital Media Team and adjust their project based on constructive feedback received there.

Learning objectives include:

1. Coordinating with multiple stakeholders in SSEC to deliver a monetized digital product. 
2. Redesigning and formatting eBooks so that can reach a Spanish speaking audience.
3. Producing high quality digital materials fully prepared for publication.
4. Using Adobe InDesign, to design and apply interactive features to static documents.

Intern will need to be proficient in Spanish and familiar with Adobe Creative Suite.

Timeframe: The internship will be completed sometime between February and July 2021, and last for no more than a 10-week period from the start date, as agreed upon by the needs of the SSEC and availability of the intern.

 

How do I apply for SSEC internships? If you are interested in a position, please go to the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA). You will need to create an account at this site. After you have created an account, you can begin your application, which will be automatically submitted from the SOLAA site to the SSEC for consideration. You will be able to upload the required documents (resume or CV, writing sample, three references from supervisors or teachers) to your application online. You will be notified of your status through SOLAA after your materials have been reviewed.

What is the deadline for applications? Tuesday, December 1, 2020.

How many internship positions are available? We have a limited number of positions available. It’s best to apply before the deadline to be considered.

Is there a stipend? A modest stipend will be provided to interns. Let us know if you need to obtain credit or volunteer service hours.

What are the work hours? A typical work schedule at the SSEC is either from 8:30am - 5:00pm or from 9:00am - 5:30pm Monday through Friday. Our virtual internships can be flexible to fit the student’s schedule. A 25 to 40-hour work week will be permitted. We encourage full-time participation, but we will work with you to accommodate reasonable time commitments.

What should I include in my writing sample? The writing sample is a required component of this application process. We will accept writing samples ranging from personal essays to a paper you wrote in school. Feel free to expand on your previous experience, or even to use a well-thought-out cover letter as your writing sample.

If, however, you are applying for a position that involves technical writing, it might be in your best interest to demonstrate your abilities in that specific writing style. Finally, if you are interested in a graphic design or web position, feel free to request that you be able to substitute a sample of your artwork instead of a writing sample.

My school requires me to do an internship for graduation. Can I do an internship for credit? Some universities, such as The George Washington University, already have established programs with the Smithsonian. In such cases, the transition to an internship for credit should be relatively easy. Where such programs do not exist, we will work with you and your school to determine whether our internship fulfills the requirements for your specific institution.

I am international student. Can I still apply? What do you receive from your school that states you have permission to take an internship? If you have an international advisor at your school, have they been notified by you that you are applying for internships? Does your school have requirements that you must follow before applying for any jobs or internships?

This information is really important, and it will direct our steps in making sure that we can proceed with your application correctly.  Most schools provide students with a CPT - Curricular Practical Training, if you receive an internship. You would be considered eligible to work in the U.S. provided the internship is related to your major/minor. You would then get a letter from your academic advisor and send it to the International Center at your school. They will then process it for you and issue a CPT card to you which will be attached to your I-20 (F-1 Visa). You will only need to show your school's International Center the appointment letter from the SSEC stating you have received an internship. Speak with your international advisor and ask what you need to do before you apply.

How can I learn more about all Smithsonian internship opportunities? For more information about all Smithsonian internships, go to the Office of Fellowships and Internships home page.