Smithsonian Science Education Center Internship Program
The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) is transforming K-12 Education Through Science™ in collaboration with communities across the globe. The SSEC develops innovative new STEM curriculum and digital resources, conducts professional development for STEM teachers and fosters STEM 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.
Check out some of our past SSEC Interns!
See what some of our amazing interns had to say about working with SSEC.
Douglas M. Lapp Endowment Internship in Education
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
2022 VIRTUAL INTERNSHIPS
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SSEC will only offer virtual internships for the spring and summer of 2022. 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.
COVID-19 VACCINATION UPDATE:
Interns, Fellows, Research Associates – just as with employees, interns, fellows, and research associates are no longer required to be vaccinated. However, they are still requested to report their vaccination status to Occupational Health Services (email to OHS-MedicalReview@si.edu) to include booster shots.
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.
SSEC will start accepting applications for spring/summer 2022 starting on February 8, 2022. The deadline for all applications is March 31, 2022.
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!
2022 Virtual Internship Descriptions
- Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers (SSEAT) Intern
- Professional Services STEM4SD Intern
- Global Goals Intern
- Curriculum Development Intern (Computational Thinking)
Frequently Asked Questions
For questions about SSEC internship opportunities, please contact Angela Pritchett, Internship Coordinator, at 202-633-2284 or PritchettA@si.edu.
Virtual Internship Descriptions
Project Description: This intern will work with educators, researchers, staff, SSEC partners to support Professional Services programming and preparations in Summer 2022.
Learning objectives include:
- Gain an understanding of the LASER model for transforming formal science education through professional development and the services and curriculum offered by the Smithsonian Science Education Center that support this work.
- Research new resources to supplement both the intern’s and organization’s understandings of science and STEM education.
- Learn the basics of educational program development including developing engaging hands-on experiences, building strong communication skills, and best practices in cultivating partnerships and collaborations.
- Communicating with partner organizations, Smithsonian scientists, and participants to deliver educational programming.
- Work collaboratively with SSEC staff to create science practice support documents for in person professional development.
The intern will receive daily instruction, guidance, and feedback for all tasks assigned. The intern will also get an understanding of why tasks are necessary and how they contribute to achieving positive outcomes.
Please Note: The primary focus of this internship will be a three-day Space Smithsonian Science Education Academy held in Huntsville, Alabama in July 2022. If the selected intern is in the Huntsville area, he/she can attend the in-person SSEAT program.
Timeframe: The internship will be for 10 weeks starting in May-July 2022. Hours: 25-40 hours per week. We encourage full-time participation.
Professional Services STEM4SD 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 Smithsonian Science for Global Goals project and the Network for Emergent Socio-Scientific Thinking (NESST).
Learning objectives include:
- Gain an understanding of the field of STEM4SD.
- Gain an understanding of the work of the Smithsonian Science Education Center in the field of STEM4SD, including supporting research to inform STEM4SD professional development, and other services and curriculum offered by the Smithsonian Science Education Center.
- Research new resources to supplement both the intern’s and organization’s understandings of STEM4SD.
- Generate and revise blog posts based on the SSEC’s thought leadership intersecting policy and best practices in STEM4SD.
- 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 for 10 weeks from May-July 2022. Hours: 25-40 hours per week. We encourage full-time participation.
Global Goals Intern
Project Description: Intern will work with Smithsonian Science Education Center curriculum developers to assist in the development of Smithsonian Science for Global Goals guides. The Smithsonian Science for Global Goals guides aim to inspire young people to take action on the world’s most pressing issues. Interns will learn how to apply knowledge of science content and diverse ways of knowing, research, and pedagogy to assist in developing high-quality resources for teaching and learning. Learning objectives include:
- Assisting in the development of community research guides for a global audience of students ages 8-17. This task may include outlining, writing, editing, and proofreading as part of a team of writers, editors, education specialists and scientists.
- Assisting in identifying and interviewing subject matter experts and young activists about guide topics, recording and transcribing interviews, synthesizing information, and translating high-level academic information into student-facing materials.
- Conducting additional research on guide topics related to the environment and human health, particularly tracking relevant resources, online conversations, and scientific research to inform guide development and supporting website.
- Helping to create case studies to showcase the work of subject matter experts from around the world who are collaborating on the community research guides.
- Researching and understanding the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals along with the accompanying educational goals.
- Help implement Smithsonian’s commitment to diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion by assisting in identifying diverse subject matter experts, creating an accessible guide, and considering a variety of cultural contexts to make the guide relevant to a global audience.
- Representing intern’s own context and perspectives in collaborative discussions about the development of the guide.
Candidates should have strong writing skills, skills in independent research, the ability to communicate professionally with experts, experience/interest in education or curriculum, and the ability to adhere to tight deadlines. Interns will be managed directly by the curriculum developers for Smithsonian Science for Global Goals and will receive feedback and guidance on their writing, research, and other content creation.
The internship must occur between February and August 2022 and we would prefer a minimum of 25 hours per week, but are flexible based on your current educational status. We accept interns from high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels. Stipend may be available for undergraduate and graduate interns.
Curriculum Development Intern (Computational Thinking)
Project Description: Intern will work with Smithsonian Science Education Center curriculum developers to assist in the development of upper elementary STEM activities that focus on computational thinking and computer science skills. Interns will learn how to apply knowledge of computational thinking, computer science, science content, research, and pedagogy to assist in developing high-quality resources for teaching and learning. Learning objectives may include:
- Assisting in the development of Computational Thinking in the Elementary Classroom activities for upper elementary students. This task may include suggesting activity content, writing, editing, and proofreading as part of a team of writers, editors, education specialists and scientists.
- Assisting in identifying and interviewing subject matter experts related to the application of computational thinking and early computer science skills such as algorithm development to situations relevant to upper elementary students. Work associated with this objective includes synthesizing information and translating high-level academic information into student-facing materials.
- Conducting additional research on curriculum and pedagogy, particularly tracking relevant resources, online conversations, and STEM education research relating to the K-12 computer science standards, Next Generation Science Standards and related nationwide STEM education reform efforts.
- Helping to test and troubleshoot new computational thinking and introductory computer science activities as they are developed.
- Assisting with the collection and/or analysis of field test teacher feedback.
- Supporting the research for and writing of blog posts and white papers on topics related to computational thinking and computer science in the upper elementary classroom.
- Researching to support the Smithsonian Science Education Center efforts to create more just and inclusive computer science and STEM education.
Candidates should have strong writing skills, skills in independent research, the ability to communicate professionally with experts, experience/interest in science/STEM/computer science education, and the ability to adhere to tight deadlines. A background in computer science is desirable. Interns will be managed directly by the curriculum developers for Smithsonian Science for the Classroom and will receive feedback and guidance on their writing and other content creation.
Timeframe: The internship must occur between May and July 2022 and will require a minimum of 25 hours per week.
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? Thursday, March 31, 2022.
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.