My new little friends are crawling all over me. In Careers in Science, Level Three interns have the opportunity to work in a mentorship with Academy scientists. Cyrah and I have begun a mentorship with Kristen and Nicole of the Osher Rainforest. Kristen and Nicole are biologists who work to take care of the many exhibits in the rainforest. One of our duties includes caring for leafcutter ants by replacing their browse (plants). These leafcutter ants are naturally attracted to discovery. They want to find new habitat with new plants to bring back to their colony for cultivation. For a short while, the ants are not enclosed, leaving no barrier between them and the fresh world that intrigues their curious little minds. We become bridges and dozens of ants begin to explore the complexity of our arms. Kristen instructs us to pinch them off. Our hardy little friends are returned to their home and new browse as we move on to tend to other inhabitants of the Rainforest. Next up, the Madagascar day geckos…
How great is it to know that your hard work is being recognized? This month, the CiS program decided to acknowledge our fellow interns who come to work with outstanding attendance and performance! This month, interns Ashley, Jonathan, Tiffany, Evan, and Judy received the first ever Intern of the Month awards! The purpose of the Intern of the Month is to acknowledge the interns for their accomplishments and responsibility in a professional work environment. Not only do CiS interns engage in scientific activities, but we also learn how to act as a mature worker in a large institution. Evan shared, “This was the first time I was exposed to any kind of work environment. The intern program has really taught me how to communicate with my boss and co-workers, which is a vital skill to have in any kind of job.” By acknowledging the interns who go above and beyond, the intern program encourages everyone to be their very best.
It’s an exciting time for the interns in the intern program! We are looking to hire new 9th and 10th graders to be interns. As an intern, I learn about new science material every other week from the Academy’s own scientists and researchers at trainings. For example, our most recent trainings cover a wide range like dinosaurs and biodiversity of Africa. In between trainings, I apply what I learn to the content I teach to the visitors of the Academy.
I am currently a Level 2 interns which means I serve on the Leadership Council. In part of what that means is that I get to be a part of the recruitment process. I set up schedules with applicants for interviews and help interview them myself; my opinions matter and help the managers decide who to hire for the program.
Throughout all of these science-intense experiences, I also enjoy working with other kids my age from different, diverse backgrounds by collaborating on science projects (led by interns) and attending fun overnight trips with them. My only regret is not applying for this internship as an entering sophomore, but applying as an entering junior. So don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to explore science!
Apply Here: www.calacademy.org/interns
It’s that time of year again! The fall semester not only brings colder weather, the holidays, and great food, but also the great honor of applying to colleges and universities. The CiS program requires its interns to be enrolled in college to continue working in the program. At the beginning of fall, we have trainings covering topics such as how to choose a college, writing personal statements, how to apply for scholarships, etc. to aid seniors with their application and enrollment process. This year’s graduating seniors of 2012 include: Angelica Cabral, Vanessa Cabrera, Lorren Dangerfield, Francisco Juarez, Justin Nicholas, Maria Orellana, Monica Rath, Maria Romero, Michael Vicencio, and Leon Wang.
Applications for CSU’s and UC’s opened on the first of October. Many of the seniors such as Leon and Justin applied to these schools in particular. Leon, a senior at Lowell High School, applied solely to UC’s. When asked why, he explained that “[he] already attends a large public high school and likes the feel of it, so [he] decided to apply to large public universities in the area to stay local.” Justin, a senior at City Arts and Tech High School, applied to four CSU’s including San Francisco State University and San Jose State University. Justin explained his plan, “SF State is my back up for San Jose State. I want to stay local for now, but want to transfer to an international school after getting my general credits out of the way.”
One of the program’s goals is to help interns enroll into a four-year college. Each year, the seniors graduate from high school and enroll into a variety of colleges across the country with big education and career goals. We plan for this year to be no different, and wish the best of luck to the seniors of 2012!
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Shakira singing “Hips Don’t Lie”! Every intern training is unique, and this one was no different. As I walked into the Careers in Science classroom that Monday afternoon, Shakira’s 2006 hit song rocked my ears. It turned out that dinosaurs’ hips didn’t lie either. That’s right, those roaring colossal beasts that flourished in the Mesozoic Era, also known as the Age of Reptiles, evolved separately and owed a large part of their biological sucess to their hip structures. Fascinating lectures by CiS Manager Eric Godoy, Senior Science Content Specialist Roberta Brett, and San Francisco State University graduate student Nic West all highlighted the erect posture of dinosaurs, a distinction from other reptiles with sprawling postures. Upon closer examination, the interns realized that there was a correlation between posture and evolution. More biologically successful animals, such as the dinosaurs in the Mesozoic Era, all had erect postures. Unlike their sprawling counterparts, these animals could maintain a sufficient amount of air for a longer period of time (for example, present-day lizards, who are sprawlers, can only sprint for a very short amount of time due to a lower lung capacity). Because of this physiological advantage, the dinosaurs had increased stamina. Much like dinosaurs, birds and mammals, including humans, also evolved to have erect postures, which must explain why all of the interns are so tireless in their interest in science!
On October 18th, 2011 Careers in Science interns attended the Brower Youth Awards, an award ceremony for six young people around the U.S. who are active in their communities and the environment. Award winners included teens working to save the diverse rainforests of Indonesia and the native endangered orangutan by boycotting products with palm oil, and young adults working in community gardens and teaching about the benefits of organic food and sustainable living. Every single award winner was distinct in their inspiring mission and message. In addition to the trip to San Francisco, the six winners were awarded with money to continue their project and public recognition for their work.
After hearing each winner speak and watch watch videos on their individual cases, the 2011 Brower Youth awardees all seem to validate Alice Walker’s quote, “activism is my rent for living on this planet.” Each winner works to strengthen their communities by fighting for what they believe in and striving to become the change they want to see in their world. All winners seem to pay more than their fair share of “rent”, whether that change comes by creating a community garden or by testing a local river for toxic waste from coal mining. The Brower Youth Award winners demonstrates that if we are to live in Earth and use the resources that Earth provides us, we must give back. It was a very inspiring event.
Being an intern for the past three years has been an exciting journey! As I continue my journey to college in the fall, as well as five other interns, I am excited for the future and hope to continue my connection with the intern program during my college years. The transition from a part time Leadership Council intern to an associate intern is going to be strange. Associate interns are interns that are pursuing higher education in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) field yet remain involved in the program during the summer months, whereas the normal interns work year round. Once the new associates go off to college they are always welcomed with open arms to come back to the Academy and work during winter break and the summer break. The associates appreciate the fact that they still have a job when they come home from college and they are able to catch up with the intern family. When school starts it will be very strange to not have to go to work on the public floor of the museum, but its bittersweet because I will be coming back whenever I get the chance!
In June 2011, interns hosted a celebration luncheon for science mentors and graduating interns. At this luncheon, we had delicious food, provided by the academy café, to celebrate the mentors the interns had worked with. These include Academy curators, biologists, and researchers; they received gifts as a token of our appreciation. Most interns spent about a year with their mentors, so this luncheon was a bittersweet moment because it marked the end of our externship. However, at the end of the luncheon, Eric, the manager of the program, presented each of the graduating interns with a certificate and a book that represented their personality. The winners of the CiS Scholarship were also announced at the luncheon! Three of the six graduating interns received scholarships ranging between $1, 000 to $2, 500 to help them pay for college.
Saturdays are always really busy for Interns. It is spent on the museum floor teaching visitors through the many stations located throughout the Academy. However, last Saturday interns got to go out into the field. The interns headed out to Monterey Bay for Rocky Intertidal Monitoring. This is where interns counted the number of organisms that could be found right along the coast in tidepool ecosystems. To properly monitor organisms the interns had to create a transect line that goes from the shore straight down to the coast. At different spots about three feet away from each other quadrats were placed. Quadrats are 5 by 5 squares that are placed down and in those individual squares organisms were counted. Examples of the species that we observed that day are: anemones, whelks (a type of snail), ochre sea stars, and many more invertebrates. Interns also counted algae that grow in the intertidal zone. It is important to monitor these organisms and algae because their population numbers can tell us a lot about what unnatural changes in the environment they are facing. Possible impacts on these organisms are very harmful such as global warming, pollution, or harvesting.
Interns have the privilege of telling the story of Pierre the penguin to visitors of the California Academy of Sciences. Pierre the Penguin: A True Story, is an illustrated children’s book that tells the journey Pierre penguin went through in order to re-grow his feathers that he lost. Interns got to display this book to audiences, further publicizing this unique story.
Being interpreters of the African Penguins, interns are already knowledgeable about catastrophic molts (the process of losing all feathers and re-growing them) and the book was a great tool to help explain it. Not only can adults learn the story of Pierre through the book, but so can children. Because of this, interns are able to give a presentation to visitors of all walks.