The mission of the Academy's Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability is to gather new knowledge about life's diversity and the process of evolution—and to rapidly apply that understanding to our efforts to sustain life on Earth.
The Academy offers a wealth of opportunities to budding scientists of all ages through student programs, mentoring for high school and undergraduate students, and professional development for teachers. Each year, our workshops and on-site programs reach 46,000 youth.
Programs Outside of School
Each year, nearly 700 middle- and high-school students participate in one of the Academy’s outside-of-school programs. For volunteers in the Teen Advocates for Science Communication program, the goal is to find creative ways to share science with Academy visitors. Their methods? Flash mobs and specimen-inspired fashion shows, among other creative approaches. Whether they're joining an after-school Science Action club at one of ten local middle schools, or working with digital media to tell science stories in our Science in Action high-school program, these students are choosing to immerse themselves in science during their free time. What better way to cultivate a more science-literate society?
Mentoring Future Scientists
For high school and college students with a demonstrated interest in and passion for science, the Academy offers more in-depth opportunities for involvement.
Careers in Science high school interns benefit from hands-on trainings, field science experiences, and peer and professional mentorships over the course of a multi-year paid internship. Recruited from communities typically under-represented in the sciences, 78% of CiS interns attended a college or certificate program after high school.
Academy curators also mentor 11 undergraduate students annually through the Summer Systematics Institute, a hands-on, collections-based internship program in evolutionary biology that's now in its eighteenth year.
Tools for Educators
For K-12 educators, the Academy offers classroom resources and workshops that give educators the skills and tools to bring science into their classrooms with passion and confidence. From climate change workshops to classroom kits and free lesson plans, our materials are designed by educators, for educators.
The most intensive of these programs is the two-year Teacher Institute on Science and Sustainability (TISS), a transformative professional development opportunity for teachers of grades 3 through 5. More than 175 teachers representing seven school districts in the Bay Area have completed the TISS program to date, which translates into 19,000 cumulative hours of improved elementary classroom science instruction thus far.
In addition to our usual array of workshops, the Academy provided training for 248 Bay Area teachers in how to prepare for teaching the Next Generation Science Standards that California adopted in 2013.
Find an expansive collection of information, resources, activities, and opportunities for educators and students.
Located on Level 3, the Naturalist Center is the Academy's home of interactive learning. Touch specimens, ask questions, or join one of our daily programs, all free with admission.