“I’ll get approached by usually youngish couples in business. They’ve taken on one of our students
as an intern over the summer. They’re so impressed by the kid, that they want their
own child to go to our school.”
JOSH NOSSITER BOARD OF TRUSTEES
José McDevitt-Hickey, International High School
Junior, participated in the Citizen Science Conference
in San Jose on February 12, 2015. The conference is a
gathering of research scientists—among them are high
school students like Jose. These students are part of a
movement to get more people involved in research and
they’re known as citizen scientists.
José found himself immersed in scientific studies and
research just two years ago after signing on with the
California Academy of Sciences as a paid intern in its
Careers in Science (CiS) internship program. CiS is a
multiyear, year-round work-based youth development
program for young people from groups typically underrepresented in the sciences.
In the following interview, José discusses his experience as a CiS intern and how the program developed his
skills as a young scientist and confident speaker—and
ultimately to the distinction of presenting at the American Geophysical Union conference and, more recently,
at the Citizen Science Conference in San Jose.
José McDevitt-Hickey ‘ 16 Discusses Science Internship and Research
How long have you been with program?
I’ve been part of the internship for almost two years now.
I have a time commitment: during the school year this
depends on the different ranks you’re in—Level 1 being
most basic and Level 4 being highest. Right now, I’m in
a Level 2 and I work between 8-12 hours a week.
During weekdays over the summer, I would be on the
public floor at California Academy of Sciences engaging with guests. There are different stations, known as
“Demonstration Stations,” for example Extinct Mammals.
I would need to be able to respond to guests’ questions
and give background information on the exhibit.
What are your thoughts on the program?
I really enjoy working at the Academy of Sciences.
Going into the program and being able to do different
presentations, I was able to understand not just what
science is about, but public speaking and how to be
a leader and be professional. Overall it really helped
develop who I am today.
Do you have an example of how you related your work
in CiS with what you learned in Higher Level Biology at
International High School?
There used to be a Creation Station called “DNA.” It was
an interactive station. We would perform the procedure
of extracting DNA from strawberries in front of museum
Are you curious about science in the future?
I definitely see science as a potential career opportunity.
I am really into biology and I am thinking along the lines
of biotech design.
Would you recommend the program to other students?
I would really recommend this to another student—it’s
an eye-opening experience. I’ve never talked in front of
a large crowd before and once I leveled up from level
one to level two, I was able to participate in a conference that had over 24,000 participants. I was giving
non-stop presentations to people walking up and down
José (left) at the Citizen Science Conference, February 2015