Stanford at The Tech

The Stanford at The Tech program brings 12-16 Stanford graduate students and other early-career scientists  to The Tech each year for an intensive science communication experience. Participants facilitate hands-on experiences for thousands of museum visitors, write articles for a website that reaches millions worldwide, receive training in science communication, and learn about non-academic career paths.

Interested in signing up?  Please email  Dawn Billman to inquire about program availability or ask questions.


Program Specifics

Overall commitment: 4-6 hours/week for two quarters

Run floor programs: Spend one morning per week at The Tech, facilitating up to 10 different activities. Help visitors create a marker with custom-made ink infused with DNA, uncover the stories of people who lived thousands of years ago using DNA, run an agarose gel to solve a crime, look at their own cells under a microscope, and more.

Learn: Stretch and grow your science communication ability. Receive personalized feedback and coaching, practice iterating and improving on your facilitation skills, and engage with readings and materials to supplement and support your in-person learning.

Write: Contribute posts to The Tech's Ask-a-Geneticist blog by answering questions from the public.

Complete a final project: In your second quarter, apply what you’ve learned in a final project. Create new floor activities, collaborate with The Tech’s experience development team, design new graphics, produce videos for social media, or come up with something entirely unique.

Other: This program is meant to be flexible! If there is something else you’d like to do in your time at The Tech, it’s probably something you can try.

PhD student Alyssa Lyn Fortier guides visitors through the “Draw with DNA” activity, helping visitors create a marker with DNA-infused ink.

Program Benefits

Communication practice: Practice communicating with various audiences, including K-12 field trips, families, adults, mixed groups, and more. Most program participants discover that these are highly transferable skills, applicable to both academic and non-academic career paths.

Assistance writing for a lay audience: Practice writing for a non-expert audience by contributing articles to Ask-a-Geneticist. Each article draft will receive suggestions, edits, and advice from the Program Director to build your public writing skills.

Networking opportunities: During your time at The Tech, you will meet many different museum professionals and have the chance to learn about career paths within informal education. This may include museum biologists, experience designers, career educators, and people with other backgrounds and specialties.

In-person mentoring: You will receive extensive feedback and advice throughout the program. Each day at The Tech, the Program Director will be present to offer feedback, advice, and suggestions on how to improve your science communication and/or visitor service. Additionally, you’ll be trained on new activities by more senior program participants, providing opportunities for peer-to-peer mentoring.

Stipend: A small stipend is provided for your time, set at the 10% TA rate.


Visitors extracting their own DNA to take home in the ultimate personalized necklace.


Stanford PhD students: Any PhD student in a biology-related lab/department is welcome. Due to the required time commitment, students must have completed their first year coursework and cannot participate in the same quarter as qualifying exams.

Genetic counseling students: Second year Genetic Counseling students may use this program to fulfill work study requirements.

Postdocs: Postdocs in any biology-related lab are welcome. 

Genetics department staff: Staff in any genetics-affiliated labs are welcome, with permission from your PI/manager. Any career stage is welcome.

While there is sometimes a waitlist to get into the program, there is additional flexibility for later-stage students and post-docs.

Visitors use gel electrophoresis to determine which suspect was at the scene of a crime.