Stanford at The Tech

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

Interested in joining the waitlist? Email  Abbey Thompson with 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. Many program participants discover that these are transferable skills, leading to better research talks as well!

Assistance writing for a lay audience: Most participants are surprised at how difficult it is to write for a non-expert audience. Each article draft will receive significant edits, suggestions, and advice from the Program Director.

Networking opportunities: During your time at The Tech, you will meet many different museum professionals. This includes people who specialize in developing biology experiences, as well as 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 and/or deal with challenging groups. Additionally, you’ll be trained on each new activity by a senior program participant, providing opportunities for peer-to-peer mentoring.

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


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

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


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. If you are international, check with Bechtel for any visa conflicts.

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.