Girls show the giant origami that they made

Volunteering at Discovery Space

Volunteers are crucial in helping Discovery Space deliver great Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) experiences. We welcome dedicated, dynamic volunteers (ages 14 and up) to help in a number of ways. All volunteers are equipped for success through orientation and ongoing training. If you enjoy working flexible hours in an energetic environment and have a passion for inspiring a love of STEM, consider applying to become a Discovery Space volunteer!

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Spark Internship
  • Exhibit Floor Facilitator: Enhance the guest experience by facilitating interactions with exhibits and helping maintain a safe, clean environment.
  • Education Program Assistant: Assist Discovery Space educators in leading regular (often weekly) programs (ages 0-15).
  • Special Events/Outreach Facilitator: Facilitate hands-on activities at events in and around State College, often on weekends and evenings.
  • Behind the Scenes Volunteer: Opportunities include exhibit design and construction, office assistance, photography/videography, and marketing.

Time commitments vary depending on the position. Exhibit floor and education volunteers ideally commit to regular shifts of at least 2-4 hours per week. Some positions will require background checks.

Benefits of Volunteering at Discovery Space:

  • Be part of the Discovery Space team and see creativity, curiosity, and imagination at work!
  • Sharpen your skills, or develop new ones.
  • Build relationships and your resume.
  • Experience and facilitate informal STEM learning in your community.
  • Opportunity to receive a free one-year Family Membership after 75 hours of volunteering during 12 consecutive months.

If you are interested, complete this short Volunteer Interest Form and our Volunteer Coordinator will contact you. If you are representing a group who would like to volunteer together, complete this Group Volunteer Interest Form and our Volunteer Coordinator will contact you. For questions or information about group volunteer opportunities, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at .

Thank you for your interest!

Discovery Space Spark Internship

The mission of Discovery Space is to provide engaging science experiences which spark creativity, curiosity, and imagination. Our high school (grades 9-12) Spark Interns will play a role in fulfilling this mission while developing leadership skills and ownership over projects they complete under the mentorship of Discovery Space staff. Spark Interns will select a project that allows them to hone specific college and career skills related to STEAM, education, marketing, and more!

The Spark Internship is open to high school students for each of their four years of their high school career. First semester interns will be assistants in programming and project development to learn how Discovery Space works and to identify a field of interest (i.e. education or exhibits engineering) within the organization. Second semester interns will work in teams to create and to execute a project. Teams of interns from different cohorts will be created based on project goals and interests. Leadership opportunities exist for returning Spark interns to mentor and to guide newer interns in selecting and executing their projects. Through this cohort system, interns in their first and second years will gain job experience in their selected field, while interns in their third and fourth years will continue to hone their career goals and skills set while also learning project and team management skills.

Spark lead and Spark interns

2018-2019 Spark Interns (Top Left to Right: Claire Jin, Jane Bolton, Robby Bahnsen, Spark Lead – Anna Schurter. Bottom Left to Right: Gabi Quiñones, Allaina Wagner, Rose Hudson)

2018-2019 Spark Intern projects:

Steering exhibit

Robby Bahnsen

Grade: 12
School: State College Area High School
Project: I have been working on an exhibit for the floor that explains the basics of steering and how it is essential for vehicles. I chose this project because of my interest in cars, and I have learned much about the process that it takes to engineer and build an exhibit. My hope is that visitors gain as much from my exhibit as I have. It should be able to inform them about the basics of steering and explain it to them in a way that they might not have considered.

Spark intern building crafts

Jane Bolton

Grade: 9
School: State College Area High School
Project: I created two activities for the MaD Lab. The first is to design and build your own catapult and the second is to use simple machines to get your explorer from one mountain top to another. My hope is that these activities will provide an introduction to visitors unfamiliar with simple machines and catapults through an interactive and engaging experience. Throughout this process, I learned how to word concepts and terms in an understandable way for children to learn.

Intern and students in a classroom

Rose Hudson

Grade: 12
School: State College Area High School
Project: I created an astronomy-themed pilot program for Girl Scout Daisy troops to earn their Space Science badges. I love interacting with the children at Discovery Space, and with this program I was able to share my love for astronomy with them. Along with getting kids excited and learning about space, I was also able to learn what it takes to plan and to facilitate a one hour lesson. By leading this class, I gained some experience with the real-time adaptation you need to work with kids.

The Rivet's Facebook page

Claire Jin

Grade: 11
School: State College Area High School
Project: My project was a combination of media-related smaller projects. The first is a slideshow and series of videos that supplement the current volunteer orientation. They go over the rules, how to behave, what to do in emergencies, who to contact in various situations, and more. I really hope my project will improve the volunteer experience at DS and help the volunteers improve the visitor experience at DS. I also worked on social media posts for The Rivet and taking pictures at Discovery Space and The Rivet events.

Intern at her project stand at an event.

Gabi Quiñones

Grade: 10
School: State College Area High School
Project: Spark Your Curiosity! Showcase I created a drop-in event program for the “Spark Your Curiosity! Showcase” where people can make a lava lamp and density tower and then leave when finished. I chose this project because I want to become a teacher, and this gave me the opportunity to design a lesson as well as interact with kids- two things a part of education. I’ve learned a lot about the development of lessons/curriculum as well as about what goes into leading. My project gave kids the opportunity to explore something scientific while having fun. My project included two easy, fun experiments that are for all ages.

Intern standing beside her event project

Allaina Wagner

Grade: 11
School: State College Area High School
Project: My project for this semester was planning and holding a drop-in event for kids to come and learn about Color Theory through hands-on activities called “Captivating Color Theory”. They explored Color Theory by creating Newton’s disks, creating sand art with a pendulum, and experimenting with color mixing. I chose to organize a smaller event where kids of any age could come and try experiments because I felt that it would be a good introduction into planning and hosting events. I learned the importance of planning and writing everything out before the event, and I learned how to adapt when faced with small setbacks. The kids who came to the event were able to learn about art theory in a non-traditional, tactile way. The had the chance to work with their parents at their own pace to try out a variety of projects and experiments.

Program Structure:

Stage 1: ApplicationApply here. The application submission deadline for the 2019-2020 school year is Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 5pm. *Please note that once you begin the application form, you will not be able to save your progress. A PDF version of the application is available for viewing.*

Application outline:

  1. Personal Information
  2. Free Response Questions
  3. Resume and Recommendation Letter
    • Your resume attachment must be uploaded in PDF format at time of submission.
    • One (1) reference letter is required for this position, from a STEM field instructor/mentor. This letter (one page maximum) should be submitted directly from the reference in PDF format to:
      prior to the application submission deadline.
  4. Parent Acknowledgement

Stage 2: In-person Interviews

Stage 3: Selection – Interns will commence biweekly meetings at Discovery Space.

  • Spark Interns are selected for one academic year. All hours worked during the year can count as community service credit hours for school.
  • Prospective interns can gain knowledge of the science center and make their skill sets known to Discovery Space staff by volunteering on our exhibit floor, or as summer Camp Counselors-in-Training.

Program Contact:

Anna Schurter
Science Educator, Discovery Space