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STEAM Pathways at NHMLAC

Students doing fossil prep in the VP lab

STEAM Pathways at NHMLAC

The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County is developing a strategic, innovative approach to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) workforce development through work-based learning, mentorship, and applied skill building. STEAM pathways encompass the many varied types of work happening at our museums, such as research, informal education, creative design, finance, and operations. Through a combination of offerings such as internships, volunteering, apprenticeships, and other mentoring programs, we offer learners of all ages valuable opportunities to explore, contribute to, and continue in STEAM careers. 

In this work, we are committed to contributing to the development of a competitive and diverse STEAM workforce by prioritizing participants from communities that have been systematically under-resourced and marginalized in these fields. We are also committed to reaching a wide variety of ages, interests, and needs. 

STEAM Pathways is central to both NHMLAC’s Strategic Plan and the IDEA Transformational Framework, and vital to truly embodying the values of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility throughout our work. This Transformational Framework and its areas of focus, including STEAM Pathways, was developed by a cross-departmental, multilevel team of staff, with input from the NHMLAC Board of Trustees and executive staff.

STEAM Pathways offerings continue to grow at NHMLAC! See a selection of our current suite of programs below.

Internship Programs

Volunteer Program

Volunteer Erin Cervantes seated at a table working with specimens in the Fossil Lab

Since the mid-1900s, the NHMLAC Volunteer Program has been engaging the community of Los Angeles in authentic museum work through meaningful and enriching volunteer experiences. People of all different experience levels, interests, ages (from 16 to into their 90s), and backgrounds bring their passion for lifelong learning to NHMLAC, donating their time to contribute to the educational and research-focused mission of the museum.

Apprenticeship Opportunities

Cassandra Garcia with specimens

The UNLAB ProgramLaunched in 2022 and funded by the NSF, “Understanding Nature and Los Angeles Biodiversity (UNLAB) through museum collections and field-based research” is a post-baccalaureate training program based in the Research and Collections Department. Over three years, the program will host three different cohorts of 8–12 mentees for year-long experiences focused on collections-based biodiversity research, professional development, and STEAM/museum learning.  

Lead Preparator Eric Sick installing boards with buttons attached into a cutout rectangle in the wall

Partnership: The Broad’s Diversity Apprenticeship Program: NHMLAC collaborates with the Diversity Apprenticeship Program (DAP) to host apprentices in exhibition development. The DAP is an initiative by The Broad to create career opportunities for people from underrepresented communities in the museum field broadly and art handling and preparations world specifically, by providing nine-month, full-time paid apprenticeships in art handling and preparations.