Young Ambassadors Program

Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Latino

HumanitiesHistorySocial Justice


The Young Ambassadors Program (YAP) is a nationally recognized program for graduating high school seniors that fosters the next generation of community-conscious Latino leaders in the arts, sciences, and humanities via the Smithsonian Institution and its resources. Students with an interest in and commitment to the arts, sciences, and humanities as it pertains to Latino communities and cultures are selected to travel to Washington, D.C. for a week-long seminar at the Smithsonian. This enrichment opportunity is a leadership development and skill-building training that exposes youth to a wide array of academic disciplines promoting higher education and encouraging the exploration and understanding of Latino history and identity. The seminar, known as Washington Week, includes visits to the Smithsonian’s Latino collections and one-on-one interaction with renowned experts from various fields as well as museum professionals. Following the training seminar, students participate in a four-week interdisciplinary internship in museums and other cultural institutions in 18 cities across the United States and Puerto Rico, including Smithsonian-affiliated organizations. This hands-on component allows students to gain transferable knowledge and apply the skills acquired during the training seminar to their internship assignments. 2022 Internship Regions - Arizona, Phoenix: Arizona State University Art Museum - California, Fresno (Central Valley): Arte Américas - California, Los Angeles: LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes Los Angeles County Museum of Art (TBC) - California, San Jose (Bay Area): Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose - Colorado, Denver: History Colorado - Florida, Miami: History Miami, Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science - Georgia, Atlanta: Georgia Aquarium - Illinois, Chicago: Adler Planetarium (TBC) National Museum of Mexican Art - Massachusetts, Springfield: Springfield Museums - Michigan, Detroit: Michigan Science Center - New Mexico, Albuquerque: National Hispanic Cultural Center - New York, New York Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum - Puerto Rico, San Juan Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus - Texas, El Paso: El Paso History Museum - Texas, Houston: Holocaust Museum Houston - Texas, McAllen: International Museum of Art and Science - Texas, San Antonio: The Witte Museum - Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American History Internship Overview The internship experience will require the applicant to commit to a full-time schedule for the four-week period during the month of July. Occasionally, depending on the organization, some weekend work will be required in substitution of a Monday-Friday work week. Specific details will be included in the internship description distributed to each participant in the Young Ambassadors Program Acceptance Packet. Internship experiences include: assisting with special summer programming at museums, assisting in the development of education content for families and/or students, working with child, teen, and/or youth development programs, working with new media and social media education applications, assisting in local/regional outreach efforts, and working with various departments within the museums or cultural institutions. Hands-on work is required. COVID protocols of each internship site will be distributed with the acceptance packet. Summer Program Overview - Participate in a weeklong preprofessional and pre-collegiate seminar in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian focusing on Latino perspectives with peers from all over the nation. - Complete a four-weekinterdisciplinary internship program at a museum or other cultural institution in one of 18 cities in the United States and Puerto Rico. - Explore careers in the arts, sciences and humanities and meet Latino Leaders. Enhance networking skills and knowledge. Upon completion of the five-week program, participants will receive a $2,000 program stipend. Students that do not complete the training seminar and four-week internship will not receive the program stipend.

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Smithsonian Latino Center Launches Annual Young Ambassadors Program

“I can’t thank the Smithsonian or History Colorado enough for giving me this extraordinary opportunity to explore my own home through a new set of eyes,” said Mary Royston, 2015 YAP graduate. “I have learned so much about my community, my state and myself on this monthlong journey, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”...“I believe that all Young Ambassador Program participants will make a difference in the careers they choose, and we are proud to invest in our future generation,” said Joe Avila, community outreach manager, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Ford continues to partner with the Smithsonian Latino Center to ensure a bright future for our youth and their communities.”

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Intersectional Introspection: A Cross-Cultural Journey

Participating in the Young Ambassadors Program granted me my first opportunity to be a part of a larger Latinx community and create space for a part of myself that I had lost. Surrounded by so many passionate, driven, and resilient Latinx folks, I was able to reclaim my Latinx heritage and bring together the two halves of myself. Though I am still on a journey of intersectional identity – and I still have a ton to learn about my Puerto Rican heritage – the Young Ambassadors Program planted the seed for this self-discovery to grow...

Young Ambassador Program: My Experience at Frost Science

Thanks to the knowledge that I gained during Washington week, I was able to notice the little things I did not previously notice. I recognize exhibit themes and am even able to effectively contribute to the ongoing development of exhibitions, which I am grateful I was granted the opportunity to do...In the words of Natasha Zapata, an author I met due to YAP, we need to “keep telling stories to inspire others,” and that is exactly the message museums convey. Programs, such as Smithsonian’s Young Ambassadors Program, help further this concept and continue to embrace the gift of knowledge.. I recommend that any up-and-coming high school seniors investigate YAP.

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