DNA Residency for High School Students

High school students in the DNA Residency Program work in the lab.

The DNA Residency provides Chicago and suburban high school students a paid opportunity to conduct genetic research alongside accomplished Field Museum scientists. Participants are integrated into and trained in the importance of Field Museum research, becoming part of a current research program and utilizing samples (blood/tissues) from the collections to extract, amplify, sequence, and analyze DNA. Projects provide students an understanding of genetic diversity throughout the tree of life and at all taxonomic levels, from relationships among individuals and populations to classes and phyla of organisms. 

The project for 2018 will explore the consequences of The Tree of Life for Kingfishers, a cosmopolitan and colorful group of birds with interesting feeding behaviors. Residency research will focus on the evolution of taste and color in Coraciiformes. 


Participants are responsible for creating a digital media project based on their learning experiences during the program.

  • Must be Chicago or suburban high school sophomore or junior
  • Must be at least 16 years of age by Monday, June 25, 2018-no exceptions
  • Must submit an essay (300-500 words) describing why they would like to take part in this particular internship program
  • Must provide a letter of recommendation from a science teacher. An additional letter from a teacher/coach/mentor may be submitted (2 letters max)
  • Must fully commit to program dates and times. Six weeks is not a lot of time for training and lab work. Please schedule accordingly.

Program Dates

Monday, June 25 - Friday, August 3, 2018 (excluding Wednesday, July 4) from 9:00 am–4:00 pm

Application Process

  • The application will be available: Thursday, March 1- Saturday, March 31, 2018
  • Letters of recommendation on school letterhead are due by: Friday, April 6, 2018
  • Qualified applicants will be asked to interview via Skype: April 16-19, 2018
  • Final notifications to all applicants will be made no later than: Friday, April 20, 2018

Email DNAprograms@fieldmuseum.org for more information. No phone calls please.