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Join our science ambassadors

Memorable experiences start with you


Get involved: a checklist

We created a short checklist of things to do as you apply to our program as a science ambassador!

☐ Email Shadow A Scientist to introduce yourself and ask to be added to our email listserv

Send an email to us:

☐ Apply to serve as a Science Ambassador

The application can be found below!

☐ Complete and pass a criminal background check, as requested by UNC-CH, before you can host students in your lab.

This will be completed after you apply to SAS.

After receiving your interest email and application, we will send you detailed instructions to complete the background check once we prepare for the next visit.

Our program will fund the background check.


Our application is always open!

We hope you consider applying to Shadow A Scientist!

This application includes information we will use on our website for our scientist bios!

Have a profile photo ready to upload when submitting the application form!

Apply Here Today!

Current opportunities

There are multiple volunteer roles you can choose from!

Host students in your lab

Eat lunch with the students

Present your science and scientific career path

Answer questions on our Ask A Scientist panel

Frequently Asked Questions

We welcome UNC-CH scientists who are graduate students, post-docs, or technicians! If you have a specific question, please email us!

Students ranging between middle to high school will arrive on the UNC-CH campus and be split into small groups of 1-3 students based on their scientific interests. Students will be escorted to one or more research labs where they will interact with you for approximately 1 to 2 hours. Following their visit, all students will gather for a group discussion and Q&A panel with scientists at various stages in their careers.

Currently, we ask that our science ambassadors volunteer to host if available to increase the chance that students can be paired by their scientific interests. However, we will intentionally rotate our volunteers over the course of each visit so that all of our ambassadors get an equal chance to serve as a science ambassador. Ultimately, our ambassadors will host approximately 1-2 times a semester.

We have a few ideas for the shadowing experience!

Explain your research to the student and let them ask clarifying/follow-up questions

Tour the lab together (cold room, -80 freezer, autoclave, equipment room), and show them equipment that you use on a daily basis as well as for larger experiments

Illustrate how your data fits into the larger hypothesis and even show them some of your recent most data

Introduce them to other members of your lab

Answer their questions about research and your path to college and graduate school

Let the student observe one of your experiments (in example, setting up a protein gel, performing a DNA transformation, looking at cells under a microscope)!


Good question! Students are NOT allowed to handle any lab equipment as per EHS guidelines. This includes things like pipettes, Eppendorf tubes,  fridges, buffers, drawers, computers… All students are highly encouraged to wear gloves and all other PPE, though!


For the most part, yes! We definitely encourage group photos and want everyone to remember their visit!

However, we have a strict policy against photographing animal research.

Prior to visiting the lab, we will explicitly mention to the teachers and students that they are not allowed to take photos of any animal research. We will also ensure all participants know to first ask permission before taking a photo while in the lab, as well.

This is a great question. We are very conscious of the safety of visiting minor students and we have multiple measures in place to account for their safety.

Shadow A Scientist has been in contact with EHS since the inception of our program and have received approval from EHS along with support from the Director and Associate Dean of Graduate Education.

Our science ambassador volunteers are required to undergo a criminal background and sex offender registry check. In addition, all volunteers have mandatory online training modules that they complete. Furthermore, we have an emergency response plan in the case of any campus-wide emergency. We have approval for our program through EHS and we register each trip that involves minors with the Protection of Minors Office at UNC. Additionally, we have waivers and photo release forms that must be completed by the volunteers or, if they are minors, their parents.

Lastly, students are NOT allowed to handle any lab equipment as per EHS guidelines while visiting campus with Shadow A Scientist. This includes things like pipettes, Eppendorf tubes,  fridges, buffers, drawers, computers… All students are highly encouraged to wear gloves and all other PPE, though!