Life Sciences Career Lab

Program Description

Are you a young person who is interested in a career in science? Do you want to explore your interests with like-minded students every Saturday at The Buffalo Zoo? If so, our Life Science Career Lab program might be a perfect fit for you!

This is an eight-week, career-based educational program for teens in grades 9-12. This program provides in-depth, hands on experiences for those who have a serious interest in life science careers (e.g. biology, zookeeping, science education, conservation, veterinary science, etc.) but who may have limited opportunities to gain exposure to these careers. Workshops will focus on a different life science career each week. Students will encounter career-related activities, talk with and learn from a professional in that field, and get hands-on experience with that career.

This program provides a safe space to explore one’s interest in science, while also providing support as students learn professional development skills like public speaking, professional communication, collaborating with peers, adding new skills to a resume, and presenting research information. The goal is for students to spend 8 weeks learning from each other and established professionals in the scientific field, developing their unique voice and perspective, immersing themselves in their pre-existing interests, and perhaps finding new ones!

Only 15 students will be selected for this program, to ensure that all students have the attention and individual support they need to thrive. Students who successfully complete the eight-week program will be awarded a $450 Visa gift card and have the opportunity to showcase final projects to friends, family, and the zoo community at a special event to be held at the Buffalo Zoo on December 16th, 2023. In addition, two participants will be offered a paid Buffalo Zoo internship at the end of the program, to be completed in the Spring of 2024.

Applicants will be accepted based on the quality of their application. The Life Science Career Lab has very limited space available and we will only accept fifteen participants every year. The small group size ensures that all participants have ample opportunity for individual attention, mentorship, and one-on-one guidance.

Program Details

What: STEM career exploration program

Who:  9th–12th graders

Where:  The Buffalo Zoo

When:  Every Saturday October 21–December 16 (excluding November 25 due to Thanksgiving)

Time:  9:00 am–1:00 pm

Cost:  Chosen participants will receive a $450 VISA gift card upon successful completion of program

How: Submit application via the Google Form link here

To be eligible for program participation, you must:

— Be in 9th–12th grade

— Live in Erie County

— Show a demonstrated interest in science

— Provide at least one letter of recommendation from a trusted adult in your life who is NOT a family member

— Show a negative result on a PPD Tuberculosis skin test

— Be available 9:00 am–1:00 pm on ALL 8 Saturdays of the program (October 21 and 28, November 4, 11, and 18*, and December 2, 9, and 16)

*Skip November 25 due to Thanksgiving


APPLICATIONS ARE ACCEPTED THROUGH FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6. Your application will not be considered complete until we receive your letter(s) of recommendation. Chosen applicants will be notified of their acceptance by Tuesday, October 10. Prior to the start of the program, the Buffalo Zoo must receive negative results on a PPD Tuberculosis skin test.



This program was created for high schoolers to help address the lack of diverse representation in the life  sciences, both at the academic and professional level. The education department at the Buffalo Zoo is strongly committed to assuring our student body reflects the beautiful diversity of our local community. All students who have an interest in science are strongly encouraged to apply, especially those who belong to groups that are traditionally underrepresented in STEM. Some of these groups include:

— Black, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander students

— LGBTQIA students

— Students with disabilities

— Neurodivergent students

— Students who come from an economically disadvantaged background

— First generation immigrant, and/or refugee students

— Students who speak English as their second language