Teen Leader Alumni

“Getting a glimpse at a variety of different speakers’ interests and all the amazing things that are out there in this world to be explored or worked on. “

“ So just knowing that these things are out there, and I can do them, huge …. Because, I mean, I came from a lower economic background and that just didn’t seem possible….”

“For me it was the topics and the format and how it was very intimate, and everybody could kind of ask questions and have conversation, that was really nice.”

“That exposure, it was life changing for me, honestly.”

I didn’t know a lot before [the program], and now I’m in grad school for chemistry and that definitely made it seem tangible…I think that definitely affected my career path.…

“For me the casual atmosphere with a scientific professional, with someone who was an expert in their field, made the science and the idea of actually becoming a scientist far more tangible for me.”

“[The teen science café program] definitely influenced my decision to pursue research opportunities in college, first working as a lab assistant and then conducting my own research for my thesis.”

“… being able to research things on my own are important, feasible, doable things.”

“…really care about understanding the basics of science or staying literate or being able to read the news and know what they’re talking about,…”

“Being able to get my hands really on it rather than just the theory of it was a really big game changer for me.”


“It helped me to put many of my ideas in a form understandable by teenagers and the general public.”

“…retrained me in communicating science discovery and challenges to non-experts.”

“…reinvigorated my interest in … stimulating thought and interest among the next generation of scientific leaders.”

“This program provided a wonderful opportunity to do both contextualize and communicate a grand technical challenge….”

“…the Cafe experience very helpful as it forced me to focus on the really basic elements of my research and how to communicate them.”

“… the whole process and interacting with the youth was very enjoyable.”

“It was a pleasure sharing my life and my work experience to the young and very enthusiastic [teens]….”

“…taught me a lot about giving a technical presentation to a non-technical audience.”

“It helped me to understand how the next generation of adults will think about issues in which science intersects with public policy.”

“…important for scientists to get out of the safety zone of jargon and be forced to explain what they do in more general terms.”

Teen Café Attendees

I think it is important to be a well-informed citizen.

“I enjoyed learning new things and then learning how they are applicable in the world.”

“Since the Café, I see science everywhere, at the store, on the street, and in the park.”

“Wow, we did an experiment like that in physics last week….I did not realize that you use the same approach to build things that matter, like the MagViz machine.”

I thought chemists just mixed chemicals together all day. I had no idea a chemist would do something like this.

“I now consider multiple perspectives before making up my mind.”

“I think one of the key things is having those great scientists … come in and really be engaged.”

“… having access to the scientists who are really hands-on, really engaged, really want to reach out to the community [is critical].”

“I would like to have more information on establishing a Teen Science Cafe in the Waco area. My daughter has really missed this wonderful program [due to the coronavirus] this last year.”

Adult Leaders

“After attending the TSCN conference I feel more confident about how to run a successful cafe.”

“This is our first program that offers this age group a short, casual way to engage in STEM learning and careers. This introductory experience is critical as we work to build our teen programming in general.”

“In working with the presenters, writing announcements, planning and administering hands-on activities, and emceeing the café events, our Café Coordinator group truly makes these programs a by-teens, for-teens experience. They develop valuable leadership and career skills including public speaking, event coordination, education, customer service and much more. They develop a deep appreciation for science communication and it has been a privilege to watch these students grow, push themselves beyond their comfort zones, develop confidence and delve deeper into their scientific interests.”

“We are very excited not only about the program concept but the support and opportunities to receive suggestions along the way – that is invaluable!”

“I love it! In general, it’s fantastic. Attending the workshop in Albuquerque last year was a marvelous boost.”

“We feel confident that our Cafes increase student’s competence in and enthusiasm for science.”

“Exposure to a wide variety of research and science careers has been shown to increase interest in pursuing a STEM career or academic track.”

“I feel our program has become an important and inherent part of our small, rural museum and community.”

“The Teen Leaders had a great time and I could see individual improvement in various skills.”

“I feel very positive about Teen Science Cafe at [our museum]. It’s one of the programs I most enjoy and feel very proud to be a part of it.”