Volunteer Opportunities in Birmingham, AL
We believe that science is for everyone and want to create a world where everyone can use science to improve and enrich their lives and communities. Our volunteers are an integral part of our mission through the facilitation of STEM programming in an inclusive and engaging way and through behind-the-scenes maintenance and care. Check out our volunteer opportunities below and apply today to join a team of passionate individuals and share your love of STEM with others.
Adult Volunteer Program
We offer a variety of rewarding volunteer experiences for adults who want to give back to their community, learn something new, and share their knowledge with visitors. Check out our opportunities below.
Interpreters present hands-on activities at stations throughout the science center and enhance visitor interaction with our exhibits. Interpreters should have good communication and interpersonal skills, a desire to learn, and a willingness to work with visitors of all ages. We expect a volunteer commitment of 8 hours/month.
Docents engage visitors through hands-on science activities and exhibit interpretation as well as presentations of public programs like Combustion, Animal Encounters, and Engineering Design Challenges. Docents should have significant experience in a STEM field including, but not limited to, graduate work and career experience, good communication and interpersonal skills, a desire to learn, and a willingness to work with visitors of all ages in small and large group settings. We expect a volunteer commitment of 12 volunteer hours/month.
Make a great first impression and help visitors navigate the science center. Visitor Experience Volunteers are stationed at our Info Desk, greeting visitors and providing answers to questions about McWane as well as the metro Birmingham area. Visitor Experience Volunteers should be approachable, friendly, and have excellent communication and customer service skills. We expect a volunteer commitment of 8 volunteer hours/month.
Aquarist Volunteers assist in the maintenance of fresh and saltwater fish, invertebrates, and reptile species, as well as the life-support systems that keep our World of Water afloat. They learn daily, weekly, and monthly husbandry duties required to sustain our aquatic collection and keep the exhibits looking great. Aquarist Volunteers should be self-motivated with a desire to learn and a willingness to get wet and dirty while cleaning the tanks and preparing food. Aquarist Volunteers should also be able to stand, stoop, or kneel for extended periods of time as well as lift 20 lbs. We expect a volunteer commitment of 100 hours of service over one year.
Can’t make a monthly commitment but want to get involved? Volunteer to help with special days and events like LEGO Day, Maker Day, or McWane After Dark, our adults-only nights. McWane has a variety of one-time events that are all a little different. Spontaneous Science Volunteers assist with the setup and breakdown of events, help facilitate science activities, and more! The flexible time commitment makes this a great option for anyone with busy or unpredictable schedules.
Teen Volunteer Program
McWane Science Center’s Teen Volunteer Program offers year-round volunteer opportunities for teens who are interested in giving back, learning something new, and being part of an incredible team of young people. You can find Teen Volunteers inspiring and impacting the lives of local youth in Summer and Winter Camps where they act as models and mentors guiding young campers in STEM-related activities. You can also find them presenting hands-on science activities for our public audiences. Teen Volunteers gain valuable experience in public speaking, customer service, and leadership.
Are you looking for a meaningful way to spend your summer? Share your passion for science in our Summer Teen program. Students completing 8th–12th grade will apply for the Teen Program and students completing 6th–7th grade will apply for the Junior Teen Program. Summer Teen Volunteers are chosen based on their completed application, résumé, two letters of recommendation, and an interview.
Our School Year Teen Program is a great first step for teens 14 and older who want to enter our volunteer program. This program runs from September to May with a rolling admission process. Applications are reviewed, interviews are set, and orientations are scheduled monthly. School Year Teens are expected to volunteer a minimum of 8 hours a month for at least 5 months.
Group Volunteer Program
Is your group looking for opportunities to get involved in your community? McWane Science Center has volunteer projects that are perfect for companies, research teams, parent-teacher groups, professional organizations, and more. Check out our opportunities below and apply now!
Note: Please elect one member of your group to serve as the primary contact person. This person should submit the application on behalf of the group and will act as the liaison between the group and McWane.
Armed with cleaning cloths and the occasional toothbrush, volunteer groups help keep our exhibit halls spick and span (and de-stickered).
Group cleanings are available at the following times:
- Weekdays: 7:00 – 9:30 am
- Saturdays: 8:00 – 10:30 am
- Sundays: 10:00 – 12:00 pm
Cleaning supplies are provided. Volunteers should wear comfortable clothing.
Does your group want to help with McWane events and special days like National Engineers Week, Astronomy Day, or Beaker Bash? Each event is a little different, but volunteers will interact with guests and help with activities. Volunteer Services holds a training session at the start of each event.
Want to stimulate interest, showcase relevance, and increase awareness of the science behind your profession? In Corporate Takeover, your group will take over one of our activity stations to facilitate activities that relate to the science in your field. Your group can bring your own outreach program or materials, or we can partner with you to develop a program demonstrating the relevance of your field from a STEM perspective.
Includes an initial planning meeting prior to the day of service.