Smithsonian Secretary's Youth Advisory Council

The Smithsonian Secretary’s Youth Advisory Council (SSYAC) was established by Secretary David Skorton as a way for the Smithsonian to gain advice from young people in the Washington, D.C., community and insight on how well it resonates with area youth.

The Smithsonian Secretary’s Youth Advisory Council ensures that the thoughts and ideas of the young people in our community help guide the important work we do at the Institution. By giving feedback directly to Smithsonian leadership on our programming and how we engage visitors, we can better involve this important group, and ensure we are doing all that we can to meet their needs.

The 2018-2019 council includes 10 teens who are high school juniors or seniors residing in the Washington, D.C. area, and 10 national teens who are recruited directly from five pre-selected Smithsonian Affiliates. The local Washington, D.C. teens meet at the Smithsonian in person, while the Affiliate teen members meet at the same time through video conference. Members of the council serve for one term (October 2018 to April 2019) with an option to serve a second term. There will be six official meetings during the 2018-2019 term, held on select Wednesdays from 4:00pm-6:00pm. Members must commit to attending all six meetings.

Please contact Tracie Spinale, Program Manager, with questions.

Local Washington, D.C.-area applications are being accepted July 16 through September 14, 2018. To apply, go to and register for an account. In SOLAA, select: Program Type: Internship Office/Museum: Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access; Program that you wish to apply for: Smithsonian Secretary’s Youth Advisory Council (Local Washington D.C. Metro-Area). The application requires a short essay and the name and e-mail of a teacher, school advisor, or community leader who will provide a recommendation letter by 9/14/2018. Only complete applications will be considered.