Youth Development

Our café programs allows high school teens to explore science and technology that is changing their world. The Cafés help teens develop a better understanding of science and become inspired by stories of real scientists: how they became interested in science, how they found a research topic, how they make discoveries, and how they push the scientific frontiers.


Teen Leaders from Open Minds Teen Science Café in Raleigh, NC

The Teen Leadership Team:
An Opportunity for YOU? If you want to learn leadership and communication skills, get involved in the community, meet peers and scientists, gain confidence speaking in front of your peers, and create a program that explores areas of science of interest to YOU… then the Teen Leadership Team is for YOU! Complete your application!

What is a Leader and Why Improve Your Leadership Skills?
Accountable, proactive, team-oriented, goal-oriented, supportive, engaged, adaptable, trustworthy, responsible, reliable, alert, authentic, clear, communicative, approachable, collaborative, motivating…. These are some qualities of a good leader. Leadership skills are important in every aspect of your academic, personal, and work life. They allow you the confidence to raise your hand, to volunteer, to take charge, to get things done, and to get noticed. If you are a good leader, doors will open, opportunities will present themselves, and you will achieve and inspire.

Leadership Skill Development through the Teen Leadership Team
Great leadership skills come, as anything else, with practice. The Teen Leadership Team provides an opportunity to learn, to practice, and to improve leadership skills.

Café Leadership: Teen Leaders plan every aspect of each Café and carry through with their responsibilities to run each Café. Teen Leaders take ownership of the Café program in their town by brainstorming ideas and making decisions to create the experience and atmosphere they want, within a budget. The success of each program is the result of the Teen Leaders working together and taking initiative to carry out their vision.

Broader Leadership: Teen Leaders have opportunities to practice leadership skills locally, statewide, and nationwide. In August, Café Scientifique hosts a Leadership Training Day for all of New Mexico’s Teen Leadership Teams to learn what it means to be a leader and to start the orientation process for the new leadership team. Statewide, we are looking for experienced Teen Leaders to help organize and lead this training day. Café Scientifique New Mexico is also part of a larger Teen Science Café Network ( and opportunities exist to connect, learn, and lead through the nationwide network of Teen Leaders.

Below are eight leadership skills that Teen Leaders will develop throughout the year, and the Café roles that help to develop and strengthen each of these leadership skills.

Roles: Introducing the presenter; interviewing the presenter; leading or assisting the presenter with the hands-on activity; closing the Café, raffle drawing, and thank-you to the presenter.

Roles: Promoting the Café at school and around town by creating and/or distributing flyers, posting to social media, scheduling announcements at school, and reaching out to teachers and clubs; posting events and post-event wrap-ups to social media; creating a welcoming environment at the Café, greeting and engaging all attendees and staffing the welcome table.



Teen Leaders from across New Mexico work on an ice breaker before the 2015 Leadership Workshop

Roles: Mingling with all attendees during the social time before the program; greeting and engaging the speaker before the Café.

Roles: Photographing or videotaping during the Café; creating engaging videos that capture the Café experience; setting up the projector, sound system, computer, and other technology.

Roles: Planning, budgeting, and in some cases purchasing and transporting food to the Café; arranging chairs and tables for audience, for the welcome table, and for the food table; keeping track of time and keeping the Café on track.

Roles: Researching and identifying topics and speakers for the upcoming Café season; collecting comment cards at the Café and assessing to identify strengths and weaknesses; gathering feedback from the Teen Leadership Team after each café and documenting what went well and what needed improvements.

Roles: Coming up with new features for your Café to enrich the Café experience for participants and presenters alike, then sharing such innovations with Café programs across New Mexico and in the Teen Science Café Network.

Roles: Collaborating with other Team members in carrying out Teen Leadership Team responsibilities; taking responsibility for training other Teen Leaders in acquired skills.