Volunteer Opportunities

Please note: OHSU’s COVID-19 Immunization and Education policy is in effect as of Oct. 18, 2021. Visitors and volunteers who have an in-person experience at OHSU must be fully vaccinated (14 days after last dose). Exception requests from visitors and volunteers will not be accepted. Please be prepared to provide proof of vaccination, or to receive a Covid-19 vaccination, as a requirement for onboarding for your in-person experience at OHSU. You will not be allowed to participate within OHSU if you are not compliant with this policy.

Science Ambassadors is a STEM mentorship program that provides students with the opportunity to grow both scientifically and socially. 20 high school students and 16 fifth-grader “mentees” are selected to participate in this program each year.

High school students meet weekly throughout the school year to learn about cutting- edge science from ONPRC scientists and to develop lessons and hands-on activities that convey the excitement and wonder of science to 5th graders from the Beaverton School District. During this process, students gain valuable organizational and social skills, in addition to learning about the latest biomedical research at a world-class research facility.

Monthly Meeting Overview: Each month, mentors hear from a Center scientist about his/her work. Other meetings are dedicated to planning and implementing both hands-on science activities and social interaction activities for the 5th graders, who join the group for the last two meetings each month.

Leadership Opportunity! Four high school students are selected by their peers to serve as Student Directors each year. These students assume additional duties, including work outside of the regular meeting times. All Science Ambassador mentors must be responsible and highly motivated. (High school student mentor commitment is for a minimum of one school year.)

Application Information: Updated application materials for mentors and mentees are made available by mid-September each year. The application deadline for mentors is generally during the 3rd week of October each year; mentee applications are due the following week. Exact deadlines will appear on application materials.

2022-2023 Mentor Meeting Schedule
2022-2023 Mentee Meeting Schedule

High School Application Materials:

5th Grader Application Materials:

The Oregon National Primate Research Center attracts over 3000 visitors each year. Visitors include educational groups, civic groups, and members of the general public who are over the age of 10. Although long experience tells us that the best experience for visitors occurs when the group size is no larger than 24, the reality is that, due to school funding issues, the groups that visit the Center are frequently much larger than this. In order to give every visitor the best possible experience, large groups are divided into smaller, more intimate groups. This is where the ONPRC Docent Program comes in.


What is a docent?

The word “docent” comes from the Latin word docere, which means “to teach.” ONPRC Docents lead tours of the Primate Center, pointing out areas of interest, answering questions, and generally serving as a vital link between the Center and the public.

Duties of an ONPRC Docent

ONPRC Docents are expected to:

  • Present accurate information on the history, mission, and current research being conducted at the Center
  • Support Center rules and regulations pertaining to visitors
  • Communicate directly with visitors of all ages, backgrounds and levels of ability
  • Attend monthly training sessions
  • Maintain an attitude of flexibility and respect in all relationships with visitors, staff, and peers
  • Be prompt and reliable in reporting for scheduled work and training sessions
  • Record and report all hours of volunteer services
  • Wear a nametag during meetings, training sessions, and while representing the Primate Center in any official capacity

Qualifications of an ONPRC Docent

The ONPRC Docent Program is open to all persons who are 21 years of age and older. All docents must pass a background check, provide yearly proof of a negative PPD (test for tuberculosis), and complete required training and coursework related to animal care and personal safety.

Additional qualifications include:

  • Strong interest in science
  • An understanding of the importance of biomedical research
  • Ability to learn accurate, detailed information and present it effectively to visitors
  • Friendly, patient, and courteous manner
  • Ability to walk and stand for long periods of time
  • Ability to walk up stairs
  • Comfortable speaking to groups
  • Good oral communication skills; clear, strong speaking voice
  • Professional manner and neat appearance


Training occurs during the monthly meeting and “on the job.” Monthly meetings feature presentations by Center researchers, and also time to talk about general information about the history and current status of biomedical research, the various research programs currently underway at the Center, as well as presentation techniques, public speaking tips, and general visitor information.


Please direct your questions about the ONPRC Docent Program to Kayla McDaniel, at 503-346-5055 or mcdankay@ohsu.edu

If you have questions about volunteering at the ONPRC, please contact Kayla McDaniel at mcdankay@ohsu.edu or 503-346-5055.

*Note that volunteers are not permitted access to non-human primates.