Anthony Banderas-Infante '26 recounts summer internship at D.C.'s KID Museum

Through the Cross Cultural Leadership Program (CCLP) run by the Institute of Latino Studies at Notre Dame, I was given the opportunity to intern at KID Museum this past summer. 

KID Museum, located in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington DC, describes itself as the "region’s pioneering experiential museum and educational makerspace" for children. It is a unique museum as it is generally only opens on Sundays but there are week-long programs held throughout the year. KID Museum also places a huge emphasis on diversity and equity, something I witnessed firsthand through working with students on Sundays.

For myself and the three other students who were part of the Washington, DC cohort, ILS took care of our housing and provided a stipend for transportation and food. 

CCLP DC 2023
(From left to right) Blas Guerrero, Bella Vasquez, Yamileth Lara, and Anthony Banderas-Infante in their CCLP housing in Washington, D.C.

There was also a class portion to CCLP with Dr. Karen Richman. Class meetings would take place every Tuesday, and our dicussions revolved around the various Latino/a/x communities located in the many cities in which CCLP participants were placed. 

Overall, the course was super impactful in teaching us about the past and present of Latino/a/x communities all around the United States. It was especially helpful to further develop a cultural understanding of the area in which I was placed.

On a national scale, the community I found the most interesting was the Los Angeles community, especially because it directly connected to the research I did for KID. I learned about the Chicano movement of the 1960s, and how activists challenged a schooling system that was essentially failing Latino students. For example, only 25% of Hispanic students in Los Angeles were graduating high school.

At KID, I was tasked with conducting research on the informal education sector, specifically informal STEM education. I found that informal STEM programs such as the ones run by KID have a positive impact on not only college attendance but also on post-graduation STEM engagement of minorities. This serves as a way to empower the Latino student community that was so deeply negatively impacted during the 1960s. Such history deeply resonates with me as a student in Mechanical Engineering.

CCLP DC Students with Mentor
CCLP DC Students on a cultural enrichment outing with their mentor Juan Rangel. (From left to right) Juan Rangel, Yamilteh Lara, Bella Vasquez, Anthony Banderas-Infante, Victor Gomez, Marcellus Wilson, Blas Gurrero, & Paola Ortiz.

I was also able to conduct my own internal research on STEM education using one of KID Museum’s very own programs, known as KID Inventors. After the program, students were given a survey to rate their overall experience. The prompt which stood out to me the most was, “With KID Museum, I think people like me can be scientists or engineers.” Of the students queried, 86% responded with yes. This shows just how impactful KID Inventors and other similar programs can be in giving under-resourced students a sense of agency.

With our wonderful DC mentor and Notre Dame alumnus, Juan Rangel, we were able to explore the Latin communities of Columbia Heights, Mount Pleasant, and Adams Morgan.

Through my experience at KID, I was able to develop connections and learn from so many different individuals. From educators to program developers, I was able to become a more well-rounded individual. I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunity to live in and be immersed in our nation's capital.

Special thanks to the Institute of Latino Studies' Paloma Garcia-Lopez and Dr. Karen Richman, as well as to Dorothy Jones-Davis, Chief Impact Officer of KID Museum and my main supervisor for the summer. Thanks to them for all their mentorship and support this summer.


Originally published by Anthony Banderas-Infante at on August 22, 2023.