Jada Hester, Langdon Ogburn and Steven Kostello listen intently as Chris Meyer demonstrates how to speak into a microphone.

“You want to talk deeper than the way you talk,” explains Meyer. “I call it your DJ voice.”

Hester, Ogburn and Kostello, Triangle-area high school students, aren’t aspiring DJs. They’re part of a new program launched this summer by the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences to produce science-oriented video on a level that hopefully will appeal to their piers.

“Research is showing that kids are losing interest in the science fields,” explains Tamara Poles, the museum’s coordinator of virtual education who is pioneering the Teen TV program with Meyer, operations manager of the museum’s Digital Media Group. “Girls in particular tend to lose interest around middle school.”

The Teen TV program, a collaboration with WRAL-TV, launched in August with an intensive four-day camp that had the students thrusting a microphone into the face of researchers at the Duke Lemur Center on Day 2.

“It all happened really fast,” says Hester, a sophomore at Wake Forest High School.

“It really put a lot of us out of our comfort zones,” adds Ogburn, a freshman at Raleigh Charter High School.

It happened fast because the program has ambitious goals. During this, the program’s first year, the 16 high school students selected for the program will spend two hours on the first and third Thursday of every month getting up to speed on video production and editing, and research and interviewing techniques. By the end of the school year their goal is to produce a pilot program that will lay the groundwork for 13 episodes to be shot in year two. Poles and Meyer say the eventual market for the pilot and subsequent episodes is yet to be determined, although they’d like to see the show air in local North Carolina TV markets.

Poles and Meyer conceived the program after discovering a mutual interest in getting kids more involved in science. Both have science backgrounds — Poles in biology, Meyer in marine science — and both are interested in media (Meyer went back and got a two-year degree from Horry Georgetown Community College in Myrtle Beach, S.C.).

Forty-nine high school students submitted applications for the program. The application process involved a video example of their work, two recommendations and an interview. Some came from performing arts backgrounds and were interested in being in front of the camera. Others were drawn by the subject matter.

“I care more about the science,” says Kostello, a junior at Millbrook High School. “The TV is cool and all, but for me it’s really about the science and getting the public aware.”

Fifteen of the students selected are from Triangle area high schools and one, Adam Wagner, is from Asheville. Wagner will Skype in on the Thursday meetings and will file clips relevant to the western part of the state.

It’s a substantial commitment — the teens sign on for two years — and because the program is new, they don’t receive high school credit for participating.

“We do it on top of theater and sports and clubs,” says Taryn Hoffman, a junior at Franklinton High School in Franklin County.

But they say their teachers have been very supportive of their extracurricular work — not to mention curious.

“The teachers seem very interested in the learning aspect of the program,” says Ogburn, who had to miss three days of school for the summer camp.

With their piers in mind, the Teen TV participants will use the museum’s vast network of resources to report on the science of North Carolina. The museum, which opened its new 80,000-square-foot Nature Resource Center last year and is the largest natural sciences museum in the Southeast, has a wide range of research partners, from N.C. State University to NASA. The museum is a science juggernaut in its own right.

“Not many people know this,” says Meyer, “but we’ve got 500 live animals. I believe that’s more than the North Carolina Zoo, only theirs are larger.”

The students will be given some assignments: all, for instance, covered the annual BugFest celebration in late September. But for the most part they will identify topics and  interview researchers about their work. The 15 local students will break into three teams of five, each responsible for producing 2- to 3-minute segments. What doesn’t make it into the pilot will be entered into a database, available to the public on the museum’s website.

Meyer says he is impressed by the Teen TV recruits and is excited to see what they come up with.

“At the end of a program during camp,” Meyer says, “one student raised his hand and asked, ‘Why is this relevant?’ And then he said, ‘We should have a segment on the show called, Why is it relevant?’

“I thought that was great,” Meyer adds, “a segment that ties in the relevance of science — Why is this important?”

The Teen TV pilot episode is scheduled to be completed in June 2014.