Teen Work-Study

Shedd is looking for bright, outgoing and motivated teens for our work-study program, either in the summer or on weekends during the school year. 

Applicants should possess or want to develop strong communication skills and a connection to Shedd's collection and mission, and have a desire to work in a team environment interacting with the public. This is a professional paid work experience.

Three categories are available to students: gardening (Green Gardeners), guest experience (Shedd Ambassadors), and interpretation (Young Naturalists).

Green Gardeners (Summer Only)

Individuals interested in gardening will work with Shedd's horticulturalist to maintain the aquarium's award-winning gardens. These teens will also be given techniques and tools they can use to connect guests to conservation messages and sustainable practices while in the gardens and aquarium's exhibits.

Shedd Ambassadors

Individuals interested in the guest services aspect of an aquarium will work with Shedd's guest experience staff to master unique customer-service techniques incorporating the aquarium's mission in everyday actions. They will gain insight into the professional skills, problem-solving techniques and fast-paced approaches that are needed to ensure a positive guest experience and a fulfilling on-the-job experience.

Young Naturalists

Individuals interested in sharing animal information with guests will work with Shedd's guest engagement staff to learn the art of connection with guests while in Shedd's exhibits. They will facilitate theme-based interpretation, play engagements and other education experiences.

Teen Work Study is generously supported by JPMorgan Chase & Co.


Registration is now closed.

Fall program registration will open in late summer.

Age and Requirements

Applicants must be enrolled in high school at the time of the program (minimum of 15 years old). A work permit is not needed to apply. 

A work permit is required for accepted applicants who are 15 years old.

Program Dates

March 18 – Applications Due
April 21 & 22 – Interviews
May 27 – Orientation
June – Field Trip
August 6 – Final Event

Hours and Schedules

During the fall and spring seasons, participants work Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. During the summer season, participants work three days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Program Outcomes

Every Shedd program is evaluated so we never stop learning from you. Here’s what we’ve learned from our participants about our Teen Work-Study:  

• It’s all a matter of interpretation—teen staff and guests learn together in Shedd’s exhibits.

• Teens feel confident leading guests to appreciate and explore all Shedd has to offer.

• Teens emerge as professionals, thanks to new skills that extend beyond Shedd and into their futures.

What our participants had to say

I love working at Shedd because my summer has a benefit to society. Working here promotes conservation and saving natural resources. I can be a part of so much more than a building with fish, and I'm so proud!"