Teen Work-Study

Shedd is very excited to offer another season of our summer work study program starting this coming May 2017. This session will run on weekdays and weekends through mid-August.

Shedd is looking for bright, outgoing and motivated teens for our work-study program. 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.

Four categories are available to students: guest experience (Shedd Ambassadors), interpretation (Young Naturalists), horticulture (Green Gardeners), or a re-hire only track (Teen Lab Reporters).

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 learning experiences.

Green Gardeners

Green Gardeners will learn about sustainable gardening and assist in maintaining the aquarium’s various gardens.  In addition to this, Green Gardeners will provide active interpretation to connect guests to conservation messages and sustainable practices while in the gardens or in the aquarium’s exhibits.

Teen Lab Reporters

Individuals interested in the Teen Lab Reporter track must have already completed one season of work-study in another track. Teen Lab Reporters interpret at posts that help connect guests to stories of how teens have supported Shedd's animals and staff. Reporters will also work in Shedd’s Teen Learning Lab to create compelling digital narratives of what is possible for teens at Shedd Aquarium. 

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


Applications for the Summer 2017 season are now closed. Please check back here for the 2017-18 School Year applications in June.

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

Friday, Feb. 24: Applications Due
Tuesday, April 4: Interviews (evening hours)
Wednesday, April 5: Interviews (evening hours)
Wednesday, May 24: New Employee Orientation (evening hours)
Saturday, June 3: Field Trip
Saturday, June 17: Training
Saturday, June 24: Training
Tuesday, June 27: Training
Wednesday, June 28: Training
Thursday, June 29: Training 
Wednesday, Jul. 26: Field Trip|
Thursday, Aug. 10: End of Season Celebration

Hours and Schedules

During the fall and spring seasons, participants work Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. During the summer season, participants work three days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Take an inside look!

Want to learn more? Watch a video about our Teen Work Study program!

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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!"

“I learned that I fit into a program where it takes a lot of people working together to accomplish a common goal. Everyone has different strengths and if we combine them all, we can accomplish anything.”

“This really added to my understanding of animal behavior (which includes their eating nuances, training behavior, etc.) and of the practices at Shedd to monitor and maintain animal health.”