Michelle Sattler

Senior Aquarist

An aquarium professional with two decades of experience, Sattler joined Shedd in 2002 and is responsible for ensuring that freshwater and marine aquatic animals are well cared for through good nutrition and proper medical care. Her job also includes collection planning and acquiring new animals.

Sattler leads a team of five full-time employees and more than 30 volunteers. A certified scuba and PADI rescue diver, she has traveled with Shedd on fish-collecting trips in the Bahamas and also participated on iguana research expeditions. In addition to overseeing the galleries, Sattler is currently working on a training program for a Shedd icon, the rescued female green sea turtle, Nickel, who lives in the Caribbean Reef. The turtle's training includes operant conditioning, making it easier for staff members and the turtle when veterinary procedures are required.

From a young age, Sattler always knew she wanted to work for an aquarium or zoo. Before joining Shedd as collections manager, she was also a volunteer and intern. She has also worked in aquariums, sea parks and home aquarium services. She worked at the Sea Life Park Hawaii as curator of fsh and reptiles and was an aquarist at the Mystic Marine Life Aquarium in Connecticut.

Sattler is a United States Navy veteran who served from 1980 to 1984. She left the Navy as a petty officer, second class. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Southern Illinois University.


Michelle Sattler
One of the best parts of my job is participating in the Bahamas collecting trips aboard the R/V Coral Reef II. Diving the open ocean in itself is transformative, but to couple that with an activity such as collecting animals for our exhibits is extremely fulfilling. Every dive increases my comfort level and hones my skills underwater, which is a great feeling!