The assistantship program is for recent high school graduates, college students and recent college graduates who have previously participated in Shedd Aquarium programs. During this paid experience, participants work alongside Shedd Aquarium professionals. Positions are available in several departments, offering a variety of focus areas and responsibilities that allow participants to gain real-world hands-on professional experience.

All assistantship participants will have the opportunity to work with Shedd staff members and interact with other professionals through career workshops, trainings and field trips.

Note: This program typically does not include opportunities for animal contact.

To apply to the summer assistantship program, you must

  • be a recent high school graduate, current college student, or recent college graduate
  • have participated in at least two other programs with Shedd Aquarium
  • be available to work part-time from June 10 through Aug. 9, 2019
  • submit a completed application by April 26, 2019

Conservation Stewardship Assistantships (2)

Conservation Stewardship assistantships will help facilitate Shedd’s Great Lakes Action Day (GLAD) program, which includes activities such as beach and river cleanups, habitat restoration and citizen science projects. The program serves a wide audience ranging from young children to adults and hosts workdays for various groups, such as corporate teams, schools and community organizations. Primary responsibilities include assisting with and implementing GLADs (an average of two to three times a week) and will often require working Saturdays. Additional responsibilities include supply management, data entry and supporting-program development. Conservation stewardship assistantships will spend most of their time working outside. They can expect to gain in-depth knowledge of local ecosystems and develop strong leaderships skills.

Learning Programs assistantships (2)

Learning Programs assistantship participants will focus on three of Shedd’s summer programs, Camp Shedd: Summer Splash!, Summer Road Trip and Summer Worlds Tour. Camp Shedd: Summer Splash! is a camp for 5- to 11-year-olds that provides an up-close look and understanding of animals that live at Shedd. Summer Road Trip is a program for 11- to 14-year-olds that encourages exploration at Shedd and in the local environment. Summer Worlds Tour engages multiple groups of 5- to 10-year-olds with Shedd each week. Working closely with Shedd program instructors, the assistantship participant will help with program and activity preparation and work up to facilitating lesson components. This is an opportunity to gain experience working with children in a fun and fast-paced learning environment.

Teen Learning Lab assistantship (1)

The Teen Learning assistantship will assist with the day-to-day operations of the Teen Learning Lab. This will include assisting with programming and project development around teen interest-driven work. This will also include mentoring peers and maintaining a variety of technologies in the lab. Working closely with Teen Learning Lab staff, this assistantship will gain experience in curriculum design, educational technology and learner-driven project management.

Membership Assistantship (1)

The Membership assistantship will assist in the planning and execution of special members events, as well as gain an understanding of how fundraising and membership contribute to the overall success of the aquarium. This assistantship will have the opportunity to connect with members directly, face to face and over the phone, thanking them for their support and sharing Shedd stories to make a positive impact. A strong background in communication and interest in business, membership, fundraising, or not-for-profit management is preferred for this position.

Guest Engagement Assistantship (1)

The Guest Engagement assistantship will dive into the world of interpretation at Shedd and gain an understanding of how effective story-telling contributes to reaching our mission. This assistantship will focus on exhibit interpretation, specifically touch experiences and hands-on activities. After becoming skilled in facilitating these engagements, this person will have a chance to co-develop and pilot at least one new hands-on activity.


Applications for Summer 2019 season are now closed.


Applicants must be recent high school or college graduates and have participated in at least two previous programs with Shedd Aquarium. 


The summer season will run from June 10, 2019, through August 9, 2019. 


The time requirement is approximately 30 hours a week; schedules will vary depending on the assistantship position. 

On the Blog

Read a first-hand account of how the assistantship program impacted one participant's life!


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The combination of environmental science, public outreach, art and writing that my assistantship created has kindled a fire in me for connecting others to the environment in emotional and personal ways, and this knowledge of myself and my life goals has helped me research careers that will allow me to fulfill these goals...”


The assistantship gave me a great perspective on all of the teen programs that I participated in from an educator’s perspective. I understand how much effort goes into planning each and every day of every camp or program, and also how amazing it is to see the planning pay off. This experience is also the most future-relevant experience that I have ever had at Shedd, and like the other programs I’ve participated in, it provided me with so many more connections at the aquarium. It has broadened my network and my support group.”


I think this opportunity has really showed me what a people person I am, that I actually like talking in front of crowds, and that this is a great asset to have, and I should definitely utilize it! This assistantship has reassured me that I love working with teens/kids and that I am extremely passionate about the natural world. With this knowledge I hope to one day find a job where I can connect my passions.”