The assistantship program is for recent high school and 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 or college graduate
  • have participated in at least two other programs with Shedd Aquarium
  • be available to work part-time from June 3 through Aug, 12, 2018
  • submit a completed application by Feb. 23, 2018

Great Lakes Action Days Assistantships (2)

The Great Lakes Action Days assistantship participants will help with implementation of Great Lakes awareness activities as well as become familiar with Shedd's sustainability initiatives. Responsibilities will include assisting with, planning, and executing Great Lakes Action Days (an average of one to two times a week), assisting in research and writing for social media and blog posts (related to Great Lakes, sustainable seafood and sustainability) and producing background research on Great Lakes and sustainability current events/news.

Learning Programs assistantships (2)

The Learning Programs assistantship participants will focus on two of Shedd’s summer programs, Summer Road Trip and Summer Worlds Tour. 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 ultimately 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 space. This will include assisting with programming and project development around teen interest-driven work. This will also include the maintenance and upkeep of 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 non-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 two of Shedd’s Extraordinary Experiences, Penguin Encounters and Behind the Scenes Tours, as well as traditional exhibit interpretation. After becoming skilled in facilitating these engagements, this person will have a chance to explore and pilot opportunities to enhance them through additional props and strategies.


Applications for Summer 2018 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 1, 2018, through August 12, 2018. 


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!


Stay up-to-date with Shedd news

Sign up for Shedd's email newsletter to be the first to know what's happening at the aquarium, including unique events, behind-the-scenes updates, and exclusive offers.


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.”