Crowned lemur in exhibit Crowned lemur in exhibit

Malott Family Zoo Intern Program

Calendar Icon Mondays–Fridays
Clock Icon 10 a.m.–2 p.m. on Zoom


The Malott Family Zoo Intern Program provides Chicago high school students with the opportunity to learn about Lincoln Park Zoo while educating others about animal and conservation science. Interns will meet on Zoom for a four-week, paid program to learn informal education techniques, consider how to communicate conservation messages using digital platforms, and create a culminating project. Interns also meet with researchers and Animal Care staff to learn more about potential careers in the animal science and conservation fields.

Submit your application online in early 2022.

More Information


To qualify, an applicant must:

  • Be a City of Chicago resident
  • Be entering grades 10–12 or their freshman year of college in Fall 2021
  • *Be 15–18 years old by July 6, 2021
  • Be legally allowed to work in the United States
  • Have proof of identity and authorization to work in the U.S., in accordance with federal law.

*If hired, 15-year-old interns must obtain a student work permit. For more information, please contact your school or the Illinois Department of Labor.


Interns must be available for all days of training, which takes places during the first two weeks of the program. Planned absences that are not during training, and that have been discussed with a supervisor, are possible. However, long absences (such as a week-long family vacation) may disqualify a candidate from the program, as an intern would miss too many events and activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I work at the zoo?

The Zoo Intern Program will likely be conducted virtually to ensure the safety of the zoo community. Participants will use Zoom to receive training and conduct job duties. Participants without reliable access to the internet or a computer may request a device to use over the summer for free.

When will I work?

There will be two groups of interns in summer 2021. Depending on your availability, you may choose to work in:

  • ZIP A: July 6-July 30
  • ZIP B: July 6-10, August 2-20

Both groups will meet from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. This includes whole-group activities, breakout rooms with small groups, a 30-minute break for lunch, and independent work time.

Will I work with animals?

No. Interns do not work with animals. However, they may experience special online opportunities, like presentations from zoo professionals, to learn more about career paths associated with animals.

Will there be an interview?

In May, invited applicants will interview online with zoo staff. At this time, applicants will be asked to provide a current, unofficial school transcript.

Can I apply for multiple programs?

Yes! Applicants can apply to every program simultaneously. Please note: Eligibility requirements vary between programs.

How will I know if I’ve been accepted?

We will contact all applicants via email by the end of May, whether or not they have been selected for an interview.

Do I need to know a lot about animals beforehand?

No! Training is provided at the beginning of the program to introduce interns to the zoo and zoo animals.

What do I need to participate?

Because ZIP will be a remote program in 2021, participants will need reliable access to WI-FI and a laptop or similar device. If you do not have access to these tools, you may borrow them from Lincoln Park Zoo for free! Borrowing devices such as laptops or hot spots from Lincoln Park Zoo will be completely confidential.