Malott Family Research Apprenticeship Program

Malott Family Research Apprenticeship Program

Mondays-Fridays June 24-August 9, Orientation: Saturday, June 8

9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.


The Malott Family Research Apprenticeship Program provides Chicago high school students with the opportunity to work alongside zoo researchers and engage in authentic scientific research. During the seven-week paid program, apprentices work with researchers in one of the zoo’s science centers, learn more about this career path, and gain experience in conservation research activities. The program provides apprentices with support to fully integrate the experience into their academic goals, career plans, and areas of personal strength.

The application for summer 2024 opens February 1 and closes March 11. No applications will be accepted after the March 11 deadline.


More Information


To qualify, applicants must:

  • Be a City of Chicago resident.
  • Be entering grades 11–12 or their freshman year of college in fall 2024.
  • Be 16–18 years old by June 8, 2024.
  • 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.


Apprentices must be available for orientation on June 8 and all days of training. Planned absences that do not occur during training, and which 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 apprentice would miss too many events and activities.

The program does not run July 4–5.

Want To Learn More?

  • Adler Planetarium is hosting a virtual opportunity fair on Saturday, February 3 from 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. via Zoom. At this event, teens can learn more about summer opportunities at Adler Planetarium, Lincoln Park Zoo, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and more! Register for the opportunity fair here:
  • Lincoln Park Zoo is hosting an in-person job fair at the zoo on Saturday, March 2 from 1–3 p.m. Attendees will find out about internships, jobs, and volunteering at the zoo. Learn more and sign up here.
  • If you plan on applying to any of the summer opportunities at Lincoln Park Zoo and are interested in learning more about how to submit a high-quality application, we are planning to hold several virtual help sessions based on demand. Please email to express interest.


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Will I work with animals?

No. Apprentices do not work directly with animals. However, projects will directly relate to animals and will involve activities such as observing animals in their natural and/or zoo habitats. Apprentices may also experience special opportunities, like behind-the-scenes tours and presentations from zoo professionals, to learn more about zoo career paths.

What kinds of research projects can I expect to be working on over the summer?

Recent apprentices have worked with zoo researchers in the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute and the Population Management Center.

Will there be an interview?

In March, invited applicants will come to the zoo for a half-day group interview. You’ll get to see animals, meet zoo staff, network with fellow applicants, and tell us why you’re excited about this position.

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 Friday, March 29, 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 apprentices to the zoo and zoo animals.

What do I need to participate?

Because the Malott Family Research Apprenticeship Program is an in-person program, participants will need a reliable way to reach the zoo each day.

COVID-19 vaccinations are required for all zoo staff and volunteers, including teen interns. If you are selected for the program, proof of vaccination must be provided in order to participate.


To learn more about the Malott Family Research Apprenticeship Program, please email

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