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The VolunTEEN program is for teen volunteers age 14-16 who are interested in discovering more about ocean science and conservation.

VolunTEENs build lifelong skills while contributing to marine science research in a rigorous 10 week volunteer program.

Youth between the ages of 14 and 16 are eligible to participate in this blended virtual and on-site volunteer program. After a competitive application process, selected participants will receive instruction on marine life and the Pacific Ocean. They will participate in community science at home and at the Aquarium of the Pacific. These hours do qualify for service learning, but the student gets so much more!

Participants will join a weekly zoom meeting for 10 weeks and participate in safe onsite activities during the course of the VolunTEEN program. The program includes ongoing training on marine science concepts, equity and diversity, citizen science, and more.

What do VolunTEENS do?

VolunTEENS are trained to interpret to our guests about the Aquarium, its inhabitants and ecosystem.

Participants will receive special instruction on many aspects of marine life and the Pacific Ocean; they will have a chance to learn from professionals in Marine Science careers and ask questions. At the end of their volunteer commitment, each student will have gained collaborative skills, critical thinking skills, teamwork skills and public speaking skills, as well as marine science knowledge incorporating NGSS.

At the end of the programs duration, VolunTEENs will produce a final presentation that exhibits what they have gained from this program. (bolded) VolunTEENS does not offer animal care or animal training opportunities.

Special Note: VolunTEENs will participate on site at the Aquarium of the Pacific on selected days, although the majority of the program will remain virtual. VolunTEENs must be able to physically attend the aquarium on November 7th and December 12th.

The VolunTEEN Program is a collaborative environment, and participants will be sharing their video, computer screens, and audio during zoom sessions with their peers. If video or audio cannot be regularly shared for any reason, please apply to an in-person VolunTEEN session in the future.


  • Have at least a 2.5 GPA
  • Be between the ages of 14 to 16
  • Complete an application
  • Submit a typed essay on why you should be selected for this program
  • Submit one letter of recommendation
  • Participate in an interview process
  • If accepted, complete the required training

To Apply

To submit a complete application you will need the following items:

  • A digital copy of your school transcripts
  • One Letter of Reference: The recommender should not be a person related to you. We recommend that you select someone who can speak to your interest in science or marine life. Feel free to have them write an individual statement.
  • A Personal Statement: Tell us in 300 to 400 words, why we should select you for this program. You should include personal attributes that will benefit the Aquarium and what you hope to gain from the experience. You are urged to be creative; let your personality show. Your essay must be double-spaced and in a legible font such as Arial, Tahoma or Times Roman.

Each of these items must be uploaded to your online application.

Spring 2022

  • 12/1/2021: Applications Open
  • 1/14/2022: Application Deadline
  • 1/19/22: Interviews at the Aquarium
  • 1/20/22: Interviews at the Aquarium
  • 2/5/22: Training Day (Saturday Team)
  • 2/6/22: Training Day (Sunday Team)
  • 2/26/22 – 5/15/22: Weekly shifts at the Aquarium on your assigned Weekend day


Volunteer Application

Penguin being examed by two staff members in the Aquarium

Volunteering at the Aquarium

The Aquarium owes much of its success to our dedicated and committed volunteer staff. You can be part of that story by joining our team in one of the many volunteer or intern programs that we offer throughout the Aquarium.