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Milestone makes it longest-running paid teen intern program among U.S. aquariums
BOSTON, MASS. (July 7, 2022) – The New England Aquarium is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its teen internship program.
The Aquarium has been involved in developing and implementing teen internship programs since 1992, when it hosted two teens hired through the Summer Teen Internship Program for Boston cultural institutions. Through the years, the program expanded to create a STEM pipeline that begins with hands-on science activities for elementary and middle school students and continues with work-based learning and internship programs for those age 14 and older. Since the beginning, more than 2,500 students have participated in the Aquarium’s teen intern programs. It is the longest-running paid teen program among U.S. aquariums.
“The New England Aquarium is uniquely positioned in a region that puts a lot of dollars into summer youth employment. For the past 30 years we have been able to welcome thousands of young people to learn job skills, life skills and to set their course for a productive and successful future in their career and as an ocean advocate,” said Liz Georgakopoulos, Manager of Youth Development Programs for the Aquarium.
The Aquarium welcomes approximately 70 teen interns each summer, with this year’s program kicking off July 5 with a reduced group of 34 participants amid the ongoing pandemic. Activities have ranged from community mural creation to scuba diving trips and environmental leadership development. At the Aquarium, the interns receive extensive training in marine science, climate science, public speaking, and customer service.
In addition to the paid summer experience, the Aquarium recognized the need to serve more youth during the academic year and increased programmatic offerings over the years, thanks to support from organizations, individual donors, and New England Aquarium trustees. Current funders include the City of Boston’s Department of Youth Engagement and Employment, Cambridge’s Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP), The Private Industry Council (PIC), John Hancock’s MLK Scholars, New Balance, Massachusetts Cultural Council YouthREACH, and the Hazard Family Foundation.
“Because of our teen programs, we’ve had wonderful young people come through our doors over the years who leave to pursue a study in the sciences, choose a career related to this field, or make a connection that opens doors for them. Many of the teens I still keep in touch with, and I am very honored and proud to have been part of their journey,” said Curator of Husbandry and Sustainability Barbara Bailey, a longtime Aquarium employee.
Pam Bechtold Snyder – email@example.com, 617-686-5068