The Summer Teen Internship Program at the Aquarium is a great opportunity for teens to challenge themselves and learn useful skills while having fun and meeting new friends. It draws hundreds of applications every year, and we select around 80 extraordinary teens to work with us over the summer. Meet one of these individuals. 

Arriving as a new teen intern at the Aquarium this summer, Fatima Sidibe’s positive energy and enthusiasm for science immediately made an impression on everyone in the program. Over the course of the summer, she came to embody the intern role as a seeker of marine knowledge, an ambassador of ocean issues and, of course, a boatload of fun! Fatima’s reflection on her experience offers a fun and unique glimpse into our teens program.

teen intern Fatima Sidibe
Fatima Sidibe

Fatima was motivated to apply for a teen internship after completing an ocean current project in her sophomore year of high school. She might be considered an unconventional candidate for the position given that she’s afraid of water! However, her passion for science and desire to learn helped her rise to the challenge. As a junior counselor at the Aquarium’s Harbor Discoveries Camp, she met her fear head on, although she admits that it is still a work in progress:

I wouldn’t say I 100% overcame my fear, but with the help of the Aquarium community, I was able to become more comfortable in my role. My coworkers supported me when I need to take a step back… But most of the time, I was having so much fun with the camper that I totally forgot why I was scared or anxious!
- Fatima
teen intern uses net to sift for marine life in shallow water at beach
teen intern shows off animal in net at beach

An aspiring science teacher, it comes as no surprise that Fatima’s favorite memories from the summer are teaching some of the 225 campers out in the field, particularly at salt marshes in Sandwich. In between camp games and marine science lessons, she found unique ways to form bonds with campers, citing conversations about everything from “wizards to goats to John Cena.” She also found time to connect with her fellow interns and the Aquarium staff:

The relationships I’ve made over the course of the summer are some of the best I have ever made. The people who work here are so easy to talk to and we connect on social, environmental, and marine issues.
- Fatima
teen counselor helps younger campers on dissection project
Fatima helps Harbor Discoveries campers

Fatima’s exceptional ability to connect with others will serve her well this academic year. She has just started a new Aquarium intern position in Community Programs, where she will engage a new group of students in and around Boston in hands-on learning. In her new role, she will have the chance to teach students about marine animals, and deliver a key piece of wisdom she gained from her own experiences:

The most important thing I learned this summer is that it’s okay to be uncomfortable doing things as long as you put your best foot forward. It really helped me to grow as a person.
- Fatima

Fatima intends to encourage the same growth with the young people she works with. She wants them to gain ocean knowledge and not be afraid to step out of their element. She is certainly doing a fantastic job leading by example!