Ready for a new challenge?
Join the Aquarium this summer and you could find yourself caring for collection animals, tracking whale behavior, or even conducting field-based experiments of your own design. Work and collaborate with Aquarium educators, aquarists, and researchers as you spend your summer doing more than just reading about science in a book.
The Advanced Aquarium Summer Institute is an opportunity to work alongside aquarium and science professionals, engaging with deep learning that builds proficiency in scientific study, animal care with a conservation lens, and the skills with which you can most effectively protect our blue planet. Programming is primarily held at the Aquarium, with occasional field trips to pertinent field sites.
Entering Grades 8 and 9
Aquarist in Training
July 15-19 or July 29-August 2
New England Aquarium aquarists have a tough job as they are responsible for keeping the animal ambassadors in their care healthy and help to educate the public about marine life! Through on-site studies and practical work, you will learn just how challenging it is to care for the thousands of marine animals housed at the Aquarium. The week will include job shadows with aquarists in our Wet Lab, collecting and analyzing water quality data, and, at the end, presenting to the public at our Edge of the Sea touch tank. During the Aquarist in Training program, you will practice animal collection techniques and tank maintenance, and learn about habitat needs while collaborating with fellow future marine scientists. Two separate sessions are offered; programming will be the same for both sessions.
New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Researchers
Scientists and trainers at the Aquarium study some of the most fascinating and vulnerable animals on the planet. Join us to contribute to our ongoing mission of conservation and research! Meet a seal on our exhibit and talk with the trainers who mix psychology and physiology to best care for our animals. You will investigate the realm of marine mammal training and learn how our animals help wild populations. Then, expand on what you’ve learned on exhibit into the field on a whale watch! While out on the watch for large whales, practice observation and data collection techniques that naturalists onboard do every day. In this program, you will investigate the local and global issues facing marine mammals. Using data collected by Aquarium researchers, examine the threats to North Atlantic right whales and develop solutions that help those whales and humans co-exist. Explore what role you can play for the conservation of this magnificent group of animals!
Entering Grade 10
August 5-9 and August 12-16 (two-week program)
Get a taste of the fun and challenging life of a marine science field researcher during this two-week program! The first week will provide a deep look at scientific tools, techniques, and protocols as we gain familiarity on how to answer our own scientific questions. Days will consist of studies in local habitats and at the Aquarium as you grow comfortable with techniques and create your own group research projects. For the second week, we will set up a field camp on Peddocks Island in the Boston Harbor Islands, staying overnight Monday through Friday. While in the wilds of Boston Harbor acting as a team of scientists, we will devise and examine questions through which to better understand our local marine ecosystems.
One-Week Programs: 12 Participants
Two-Week Program: 10 Participants
- One-week programs: $900
- Two-week program: $1,600
- One-week programs: $975
- Two-week program: $1,700
If awarded a scholarship, the copayment amount is based on household adjusted gross income (AGI).
If AGI is less than $40,000
- One-week programs: $55
- Two-week program: $115
If AGI is between $40,000 and $80,000:
- One-week programs: $110
- Two-week program: $230
A $2 service fee will be added to each nonmember ticket booked by phone. Service fee is $1.50 for online registrations.
Our instructors are one of our greatest strengths. With a priority placed on safe, engaging, and meaningful activities, our staff of professionals help us stand out from the crowd.
Each session will include:
- Two (2) Lead Instructors who are typically engaged in post-college careers in education, marine science, or a related field.
- Instructors engage in three week of staff training, are certified in first aid and CPR, are certified lifeguards. Though we are not a swimming camp, we do engage in numerous activities near or in shallow waterfront settings.
- All Summer Institute personnel have undergone background checks (CORI and SORI) in accordance with all applicable laws.
All programs operate from Monday through Friday, including an overnight experience on Thursday night.
Monday – Wednesday
8:45 – 9:00 a.m.†
4:45 – 5:00 p.m.
8:45 – 9:00 a.m.†
Overnight: No Pickup
Overnight: No Drop-Off
2:15 – 2:30 p.m.*
Second Week of Field Expedition Only
Monday: 8:45 – 9:00 a.m.††
Friday: 2:15 – 2:30 p.m.
†Early drop-off starting at 8 a.m. is available.
* New for 2019! We have extended our day on Friday.
††We will stay in yurts on Peddocks Island for four nights
Why the Advanced Aquarium Science Institute (AASI)?
AASI is a unique summer learning opportunity that combines the best of the informal education setting with the expertise and dedication of the New England Aquarium, a leader in exploration and marine conservation. Some of the highlights of why AASI is a great option:
- High Quality Staff. On top of holding degrees in education, marine science, or a related field, our instructors engage in three weeks of staff training to ensure we can provide the highest quality experience!
- Staff-Student Ratio: 1:6
- Authentic Science. Each program will engage in authentic work, from trying to understand real data about the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale to designing, implementing, and reporting on a field research study about the habitats of the Boston Harbor Islands.
- Real-World Science: Participants will work with a number of professional researchers, animal trainers, and others who take our activities beyond a simple academic exercise. Participants will apply their learning and efforts to real-world conservation science.
- The Overnight. Each program builds into a culminating day on Friday during which participants put into practice what they have studied (for example, Aquarists in Training will present to Aquarium visitors at the Edge of the Sea touch tank). The opportunity to bond with peers and be fully immersed in prep for the final day, through an overnight at the Aquarium or camping near a beach, is a unique element within summer training programs.