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John G Shedd Aquarium

Internship - Penguin & Sea Otter - Fall 2022

Internship: Penguin & Sea Otter
Season: Fall 2022 (Approx Oct-Dec)
Location: Onsite
Application Deadline: Monday August 22 at 9am CST
Internship Overview: 
This career learning experience offers exposure to the different facets of animal husbandry and positive reinforcement training.  Working closely alongside staff, interns support teams that care for our animals. Our penguin and otter team cares for our northern and southern sea otters, and rockhopper and Magellanic penguins.  Interns will assist with a range of daily tasks including cleaning, diet preparation, observations, and recordkeeping.  They will learn the principles of operant conditioning and positive reinforcement training. There is also the opportunity to work on a focused project to further understanding of the profession. 
Learning Objectives: 

  • Demonstrate proficiency in communicating and collaborating across teams 
  • Practice animal care skills including diet preparation, observations, and cleaning habitat and support areas 
    • Learn USDA guidelines 
    • Learn AZA accreditation expectations 
  • Identify and explain the principles of positive reinforcement training and operant conditioning 

Responsibilities & Projects: 

  • Demonstrate commitment to Shedd’s vision, mission and values 
  • Partner with staff to maintain high standards of animal care, including 
    • Providing a healthy environment through cleaning and disinfection of habitats, reserve spaces, and kitchen spaces and equipment following USDA guidelines 
    • Preparing diets for all animals, which involves thawing, inspecting, weighing, and cutting various food types and vitamin administration. 
    • Recordkeeping of cleaning, diet consumption, behavioral observations, session notes, and enrichment details 
  • Assist in training sessions and presentations, including operating manual and hydraulic doors, setting up and breaking down equipment for public presentations, and managing guests.  
  • Complete and present an assigned project focused on animal enrichment, animal behavior, or data analysis. 
  • Other projects as assigned 


Fields of Interest: 

  • Applicants should have a genuine interest in careers related to animal husbandry, positive reinforcement training, and animal behavior. 


  • Committed to high quality work 
  • Strong communication skills and a positive attitude 
  • Comfortable working both independently and as part of a team.  
  • Willing to ask questions and collaborate towards solutions.   
  • Able to lift objects in excess of 40 pounds as well as bend, crouch, squat and carry heavy buckets as needed. 
  • Able to withstand exposure to very cold temperatures and to salt water on a regular basis. 
  • Must be at least 18 years old 
  • Have a high school diploma or GED. 

Time & Compensation: 

  • This is a non-exempt, temporary position that pays $15.40 per hour
  • We anticipate this position will be scheduled for 30 hours per week for 10 weeks, pending business needs and individual performance.
  • Preferred schedule: Schedules will include a weekend day and hours could range anytime between 5am and 6pm.
  • Set schedule based on intern availability. 



How to Apply

Please apply through our website:

John G Shedd Aquarium
1200 S DuSable Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: 3126923167

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