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Teen Opportunities

A group of Adler Teens posing outside of the Adler and in front of the Chicago skyline.

At the Adler, we believe in the natural curiosity and visionary leadership of Chicago’s youth and strive to create a welcoming space for personal growth and scientific experimentation. Adler Teen Programs provide opportunities for young people to engage deeply with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math), prepare for a variety of careers, act as community thinkers and change-makers, and meet peers from across the city all while having fun! Sign up for our email list!

Teen Program Offerings

Team Stratonauts (Virtual Program)

Ever want to be the first to reveal something no one has before? Have you ever wanted to be the first to try out a new technology? Want to become an expert in a subject and use that knowledge to make a positive change in the world? This is the kind of thing we do in Team Stratonauts. Working together as a team of investigators, exploring the unknown with science!

Team Stratonauts is a curiosity-driven cohort of high school-aged science pioneers embedded in Adler’s exploration program, Far Horizons. This year’s program will focus on urban light pollution right here in Chicago. Participants will collaborate with educators, researchers, and engineers to learn what light pollution is and why it’s important, collect light pollution data in their neighborhoods using a series of sensors, and analyze light pollution data.

YOU SHOULD APPLY TO TEAM STRATONAUTS IF YOU’RE:

  • Currently enrolled in high school
  • Interested in creative problem solving and learning through hands-on science exploration
  • Excited to collaborate with peers and STEM professionals to advance new research
  • Available to attend ALL program dates

Due to COVID-19 Team Stratonauts will be a virtual program. We will provide all necessary program materials to selected participants.

Meeting Schedule 

Workshops will be held on Saturdays from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, with a one-hour lunch, on the following dates. 

April 3, 10, 17, 24

May 1, 8, 15, 22

Stipend

Students who successfully complete the workshop series will earn a $300 stipend. 

Application Timeline

  • Application closes on February 21 
  • Select candidates will be invited to interview by February 25
  • Virtual interviews will take place between March 2–March 17
  • All applicants will be notified of their application status by March 20
Apply Now
Youth Leadership Council (YLC)

The YLC is an advocacy and leadership development opportunity for young people with an interest in centering the contributions of teens within the museum community.

This year’s council will continue to develop and oversee the newly created youth-led project, “BLACK HOLE: Teen Voices at the Adler.” Created by Teens for Teens, “BLACK HOLE: Teen Voices at the Adler” is a teen-centered event that combines creative expression, critical thinking, and radical imagination to examine topics that are most relevant to teens, and our society at large.

While the YLC is not a hands-on STEAM program, as a council member you’ll have access to STEAM professionals and resources that align with your interest in space science. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn what it’s like to work behind the scenes of a (virtual) science museum. Membership on the YLC is a serious commitment of time, energy, and contribution of ideas that runs through the duration of the school year. All participants are eligible to earn a paid stipend.

Applications tor the 2020 – 2021 school year are closed

Teen Telescope Ambassadors

Have you ever looked through a telescope? Would you like to learn how to operate telescopes and observe astronomical objects? What about using that expertise to help us bring telescopes to your community?

As part of the Adler Planetarium’s Teen Telescope Ambassadors program, teens will become nighttime observing experts. You’ll learn how to find objects in the night sky and get the opportunity to utilize the Adler’s telescopes to make your own observations of the Moon, planets, and more. As part of a team, you’ll plan community observing events in Chicago neighborhoods to share the opportunity of looking through a telescope with friends, family, and neighbors!

Applications for the next session of Teen Telescope Ambassadors will open in winter 2021.

Youth Organization for Lights Out (YOLO)

“The nights are getting brighter, and earth is paying the cost” But just how dark is the night sky? Y.O.L.O. is where hands-on STEAM learning and environmental justice collide to answer this question. As a member of Y.O.L.O. you will learn about light pollution and its impact on human health, natural environments, and your communities through science and advocacy. By researching the night sky from Chicago’s Black and Brown neighborhoods, and National Park sites, Y.O.L.O members create opportunities to educate and raise awareness about the need for municipal change. Y.O.L.O. membership is a serious commitment of time, energy, and contribution of ideas that runs through the duration of the school year.
All participants are eligible to earn a paid stipend.

Applications for the 2020 – 2021 school year are closed

Astro-Science Workshop (Virtual Program)

Astro-Science Workshop (ASW) at the Adler Planetarium is a fun, intensive program about space exploration designed for high school students in the Chicago area. ASW began more than 50 years ago during the space race and Apollo program and counts numerous scientists, engineers, business leaders, and a former NASA astronaut as alumni. ASW encourages participants to consider pursuing careers in science by offering the unique opportunity to work with astronomers, engineers, and educators at the Adler Planetarium.

Urban light pollution is the focus of this year’s program. Through hands-on activities, participants will develop skills in electronic hardware, computer programming, structural design, data analysis, and teamwork. Working in small groups, ASW participants will design, build, and present prototype solutions to mitigate the effects of light pollution.

YOU SHOULD APPLY TO ASTRO-SCIENCE WORKSHOP IF YOU’RE:

  • Enrolled in 8th – 12th grade during the 2020-2021 school year
  • Interested in learning new STEM skills and passionate about science
  • A team player who collaborates well with peers

Applications and recommendations are due on March 21, 2021.

Learn More & Apply Now
Summer High School Internship (Virtual Program)

Looking for a summer job that will be challenging, fun, and eye-opening? The Adler’s Teen Internship Program places current high school students in professional museum roles. Review the 2021 Summer Intern Resource Packet for full details, but here are the basics:

  • 12 interns in different job roles around the museum
  • $15/hour, 18 – 20 hours/week, Monday-Friday from 7/6/21 – 8/13/21
  • Museum work experience and professional development

YOU SHOULD APPLY TO HIGH SCHOOL INTERNSHIP IF YOU’RE:

  • Enrolled in high school during the 2020 – 2021 school year (current 8th graders and college students are not eligible)
  • Interested in building professional skills in a supportive and fun environment
  • Excited to work collaboratively as part of a team
  • Available for all program dates and to attend a virtual orientation on 6/29/21.

Applications are due on March 13, 2021.  Applicants must submit a resume, cover letter, recommendation, and unofficial transcript. Please review the 2021 Summer Intern Resource Packet before applying!

Apply Now
Operation Airlift

At this design-engineering competition, middle and high school teams will compete with each other to design and build the best possible remotely-controlled airship with peers, adult volunteers, and Adler Planetarium staff.

Due to COVID-19, Operation Airlift is canceled for the 2020-2021 school year.

The Aquarius Project


In the wee hours of a Monday morning in February of last year, a giant green fireball erupted over Lake Michigan. That fireball was a meteor breaking up in the atmosphere, and the pieces of that meteor are now sitting almost 200 feet below the surface of the lake. In the coming months, an unlikely scientific search-and-rescue team will pile onto a boat, sail out to the crash site, and attempt to retrieve these meteorites.

Learn More
Hangouts

Teen Summer Opportunities Fair (Virtual)

It’s cold right now, but summer is just around the corner. What will you do over summer vacation? Chicago’s cultural institutions have opportunities where you can discover new interests, explore your current passions, connect with other teens, and have fun!  

Join us on Saturday, February 20, 2021 from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm for a Virtual Summer Opportunities Fair to find out about summer opportunities for current high school students at museums, gardens, aquariums, and zoos! Participants may drop in anytime during the event.

Apply Now

Thanks To Our Sponsors

The Adler Planetarium is grateful to the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the Barker Welfare Foundation, Baxter, The Dover Foundation, Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning at The Chicago Community Trust, The Leo S. Guthman Fund, the Pritzker Foundation, S&C Electric Company Foundation, The Siragusa Foundation, and Wells Fargo for supporting teen opportunities.

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