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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. The Adler Planetarium provides 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!

* Due to ongoing COVID 19 precautions, the Adler Planetarium will remain closed to the public until March 2022. All Teen Opportunities will be held virtually and remotely until further notice.

– Applications open Monday, July 26
– Application close Friday, August 13
– Candidate interviews will be held virtually Monday-Friday, August 23–27
– Selected candidates will be notified on September 10
– Mandatory* virtual Fall Orientation on September 18, 11:00 am–12:15 pm.

*All new and returning participants are required to attend.

For more information drop us a line at: youthprograms@adlerplanetarium.com


Teen Program Offerings

Team Stratonauts

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.

Fall 2021 session not available. 

Youth Leadership Council (YLC)

The YLC is a Teen ADVOCACY & LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT opportunity for young people with an interest in centering the contributions of Teens within the museum community.  This year’s council  continues to oversee the development and curation of “BLACK HOLE: Teen Voices at the Adler”.  Created by teens for teens,  “BLACK HOLE: Teen Voices at the Adler” is a community-based project that combines creative expression, critical thinking, and radical imagination to examine topics that are most relevant to Teens.  Council members will also partner with Adler staff in our Guest Experiences and School Experiences departments to assist with the development of selected projects.

Membership on the YLC is a serious commitment of time, energy, and contribution of ideas. All participants are eligible to earn a paid stipend.


  • Are 14–18 years old.
  • Are available to attend the mandatory online Fall Orientation on Saturday, September 18, 11:00 am–12:15 pm.
  • Have a strong interest in organizing and want to boost your leadership and advocacy skills.
  • Are available to serve one full YLC term. (October 2 2021–May 21, 2022)
  • Are available to attend required weekly meetings. (Saturdays 11:00 am–2:00 pm)
  • Want to work in partnership with adult allies to ensure that Teens are meaningfully represented and valued in museum spaces.

All new and returning participants are required to attend the virtual orientation session on September 18, 2021, 11:00 am–12:15 pm.


  • Meet and connect with new peers and meet our Adler’s Teen Opportunities team.
  • Get the scoop on participation highlights and learn more about what to expect during the term.
  • Receive instructions and paperwork to finalize your enrollment.
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.

Fall 2021 session not available. 

Astro-Science Workshop

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.

Applications for the 2020–2021 school year are closed.

Summer High School Internship

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.

Applications for the 2020–2021 school year are closed.

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 ongoing COVID-19 precautions our annual Operation Airlift event remains suspended until further notice.

Thanks To Our Sponsors

The Adler Planetarium is grateful to ComEd and the Exelon Foundation, the Dr. Scholl Foundation, S&C Electric Company Fund, Shure Inc., Northrop Grumman, the Siragusa Family Foundation, and Wells Fargo for supporting teen opportunities. 


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