Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
  Student Mentoring  

Young Scientists Program

    Cabrillo Marine Aquarium's Young Scientist Program is run by Aquatic Nursery staff members who are involved in aquaculture, animal development and coastal monitoring research. Staff and students work together to study threatened and endangered species and share research results with visitors.

The research mentoring program teaches students how to design and conduct research projects to achieve a better understanding of southern California's marine life. Several student researchers have placed very high at local, county and state science fairs, and some students have received top honors at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The Young Scientist Program received the 2013 Top Honors Award for Education from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.
  How to Apply
Please note that there are only a limited number of student researcher positions available each year. To apply for the Young Scientists Program, 1) attend the next Research Program Icebreaker, 2) complete the YSP application (either download PDF and submit to contact info below) or click below for online submission, 3) complete and submit teacher recommendation

Young Scientists Program Application
Young Scientists Program Teacher Recommendation Form

Research Program Icebreaker
Sunday, May 14, 2017 from 10am-3pm

There is one research cycle each year, running from summer through spring of the following year, when the Young Scientists Symposium concludes the program. Each research cycle begins with a Research Program Icebreaker to meet new applicants and for staff to conduct interviews. Applications are provided at the Research Program Icebreaker for the Young Scientists Program. Training in animal welfare, safety, and communication is provided during summer. Completion of training is required for participation in research experiments during the school year.

Young Scientists Symposium
Sunday, March 12, 2017 from 3pm-7pm

Each year, CMA hosts the Young Scientists Symposium to highlight student research projects and to bring together scientists of all ages to share their love of science with the public. Poster sessions and demonstrations take place in the Susanne Lawrenz-Miller Exhibit Hall and are open for visitors to meet the students and learn more about CMA’s Young Scientists Program. Student presentations are held in the John M. Olguin Auditorium.

Student Research Rules and Requirements
To participate in CMA's student research program, students must be high school or college level and become a CMA and City of Los Angeles volunteer. This requires application approval and a background check by the City of Los Angeles. 

Participation in the Young Scientists Symposium consists of at least one to two days a week of research and mandatory attendance at workshops, training sessions, and presentations.

Students who have not worked with Aquarium animals must undergo animal husbandry training as a volunteer before submitting a proposal for studying animals in the facility. This process can take up to three months.

You Should Know…
  • Only non-invasive experiments on Southern California marine life can be hosted in the Aquatic Nursery laboratory.
  • Field projects can be conducted by student on their own time with their own equipment.
  • CMA staff conducts safety and equipment training including proper handling of animals in the wild and permit regulations.
  • All projects should potentially help an animal to thrive in the wild.
Do you want to learn more?
Do you want to become a researcher?