Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
  Student Mentoring  

Young Scientists Program

    The Young Scientists Program (YSP) offers ocean-loving high school students the opportunity to explore their passion for science by conducting hands-on research projects in conjunction with Cabrillo Marine Aquarium’s Aquatic Nursery. Aquarium staff mentor students through scientific investigations on local marine topics with an emphasis on conservation and aquarium science.

Young Scientists Program

Students spend nine months developing a project, learning safe lab practices, and conducting their research before presenting at our annual Young Scientists Symposium. This symposium has served as a celebration event for our students to share their projects with program supporters and the greater community. After this nine-month journey, participants will have learned how to design, propose, experiment, analyze, and share scientific research. Throughout the program, students will be led by a team of CMA staff, helping them every step of the way. At its most fundamental level, this program hones a Young Scientists communication skills and understanding through this scientific journey. At a higher level, these programs offer our members and visitors an opportunity to learn about the important research and conservation conducted at the Aquarium.  

2023-2024 Young Scientists Symposium

Date: Sunday April 14th, 2024

Time: 12pm-3pm

Join us at the 2023-2024 Young Scientists Symposium to celebrate the incredible work that this year’s participating students have put in over the past 10 months. Student’s have conducted lab based research projects in the aquarium’s Aquatic Nursery along with Field Research Projects throughout the Cabrillo Beach Coastal Park, focusing on a wide array of marine science related topics. 

Throughout the Symposium learn first hand what went into each student’s experiment as they present their research posters and provide visual demonstrations representing various components of their experimental process.

2024 Young Scientists Program Ice Breaker

Date: Saturday April 27th, 2024 & Sunday April 28th, 2024 Time: 10am-3pm High school students interested in the Young Scientists Program must attend the entire event on either April 27th, 2024 or April 28, 2024 as part of the admission process. Throughout the event, students will have the opportunity to Interact with Aquarium staff and past participants to learn all about the Young Scientists Program requirements, application process, program timeline, and more! The Young Scientists Program is a free, independent research program. Each participating student will be assisted by staff mentors throughout the course of their research. The commitment for this program is a minimum of one experimental shift per week from June 2024 - March 2025. Space is limited for each day of the 2024 YSP Ice Breaker event, RSVP is required for attendance. If interested in attending, please complete the 2024 Young Scientists Program Ice Breaker RSVP Form no later than Sunday April 21st, 2024. As a reminder, attendance of the Ice Breaker Event is required for all 2024 YSP Applicants. 2024 Young Scientist Program Application - Due Sunday May 5th, 2024 Applications for the 2024 Young Scientist Program are now open! To Apply, you must attend one of the Ice Breaker Events taking place here at CMA on Saturday April 27th, 2024 and Sunday April 28th, 2024. You can RSVP using the link above. In addition to attending the Ice Breaker event, all applicants must complete and submit the 2024 Young Scientist Program Application - DUE 5/5/2024. This application includes the submission of an updated resume, one page personal statement, and Teacher Recommendation Form. For Specific questions regarding the application process, please reach out to and