Career Exploration Initiative

WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium’s new Career Exploration Initiative is bringing STEM careers to life!  Our three CEI Programs will give you a peek behind the scenes at the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math at work every day in Newport Aquarium. If you are ready to immerse yourself in hands-on STEM activities to help prepare you to make informed career and education choices, check out the information below and carefully fill out the registration form.

Who can apply? CEI Programs are open to students currently in grades 6-undergraduate studies. Space is limited for this program and slots are filled on a first come, first serve basis. A maximum amount of 15 students may participate per date. A completed application and payment will ensure your reserved slot.

What will I experience on a Career Exploration Initiative program? Depending on the program option you select, you will receive an extensive and hands-on behind the scenes experience of how science, technology, engineering, and math work together at Newport Aquarium.

Women in STEM: Join WAVE as we dive deep into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math at Newport Aquarium! This experiential program will increase young women’s interest in STEM, educate about STEM careers in zoos and aquariums, and introduce them to relatable STEM professionals at Newport Aquarium. Through hands-on use of technology to monitor water quality, calculate and prepare animal diets, and engineer aquatic life support systems, students will understand the STEM principles that go into professionally caring for our ambassador animals.

Husbandry & Research: Get a firsthand look at what it’s like to work in a zoo or aquarium, by assisting aquarists with daily routines of diet preparation, life support systems engineering, and animal socialization. Go behind the scenes in our live foods room, learn positive reinforcement training methods, and conduct an ethogram focusing on our famous shark rays while learning what it takes to work hands on with our incredible ambassador animals.

Conservation Biology: Discover how biologists at Newport Aquarium use science to save species every day through Species Survival Plans, Rescue Rehab and Release programs, and partnerships with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and SANCCOB. Track a released sea turtle, extract DNA to better understand a species, and examine real tags used to monitor animal behavior.

When do CEI programs take place at the Aquarium? The WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium offers both PUBLIC and PRIVATE Career Exploration Initiative program opportunities.

PRIVATE program opportunities can be scheduled for school groups, clubs, or community programs that have a minimum of 10 (or a maximum of 15) participants. Programs are offered Monday through Friday in morning sessions from 8:00-11:00am and afternoon sessions of 4:00-7:00pm.


Register- Private


PUBLIC program opportunities will be held on select Saturday’s each month, and focus on one CEI program on a rotating basis. These programs are intended for interested individual students, homeschool students, and school groups, clubs, and community groups that cannot reach the minimum required participants for a private program experience.

Dates for Public CEI

February 17th 8am-11am Women in STEM
March 24th 8am-11am Conservation Biology

April 21st 8am-11am Animal Husbandry

May 12th 8am-11am Women in STEM


Register- Public


Is there a fee? Yes, each CEI program requires a $40 fee per participant, per program. If you’d like to experience all three CEI programs, there is a discounted fee of $100 per participant for all three CEI program options. For young women interested in the Women In STEM program, we are happy to offer this program at no cost thanks to grant funding.

If you are a school, club, or community group of 10-15 participants for a private program, we also offer a package rate of $400 for all three CEI program options.

What should I bring? CEI program participants are encouraged to treat this experience as an emerging professional, so we request that your dress reflects a job interview setting (collared shirt, khaki pants, and close toed shoes). Sandals and flip flops are not permitted in any behind the scenes area of Newport Aquarium. Please be prepared to make the most of your experience by bringing questions you would like to ask, your resume if you have one, and/or a notebook to write down tips and ideas. And of course, don’t forget your camera!