Public Programs Internship- Summer 2023

About the Organization

Heal the Bay is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Santa Monica and founded in 1985. We use science, education, community action, and advocacy to fulfill our mission to protect coastal waters and watersheds in Southern California with a particular focus on public health, climate change, biodiversity, and environmental justice.

The Heal the Bay Aquarium offers school groups, families and visitors a unique view into the ocean world right outside its doors. The Aquarium is home to hundreds of organisms that are native to the Santa Monica Bay. As Heal the Bay’s marine education facility, the Aquarium strives to teach visitors about the importance of environmental stewardship and marine conservation.

Internship Overview

Heal the Bay Aquarium’s Public Programs department is looking for an enthusiastic, motivated, and responsible intern who loves to work with diverse audiences for the 2023 Summer Session (June-August). Those who are interested in gaining experience in environmental communication or museum work are encouraged to apply. If you love to spend time in the Aquarium and work with animals, this is the internship for you! This Public Programs Internship is also an excellent opportunity to learn more about marine science and environmental advocacy, while earning experience under an environmental nonprofit.

The Public Programs Intern will work under the supervision and mentorship of our Public Programs Coordinators. The intern is expected to complete 12-18 hours of work each week, with a hybrid work approach to develop a final project while developing public speaking and community engagement skills at the Aquarium. The intern must come into the Aquarium two days of the week between Wednesday-Sunday during our hours of operation from 11 AM to 5 PM. In-person shifts at the Aquarium will involve assisting with outreach activities, public hours, and working on decided project and goals with the guidance of the Public Programs Coordinators. A day of remote work is optional, depending on the interests and goals related to the intern project. The Public Programs Internship will start the week of June 28st and end the week of August 23th, and the intern must have access to a computer and internet to complete remote work, and reliable transportation for in-office work.

Public Programs Interns will improve interpretation skills by learning about environmental equity issues and best teaching practices, pedagogies, and intersectional environmentalism. They will assist staff with public hours and complete a final project related to their work at the aquarium. Throughout this experience, interns will learn best strategies for educating the public and keeping the ocean clean, safe, and healthy for animals and people. Interns will also receive professional development in weekly meetings and guided discussions with Public Programs staff.

While you are with us, you will gain:
• 8 weeks of mentorship and community engagement
• 80+ hours of volunteering
• Public speaking experience
• Interpretation skills and techniques
• Proficiency in a final topic of your choice
• Letter of recommendation
• Networking opportunities within the Environmental field
• Professional skills and industry knowledge/experience
• Heal the Bay Internship certificate of completion

Primary Responsibilities

  •  Assist Public Programs and Aquarium Programs team with daily operations of public hours, including interpreting at touch tanks, leading animal feedings and presentations, working microscopes, and engaging visitors
  • Attend to the supervision and safety of Aquarium visitors and Aquarium animals
  •  Assist with running our outreach cart on the Santa Monica Pier and engaging the public on the topics of our Aquarium Public Programs, Angler Outreach Program, Sustainable Seafood Watch, Beach/River Report Cards, and emphasizing ongoing Heal the Bay science and policy campaigns and initiatives
  •  Assist with the development of education and outreach materials such as researching and creating Aquarium exhibit signage, interactive displays, and themed weekend programming (e.g., Shark Week, Plastic-Free July)
  • Create content for Heal the Bay Aquarium’s Instagram page
  • Attend virtual bi-weekly Aquarium staff meetings and Public Programs team meetings
  • Maintain a professional and respectful attitude when representing Heal the Bay during Aquarium public hours and in public settings, meetings, events, and trainings, and while interacting with guests, volunteers, and staff
  • Develop an independent project and present results at the end of the internship


  • Be excited to work with people of all ages, ethnicities, exceptionalities, gender identities, religions, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds
  •  Be at least 16 years old
  •  Be organized and have careful attention to detail
  •  Be able to work independently and with a team
  •  Have excellent verbal and written communication skills
  •  Have experience with public speaking, interpretation, and/or customer service
  •  Proficiency in Instagram and Canva is a plus
  •  If 18+ interns must pass a Live Scan background check
  •  Be passionate or interested in Environmental or Marine Sciences

Physical Requirements

• Willingness to interact with and touch marine animals
• Willingness to occasionally get wet
• Ability to walk in the sand
• Ability to spend 2-3 hours outside, and willingness to work in variable weather conditions with potential exposure to heat, wind, and inclement weather both inside the Aquarium and outdoors on the Santa Monica Pier and Santa Monica Beach
• Ability to lift and carry up to 30lbs
• Ability to push and pull up to 30lbs


This is an unpaid internship, but please contact your college or university about qualifying for college credit or scholarship opportunities. Parking passes are available to Interns on a first-come, first-serve basis. This internship is intended to support professional growth; the intern will have opportunities to network with environmental professionals and gain valuable collaboration and program management skills. The culmination of this internship will be the presentation of a personal project to Heal the Bay staff and related stakeholders. At the end of the internship, interns will be able to request a letter of recommendation.

How to Apply

Submit a cover letter and resume to Public Programs Coordinators Cat Baklarz at and Andreana Vetus at, and  by Monday, June 12th 2023 for application to be considered. Please use the phrase “Public Programs Internship Summer 2023” in the email subject line. Once your application is received, you will be contacted via email about the next steps and interview process. We encourage you to email us with any questions.

Heal the Bay is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status and we strongly encourage applications from individuals that reflect the diversity of Los Angeles County. 

Heal the Bay complies with AB 1008, the Fair Chance Act, during the onboarding process. Once a conditional internship offer has been made the candidate will be asked to complete a Live Scan criminal background check. A thorough assessment of conviction history will be considered including: the nature and gravity of the criminal history, the time that has passed since the conviction, and the nature of the job the candidate is seeking. 

Heal the Bay requires all interns to obtain and maintain up-to-date COVID-19 vaccinations. Heal the Bay believes this is an important measure to protect the health and safety of employees, volunteers, family members and those who visit the workplace from COVID-19 infection. Interns must show proof of vaccination (vaccination card or website).