55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
Regular Hours:


9:30 am – 5:00 pm


11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:


8:30 – 9:30 am


10:00 – 11:00 am

The Academy will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Planetarium will be closed Sep. 22, 23, 24

Careers in Science 

April 29, 2010

Goldman Environmental Awards


Every year, three men and three women from around the world are honored for their outstanding work in the field of environmental justice and conservation at the Goldman Environmental Awards. Last training, the interns were in attendance at this prestigious event, and this was not the first time. Over the years, the intern program has been invited several times, along with other youth groups to attend the Goldman Awards.

Being a program that specializes in training youth for science careers, the CiS program felt right at home amongst all of these hard-working, successful conservationists. Many of the interns felt personally inspired by the accomplishments of this wide group of honorees. Just as the intern program represents a diverse group of youth, the recipients of the Goldman Award represent a diverse group of conservationists.


The successes of the Goldman winners were varied and awe-inspiring. From Randall Arauz’s campaign of halting Shark fin removal in his home country of Costa Rica to Malgorzata Gorska’s legal battle of stopping a highway project through an untouched forest.

With such achievement from these worthy role-models, who knows what the interns will be spurred on to do in the future?


By Hadrian

Filed under: Uncategorized — CiS Interns @ 5:51 pm

April 27, 2010

Externship excitement

Kiana working in the Aquarium as her research experience.


As a fresh Level Two intern, I’m looking forward to the new breadth of opportunities I have in store for me. I am especially looking forward to one opportunity the intern program is notable for, working with research scientists or husbandry experts here in the Academy.

There are a whole lot of research departments I could work in, including Entomology, Ichthyology, Herpetology, Ornithology & Mammalogy, Anthropology, Invertebrate Zoology, Geology, Botany, and the Academy’s Library. There are also divisions in the husbandry department in our Aquarium that include Herps and Birds, Horticulture (plants), Marine tropical (corals, jellies, etc), Marine temperate (California coast, tidepool), and our famous African Penguins.

Interns are already working in these departments and we switch departments when the semester ends so we get the full experience and find which area of science we would maybe pursue in our future careers. The head start we get as interns is something we are extremely proud of and I am definitely excited about it.


By Renn

Filed under: Conducting Science,Learning Science — CiS Interns @ 5:42 pm

January 12, 2010

Teaching At Harvey Milk

Every Tuesday Ivy, John, Renn, and myself all head to Harvey Milk Elementary School to teach an after school program. There, we have already taught three classes called Shark Shakedown, Rockin’ Reptiles, and Incredible Insects to our kindergarten through second grade students. We do many fun activities with them such as the shark measurement activity, small groups about tortoises and turtles, and sing “An Insect Has 3 Body Parts” song.

Every time we step into the school we are always welcomed very warmly by the students who are extremely eager to learn and see what kinds of live specimens we have brought for them. There was this one day when John was absent and only Renn, Ivy, I were teaching the stations. The kids remembered John so well, they all decided to chant in unison as we walked in, “WE WANT JON!”

At the end of the class, their enthusiasm strikes us most when we’re about to take out our live specimens such as our Skink, Ham and our Ball Python, Ursula. They line up in a straight line and take turns petting the reptiles with two fingers. It is always satisfying to have youth take such an interest in science. Even after a long day of school, you can always find comfort in working with younger students.




By Nicolette

Filed under: Uncategorized — CiS Interns @ 6:27 pm

December 21, 2009

Interns teach other interns

On Monday November 30th, after having our training on natural selection, two interns each showed their own presentation to the interns.

One intern, Rubi, taught us about a special part of science, public health. Rubi is now in college and taught all us interns about public health! She prepared a twenty-minute training for the interns which talked about what public health is, different aspects of public health, epidemiology (study of what is upon the people and factors affecting the health and illness of populations) and the three types of studies public health officials do.


Mark, who does research with the aquarium’s husbandry department, also taught us about the Academy’s Touch Tide pool filtration system. It seemed like just a tank and amazing animals at first, but Mark explained the many complicated and intricate components used to keep the water clean such as UV sterilizers, protein skimmers, and bioballs. UV sterilizers kill various diseases, protein skimmers take out excess food and waste, and bioballs take ammonia that is fatal to the animals and converts them to nitrites that aren’t dangerous.


This was a very unique training; it was led by interns, and included more about science applied in the public, rather than science content. It’s always very interesting to hear about all the various types of careers in the science fields as well as facts about the Academy, especially from interns themselves!  As interns, we are always learning about career choices to get a glimpse of what a career in science would be like.


By Renn

Filed under: Teaching Science,Uncategorized — CiS Interns @ 6:04 pm

Project Groups!

Interns have been working on four projects for the fall semester of the Intern Program. We refer to them as ‘Project Groups,’ which is a small group of interns that work on a project for the Intern Program. We use project groups so that everyone gets to work as a team to reach a common goal and get a defined understanding of a specific subject. Project Groups can work on things like making new stations, learning new skills, or the Intern Program’s newsletter. The four projects that are in progress now are Extreme Mammals, Parasites, Entomology, and Newsletter.

The Extreme Mammals and Parasites Project Group are on their way to becoming new demonstration stations for the interns. We have five stations that we presently teach on the public floor; Food Webs Demonstration, Beetle Dichotomous Key Station, Limb Homology Interactive, Penguin Interpreter, and Touch Tank. All of these stations relate to the Academy’s mission statement to explore, explain, and protect the natural world. The Extreme Mammals group will be about extinct, extreme, or big, California Mammals. The Parasites group will be about different types and kinds of parasites that affect ecosystems. They have and are going through several revisions so that they’re ready to be taught on the floor.

The third project group was created because of our trip to Trinity Alps this past July where we collected insects and other organisms with Roberta Brett from the education department. The Entomology group is helping Roberta identify and pin the specimens collected from this trip. The majority of the specimens are insects, but we also have some spiders and larvae included. Once all of it is sorted through, it will be added to the Academy’s entomology collection. This project also relates to our Beetle Dichotomous Key Station where we help guest identify beetles from different parts of the world, but instead the interns are using their knowledge of the dichotomous key to identify the specimens collected.project-groups-jp

Finally there’s Newsletter group. I’m apart of newsletter this semester and have helped put together the fall edition of Spotlight.


By Jasmine

Filed under: Conducting Science,Group Building,Uncategorized — CiS Interns @ 5:43 pm

Evolution Training

Last training, in honor of the 150th anniversary reading of Darwin and Wallace’s letters, the interns received an eye-opening training about evolution. I know I didn’t understand it very well before this training. But afterwards the topic seemed much more interesting, and even fun.


Evolution is the foundational theory of biology, nothing in biology makes sense without evolution. The main theme of the training was to explain exactly what evolution was, and the scientific discoveries which led up to Darwin’s theory of Natural selection. Evolution was a process which had been observed years before Darwin theorized how animals and their populations changed over time. Darwin’s theory of natural selection explained why this happened. Even if his theory had never been discovered, scientists would have continued to study evolution, to figure out why this vital process happens.

We did many different activities which showed variation as a result of Natural selection. We examined bell peppers and counted the number of seeds to see the difference among individuals in the same species. We also looked at Cowry shells, and ladybugs to do the same.

This felt important to me, because I feel there is a lot of misinformation about evolution floating around, and most of the public doesn’t have a very good idea of what it is. I sure didn’t.


By Hadrian

Filed under: Learning Science,Uncategorized — CiS Interns @ 5:36 pm

Personal Statements: Telling the Story Only You Can Tell

One of the key steps to going to college is to write a personal statement. On October 15th,the interns had a special training about the story only you can tell, aka personal statements led by Careers in Science Manager, Eric Godoy. He gave us tips, tricks, and things to avoid when writing personal statements. The training was very helpful for the interns applying to college in the near future.

Lily helping Noelani start her personal statement.

Personal statements are college essays where you are able to demonstrate who you are to prospective colleges. In a regular application, the reader does not get an in depth look at who the applicant is, but a personal statement helps provide context for an applicants scholastic record and it allows the applicant to go in-depth on a specific topic. We learned a few tips to help us write the personal statements. Tips for personal statements are to relax, be honest, be personal, be consistent, and don’t guess what the admissions offices will be looking for. We learned a few things to avoid, but one of the things that I did not know to avoid were the immigration stories because they do not give insight into exactly who you are, just where you came from.

Next, we got to see some of the prompts that have been used in previous years at UC’s and on the Common Application. Seeing the different prompts gave us insight into what the colleges may be asking. One of the UC prompts was to “describe the world you come from-for example, your family, community, or school—and tell how your world has shaped your dreams or aspirations.” Intern Nicollette found the training very useful, “The training helped me learn exactly what goes into a personal statement. It really helped me remember that a personal statement is the story only you can tell. Now I have a good idea of what I will write about for my own!”


By Ivayana

Filed under: College Prep,Uncategorized — CiS Interns @ 5:30 pm

August 26, 2009

Trip to Pepperwood

Cutting invasive seed headsOne of the Intern Program’s biggest events of the year is our annual trip to Pepperwood; that is used not only to build bonds of friendship and teamwork between the newly hired interns and the veterans of the program but also to reinforce the camaraderie that the program shares as a whole. This year’s trip took place from June 18th through the 20nd and was the first big trip for the 6 new interns hired this year.

At Pepperwood there is never a dull moment. Whether we are kicking around a soccer ball, going on a hike to a vernal pool, or engaging in one of the many energetic group building activities planned for the trip, everyone enjoys their time there. The numerous events that populated our trip were not only fun but also educational, teaching us how to work with each other outside of work but also in simulated work environments.

At the California Academy of Sciences, we strive to maintain a sustainable lifestyle, often times trying to leave any place we use in a better condition than how we found it. We attempt to accomplish this at Pepperwood by working on a restoration project to renovate the surrounding landscape. This year’s project involved collecting native grass seeds and eliminating seed heads of an invasive species. This helps to preserve not only any native species that are endemic to that area but also the many animals that rely on that specific plant directly or indirectly.

Playing a game of "Shark Island"On our last night we were treated to a private showing at the Hume Observatory at Pepperwood. Above all, this was the most spectacular event of the whole trip. Far away from the soft glow of San Francisco, we were able to see many stars, planets, and objects in the night sky we had never observed before.

After our long ride back to the Academy, everyone was glad to be home, but the exciting time we had at Pepperwood is something we look back on even now as a defining event in our intern career. Hopefully next year’s trip can live up to the expectations that have been made by this year’s. All we can do is wait expectantly for the new batch of interns to be selected.

Filed under: Community Service,Group Building,Trips — CiS Interns @ 1:08 pm

August 1, 2009

Interns Learn Collecting Techniques

Associate Curator Charles Griswold dedicated his Monday afternoon to teach interns about the Academy’s Entomology collection which consists of 20,000,000 specimens and nearly 500,000 species. Dr. Griswold specializes in arachnids and taught interns about various webs spun by different species of spiders. By making sense of spider webs, we can learn much about the behavioral evolution of spiders.

Dr. Griswold examining an insect on the beating sheetAs interns headed out to do some field work, Dr. Griswold demonstrated three different collecting techniques using corn starch puffers, beating sheets, and sifters.

Corn starch puffers are small bulb pipettes that blow small amounts of powdered corn starch to help expose and detect spider webs. Beating sheets are made up of heavy duty cloth held together by two wooden sticks. They are used primarily for trees, branches, and bushes to help shake insects out for collection. Sifters are used for sifting out insects hiding in dirt and fallen leaves on the ground.

Lesley sifting out insectsHadrian using a corn starch puffer

Filed under: Learning Science — CiS Interns @ 4:27 pm

July 18, 2009

College Countdown

One of the benefits of being a CiS intern is having the opportunity to go and explore possible college choices. This year during spring break, interns visited college campuses throughout Northern California such as UC Berkley, UC Santa Cruz, Stanford, San Francisco State University, University of San Francisco, Mills College, UC Davis, Dominican University, CSU Eastbay, and Saint Mary’s College.
Learning about UC Berkeley's buildings

Learning about UC Berkeley's buildings

During the tours, interns were led by student guides around the campus, dorms, and lecture halls. At USF, interns also visited the library—complete with computers, couches, and tables—as well as a glimpse of class rooms, study halls, and the fitness center which included a gym and fairly large swimming pool. At the end of the tour, interns were able to experience first hand what it is like to eat in a dining hall.

Touring at Dominican University

Touring at Dominican University

Interns also learned about a wide range of majors available in college as well as information on office hours offered by professors. The information interns received from the college tours helped give interns an idea about what kind of college they want to attend while taking in consideration the college campus, student diversity, extracurricular activities, and majors offered.

The college tours enabled interns to get a glimpse of life in higher education. We got to tour campuses, eat in dining halls, and see dorms, class rooms and lecture halls. As we visited each school, we asked many questions about academic offerings and student life on campus. The experience gave us insight into how fun yet challenging and rewarding college can be.

Receiving a tour of UC Davis from a former intern

Receiving a tour of UC Davis from a former intern

Filed under: Uncategorized — CiS Interns @ 2:04 pm
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