Experience with King Scholars

The King Scholar’s leadership journey and growth is guided by a diversity of experiences. Therefore, King Scholars have access to and engage in several prime experiences that are exclusive to Brookfield Zoo Chicago and include immersive field research expeditions, intimate career investigations, and specialized content and media productions.

Research Expeditions

Research Expeditions are King Conservation Science Scholars Study Beyond experiences. These experiences take King Scholars beyond Brookfield Zoo Chicago and even the state of Illinois. Research Expeditions are designed for King Scholars at varying starting stages in their career exploration who are looking for insight, inspiration, encouragement, or redirection. However, the best part about Research Expeditions is that each one offers an immersive field research experience that provides a unique peek into the diverse approaches to environmental stewardship. The mission of our Research Expeditions is to build a network of individuals with first-hand knowledge of and experience within the conservation and community engagement practices happening in the field.

One of our premier Research Expeditions, the Marine Mammal Research Expedition, is a collaboration with Brookfield Zoo Chicago's Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP) which is located in Sarasota Bay, Florida and the longest-running study of a wild dolphin population in the world. With this Research Expedition, King Scholars spend a week in Florida studying wild populations and examining the adverse human influences on bottlenose dolphins alongside the experts of the SDRP.


Career Investigations

Career Investigations are King Conservation Science Scholars Study Within experiences. These experiences take King Scholars deeper within the intricacies of specific career roles here at Brookfield Zoo Chicago. Career Investigations are designed for students at the examination stage of career exploration who are looking to gain a deeper perspective into a particular section or area of a career field. Nonetheless, the best part of Career Investigations is that each one offers an immersive learning experience that provides a candid glance into the day to day lives of experts in particular roles and fields. The mission of our Career Investigations is to build a network of individuals with first-hand observations into conservation-focused and business-oriented professions for the benefit of making informed and reflective career pathway decisions.

What is most unique about Brookfield Zoo Chicago is that outside the traditional animal care and wellness, horticulture, and education roles, we can also offer Career Investigations that are rare. The Animal Enrichment and Behavior Career Investigation puts King Scholars alongside animal wellness and animal behavior specialists to assist and even co-lead investigative behavior and enrichment projects and the Animal Nutrition and Health Career Investigation puts King Scholars alongside a zoo nutritionist, to which there is less than 30 zoo nutritionist in the United States and Brookfield Zoo Chicago being one of the primary places that assisted in the training of several of them, to learn the fundamentals of the evaluation of the nutritional viability of diets and the distribution of them to animals in the zoo.


Media Productions

Media Productions are King Conservation Science Scholars Study Amongst experiences. These experiences take King Scholars amongst the administrative and creative processes of storytelling, media and community building. Media Productions are designed for students who have a strong interest in exploring careers in social media, acting and entertainment and broadcasting and journalism. Still, the best part of Media Productions is that each one offers an immersive practical experience that puts King Scholars in the writers’ room, production office and director’s chair as well as behind and in front of the camera. The mission of our Media Productions is to build a network of individuals with first-hand testimonials into the strategic planning, coordination, and management of various creative outlets.

True to the culture of King Conservation Science Scholars, Media Productions center the stories that our King Scholars want to tell. All Media Productions culminate with a special production in the form of a short film, an inclusive educational series or a special news broadcast. These projects are presented and recognized at one of the principal conferences in the Chicagoland area, the Teen Conservation Leadership Conference, and have a chance to be recommended and enter the young filmmakers contest.

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This program is made possible, in part, with support from the King Family Foundation, BNSF Railway Foundation, FedEx Corporation, the Julius N. Frankel Foundation, the Gerald A. and Karen A. Kolschowsky Foundation Inc., the Edmond and Alice Opler Foundation, Peoples Gas Community Fund, the Schmidgall Family Foundation, the Dr. Scholl Foundation, and Wintrust Financial Corporation.