Frequently Asked questions

What is the cost to join King Conservation Science Scholars?
This is one of our favorite questions because it is the easiest to answer. Due to the continued and generous support of The King Family Foundation and other donors, we are proud to share that King Conservation Science Scholars is 100% free.
What are the time requirements and expectations of a King Scholar?
Growth and engagement look slightly different for each King Scholar. Some King Scholars may spend weeks with us over the summer while others join us a few days a month over the entire year. Regardless, all King Scholars are expected to commit to one year in the program or a minimum of 30 hours of participation.

How do King Conservation Science Scholars prepare me for the future?
King Conservation Science Scholars is a leadership program with the goal to enhance your communication skills while focusing on your personal growth, interpersonal connections and career goals no matter what field. Between the interactive workshops, research expeditions, social events, interpretive and various other experiences, King Scholars in the program develop their leadership personality and build a unique personal and professional network. In fact, we have King Conservation Science Scholars alumni who are either attending some of the top colleges and universities in the country and majoring in a range of subjects from marine biology, animal behavior and biochemical engineering to documentary filmmaking, journalism and political science or leading in various other fields like education, finance and hospitality.

What are some of the cool experiences I can have as a King Scholar?
There are many fun and unique opportunities for King Scholars. Below are some of the most popular experiences as voted on by our current community of King Scholars:

• ‚óŹ Interactive workshops especially Order Up: Stress and Mindfulness which is a course that centers personally designed stress management techniques and the discovery of mindful movements and You Mad? Scientists: The Wild World of Adaptations which creatively brings animal adaptations alive and puts your DNA at the end of your fingertips, literally.
• The annual King Scholars Awards Night that celebrates all King Scholars and the past year’s successes and opportunities.
• Behind the scenes tours especially with the herpetology animal care specialist and aquarists.
• Interactive STEAM sessions with real-world experts from around the world including industry leaders in Punta San Juan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria and the United States.
• Marine Mammal Research Expedition which puts our King Scholars in the middle of Sarasota Bay, Florida to study bottlenose dolphins.
• Conservation Connection to the Indianapolis Zoo and Cosley Zoo.
• Action Tours especially the ones that center entomology and hydrology.
• King Conservation Science Scholars Associate position and the opportunity to get insight into the career field from both a student and staff perspective.
• College tours especially those where King Scholar Alumni are able to lead the tours or connect with King Scholars while they are visiting their home institution.
• Animal handling, care, and/or presentation especially with animals like the corn snake, leopard gecko and chicken.

Are there any prerequisites for becoming a King Scholar?
Our only prerequisite is that you are willing to try and be open to learning. You don’t need to know anything about animals, conservation, Brookfield Zoo Chicago or even STEAM. We welcome all 9-12 graders. You can join King Scholars during either our winter or summer cohort between the end of your 8th grade year up until the first semester of your senior year. However, if you are in middle school, you are eligible for King Conservation Science Explorers. You can learn more about that program here (on their webpage).

Are all of the opportunities at Brookfield Zoo Chicago? What if I can’t get there?
We have two host locations that our King Scholars call home, Brookfield Zoo Chicago and Bishop Shepard Little Memorial Center. While the program functions the same at both locations, each location has its own unique experiences. We also offer virtual and hybrid opportunities. For our King Scholars who use public transportation to get to either location, we do offer Ventra passes to cover those additional costs.

What does a typical schedule look like for a King Scholar?
King Scholars have the unique opportunity to choose their own adventure or plan their own schedule. We have an interactive online community hub complete with a virtual calendar. Here King Scholars can not only see all current and upcoming events, workshops, experiences and opportunities, yet they also get a detailed summary of those including times, dates, locations, and even who is leading particular experiences. And the best part is King Scholars can sign up or register for any and all of those right there and in advance. So, all of our King Scholars are able to map out their schedules, days to weeks in advance and commit to as many opportunities as they want. Therefore, a typical King Scholar schedule looks exactly how that King Scholar desires.

While King Conservation Science Scholars is a year-round program with opportunities throughout, there are noticeably 4 different seasons/semesters. Each season typically brings different course options, events and experiences. The Summer and Winter seasons are the only two times new King Scholars can join. The Summer season is 5 days a week Monday through Friday from June to mid to late August. Summer season holds our largest cohort of new King Scholars and our King Scholar Alumni celebrations. Winter season, from November to February encompasses our Holiday Magic experiences and the second and final annual on-boarding opportunity for new King Scholars. Winter season is the season we offer the largest number of after school experiences and holds our King Scholars Awards Night. The Spring and Fall semesters are primarily in person on the weekends only with a select few virtual opportunities during the week after after-school activities. Spring semester goes from March to May and brings some unique courses and events that are offered over the various Spring Breaks and college tours. Fall semester is very similar to Spring semester. Fall semester is also when we offer special seasonal programs and experiences and where a couple Conservation Connections happen. Regardless of the season or semester, King Conservation Science Scholars always have opportunities for our King Scholars.

I want to improve my public speaking skills. How can King Conservation Science Scholars help?

Public speaking is an essential skill. Therefore, it is a fundamental component of the King Scholar experience. While there are several ways within King Conservation Science Scholars to enhance your public speaking skills from delivering interpretive presentations using biological artifacts at various animal exhibits, leading educationally entertaining tours in the community garden, and even participating in ambassador animal demonstrations, there are even more ways we have to simply help King Scholars become comfortable with the idea of public speaking. We have interactive and fun courses, we have “meals” together which is a unique technique that has been proven to help, not just King Scholars, but educators in general, build stronger, more natural connections with guests and one of our strongest and most popular resources, The New Buddy System. The New Buddy System is our community mentor experience that matches and connects King Scholars with King Scholars to make public speaking, interpretation and conservation storytelling easier and more fun. However, the best part of the New Buddy System is that it is not just for the public speaking assistance. King Scholars use the New Buddy System for a variety of other things including help with their social cautions and apprehension, tutoring and even help obtaining other leadership positions within and beyond the program. The New Buddy System is also completely customizable and King Scholars can request one on one sessions, to be paired with others needing a Buddy for the same reason, put in small groups, and even a particular Buddy if they have one in mind.

How do I apply?

It’s easy! Click the button below and follow the steps to complete your application. It takes less than 15 minutes!