Museum open Wed–Mon, Sea Center open daily; both 10:00 AM–5:00 PM

Quasars to Sea Stars

Quasars to Sea Stars is a three-four year work/study/volunteer program for high school teens. Participants take Museum classes and learn from professional scientists; volunteer in the community, and at the Museum & Sea Center events. Upon completion of 60 hours of volunteer service, Quasars also get paid as Museum employees for specific work shifts.

Applications closed. Applications will open in 2025 for a summer start.

A group of Quasars teens camping

A year in the life of a Quasar includes:

  • Summer camping trips to places around California such as the Channel Islands and the Sierras.
  • Field trips that include fun activities like hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling.
  • Teaching others and giving public presentations on scientific concepts.
  • Creating innovative programs for the public.
  • Exploring careers related to science, nature, and museums with curators and other Museum professionals.
  • Earning community service hours.
  • Forging bonds with other local teens.
  • Having a blast!

Teen programs Quasars to Sea Stars exploring the Palmer Observatory

Minimum Requirements and Commitments:

  • Must be a current 8th or 9th grader or equivalent in age, to apply
  • Maintain a 2.5 GPA
  • School year: 20 hours per month
  • Summer: 25 hours per week
  • Reliable and motivated

QUASARS is a big commitment
All participants are expected to remain active in the program year-round until graduation. Summers are intensive. The school year is more flexible, but be prepared to commit some time to the program on a weekly basis.

QUASARS is about science and nature
This program is designed to bring students into contact with scientists, naturalists, museum professionals, college programs, organizations, events, and other opportunities in the science community.

QUASARS is a job
After you complete an established number of community service hours at the Museum, you are eligible to become a Museum employee! Some paid shifts focus on scientific research while others show you the ins and outs of running a museum.

QUASARS is fun! 
Of course it's not all work and no play. Quasars go on unique field trips, explore the region, volunteer at festivals, become a part of the Museum and Sea Center community, make lasting friends, and discover their own amazing potential!

2024 Program Dates

  • Applications due March 22, 2024
  • In-person interviews for new Quasars: April, 2024
  • Program Orientation: June 24, 2024
  • Summer Dates: June 24–August 12, 2024
  • School Year Dates: Mid-September through mid-May
  • Breaks: 1 month at beginning of academic year, 3 weeks in winter, 1.5 weeks in June

Eligible applicants will be available for all required dates listed above, and will miss no more than one week of the 2024 Quasar summer.

For more information about Teen Programs

Contact Teen Programs Manager Charlie Thrift at or 805-682-4711 ext. 170

Quasar volunteering at the Museum

The Quasars to Sea Stars program is possible thanks to the financial support of the following partners:

2023 Mission Creek Gala Supporters
Lyn and David Anderson
The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation
Quasars to Sea Stars Endowment

And with additional support from:

John C. Mithun Foundation
The Kirby-Jones Foundation
Lewis A. Kingsly Foundation
Towbes Foundation
Wood-Claeyssens Foundation
Worster Family Foundation