Aquarium Scholars is a new partnership between the NC Aquariums, NC public schools and the nonprofit NC Aquarium Society, through which private donors help fund access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)-based Aquarium education programs for low-income students across the state. Contributions to Aquarium Scholars allow NC teachers and students in Title I schools to take class trips to the Aquariums, receive Aquarium Outreach programs in their classrooms, and/or participate in Aquarium Distance Learning programs, with little or no cost to the schools or students.

Aquarium education programs are not easily accessible for schools whose limited budgets or distance from the coast hinder their ability to participate. Additionally, many schools are unaware of Aquarium program opportunities, especially those in the western portions of North Carolina. Aquarium programs will bring fascinating aquatic animals, important conservation messages and other unique educational opportunities to tens of thousands of students who might otherwise never experience a visit to the Aquariums along the coast.

“The North Carolina Aquariums offer one of the largest informal science education programs in the state. The new Aquarium Scholars initiative will expand access to these offerings for at-risk students in Title I schools—an effort that can help close achievement gaps in both science and life skills for thousands of students across the state.”Brenda Berg, President & CEO, BEST-NC

The Aquarium Society is seeking multiple funding sponsors for Aquarium Scholars, with partnerships available on tiered levels. The Aquariums and the Society will provide matching support in personnel, facilities, equipment and supplies. Others involved include teachers across the state, the NC Department of Public Instruction, the NC Science Teachers’ Association, and various university partners already working with the Aquariums.

“ Your target to reach tens of thousands of low-income school students is admirable and represents a priority to the NCDPI as we seek to close the gap for students who are under-represented in STEM fields. ”Beverly Vance, NC Department of Public Instruction

Jay Barnes

Director of Development
North Carolina Aquarium Society
3125 Poplarwood Court, Suite 160
Raleigh, NC 27604


The NC Aquarium Society is a 501c3 charitable organization (Tax ID# 56-1512990) and receives all gifts on behalf of the NC Aquariums and Jennette’s Pier.

The NC Aquariums are a division of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.