Describe the steps you took to obtain your internship/research opportunity/fellowship.
Prior to landing an internship at Zoo Miami, I did a lot of research online to see what kind of exotic animal internships existed. Once I found the "Animal Science Internship" on the zoo's website, I had to submit a CV, resume, and an application questionnaire. I was asked to have a phone-call interview where I was interviewed by multiple zookeepers in department that I applied for, the African hoof stock department. I was offered the internship at the end of the phone call!
How far in advance did you prepare and begin applying for your experiential learning opportunity?
I found out that I could do the Experiential Certificate Program (ECP) about two weeks prior to beginning the internship. My internship was already going to count as an FSU upper division biology lab credit, but ECP was an added bonus.
If you used any Career Center services, resources, or events to obtain your internship/research opportunity/fellowship, what were they? How did they support your application process?
The ECP program allowed me to keep track of my personal goals for my internship. In the end, I was able to meet all of them.
Describe some of your responsibilities or duties during your experiential learning opportunity.
As an intern at Zoo Miami, I worked as a member of a team to deliver daily husbandry to a collection of mixed species. Day-to-day tasks included raking yards, feeding out diets, and having operant conditioning sessions for medical purposes. In addition, I was able to assist in the vet hospital on grounds for various necropsies. During my internship, I also assisted with an immobilization of three zebra for dental and hoof work. With my keepers, I was taught how to perform basic farrier work on giraffe hooves.
What was a typical day like "on the job?"
Typically we would clean and feed, and shift the animals onto exhibit in the morning. After lunch we would take care of various types of projects whether a training session, a "keeper talk," a vet procedure, cutting branches for the animals to browse on, etc. Not a day was alike and the internship kept me on my toes.
What are some major takeaways from your experience? How will these help prepare you for the next step after graduation?
Working in a zoo facility taught me the ways of the business world, which I did not expect. There were many levels of the zoo business from H.R. to animal science keepers to the conservation department, all which coexist to ensure the wellbeing of zoo guests and the zoos collection of animals.
Did this experience help clarify your career path? If yes, how so?
The internship did help me clarify my career path. My love for wildlife strengthened over the last 3.5 months. Leaving my post was one of the hardest things to do after I had made such amazing relationships with both animals and people, and I know that conservation work and veterinary biology will forever be my greatest passions.
"My internship with Zoo Miami helped clarify my career path and strengthened my love for wildlife!"
Major: Biological Science, Class of 2020
Company/Organization: Zoo Miami