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Otterbein Zoo Grads Acquire Unique Jobs

Otterbein Zoo Grads Acquire Unique Jobs

By Courtney Kilmer ‘17

Every student worries about finding a job after graduation and many utilize internships to get experience in what they might want to do in the future. Students in the Zoo and Conservation Science Program at Otterbein are taking advantage of internship opportunities in order to broaden their horizons and figure out which area of zoo and conservation science they want to pursue.

The Zoo and Conservation Science program, housed in the Department of Biology and Earth Science, is starting its fifth year at Otterbein and has approximately 120 students, half of which are pre-zoo majors. This past May, the first class of zoo students graduated from Otterbein. Of the 17 graduates, five of them got jobs that came about because of past internships they had held.

Anna Young, chair of the Zoo and Conservation Science program, said that all students are encouraged to start participating in internships as soon as possible.

“We encourage students to start with internships as soon as they can. We have had first-year students do an internship before their sophomore year, but we tend to really encourage students between sophomore and junior year, or junior year and senior year, to get experience,” said Young.

Previous students have taken internships that have sent them around the world. According to Young, the program has had interns go to The Wilds at the Columbus Zoo, the San Diego Zoo, the Dallas Zoo, the Toledo Zoo, Reid Park Zoo in Arizona and White Oak Conservation in Florida. Students who have studied abroad for their internships have gone to the Belize Zoo, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, South Africa to do work with wild Cape parrots, and Australia to intern at the Perth Zoo.

One alumni, Matt Vieth ‘16, graduated in May and now works as an elephant keeper at Reid Park Zoo. He interned there for two summers before being hired on. Through his experiences in his internship, he realized that working with elephants was exactly what he wanted to do.

Jill Keefer ’16 is currently working at Nationwide Children’s hospital as a research animal technician. The design of the Zoo and Conservation Science program is what originally appealed to Keefer.

“I think that’s what really great about Professor Young making the major how it is. Everybody gets a bit of a taste of the different parts that go along with it. I’ve had my time doing zoo keeping, doing research, and working with the public. It was just figuring out what I like best and what I’m the best at,” said Keefer.

Internships can be a great advantage for students looking for jobs after graduation. The experience gained is invaluable for any future career, no matter the major.


For more information on available internships, contact the Center for Career and Professional Development.

Learn more about the Zoo and Conservation Science program.