A Summer At The Philadelphia Zoo

This summer, Career Center staff visited three stellar Temple students interning at the Philadelphia Zoo. The Philadelphia Zoo has been operating a well-developed internship program open to many majors for over 20 years! While the internship hours may differ if you are participating in their spring or summer internship, there are plenty of opportunities to develop a valuable skill set all year round. The Philadelphia Zoo is currently seeking interns for Spring 2018 and has opportunities posted in the Owlnetwork!

While at the Zoo this summer, I caught up with Amanda Nguy, a junior Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience major from the College of Science and Technology. Read more below to learn a little more detail about her experience.

What Company and department are you working with?

I worked at the Philadelphia Zoo as an Animal Care intern.

What semester did you do this internship?

I used my merit stipend scholarship in order to work during the summer session from mid-May to early August. I am continuing to work at the zoo during the fall session as well which runs until late October.

How did you find out about this opportunity, and what was the interview process like?

A friend suggested that I try applying for the summer internship since she knew I had an interest in animals. The interview process included sending in an online application with a copy of my transcript. Afterwards, I attended a group orientation which involved speaking in front of other applicants as well as interviewers. One component of the interview required us to make up a short story on the spot using provided props.

What was your job function, and what does a typical day entail?

As an animal care intern, my main task was to assist the keepers in KidzooU. A typical day would include a lot of cleaning and husbandry (caring for animals) as well as preparing diets to feed out to the KidzooU animals. Animal care interns are also responsible for making nutritional enrichment for the animals.

How has your internship related to your course work?

My internship allowed me to make connections between the material that we go over in lecture in classes such as genetics, biology, and neuroscience to the way that actual living animals function. It’s interesting that I was able to observe an animal’s behavior and try to pick apart the reasoning behind why that certain animal would behave that way.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned during your internship/job experience?

The most important thing that I’ve learned during the internship is that you should always be transparent about everything. Own up to the mistakes that you make and ask questions whenever you are unsure. As an intern, you’re not expected to know everything right off the bat so asking questions allows you to learn so much more while minimizing the mistakes that you make. It’s easier for your supervisor to answer your questions than to take on extra work to fix a mistake that you’ve made!

What piece of advice would you give to current students embarking on an internship/job search?

Don’t limit yourself on the internships that you’re applying for. Even if you think there is only a slim chance that you might get a certain internship, apply for it anyway if it’s one that you’d really like to have. You’re more likely to regret not even trying for it later on and there’s always the chance that you will actually be accepted.

Have you learned any valuable lessons about obtaining jobs/internships during your time at Temple?

Rather than learning a valuable lesson about obtaining jobs or internships, I’ve learned how important it is that you have one of these experiences on your resume. It seems as if the importance of building resumes is always emphasized everywhere by everyone, but I personally didn’t truly realize how important it actually was until I was sitting in the group interview with people aiming for the same intern position listening to all of the amazing things that they had done.

As a neuroscience major, Did you ever think you would be working here?

I would have expected myself to be working in a hospital or a lab rather than in the Philadelphia Zoo. Working with animals was always more of an unrealistic dream for me so it was a pleasant surprise that I was able to work as an animal care intern.

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