Through this blog, we will spotlight Otterbein students who are engaging in internships and professional experiences in a variety of industries and geographic locations. We will also share tips and advice on searching for internships and making the most of internship experiences.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Chelsea Menke '14 - Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Name:Chelsea Menke
Class: 2014
Major: Environmental Science
Hometown: Mount Vernon, OH
Internship: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Internship Responsibilities:
At my current internship, I’m in the Congo region of the zoo, so the animals vary from primates to hoof stock to a large cat. Because of the nature of the animals, I have to be with a keeper, so my duties are limited. I rake and separate clean and dirty hay to be disposed of, and sometimes I spray down cages with a sanitizer and a proxy. I also do diet prep, which consists of making a special juice drink for the primates. Last semester, in the Aquarium, my duties were completely different. It was much more independent, and I would do all the food prep, and smaller water changes. Having to figure everything out on my own really helped me grow. We collected eggs from Discovery Reef to hatch, and we grew algae to feed the fish. I would also take care of the stingrays. The stingray babies had to be separate and I would feed them and teach them what to eat, which we had to do 3-4 times a day. I also took chemical measurements from each of the tanks to make sure everything was alright for the fish to be swimming in.

What I learned:
In the Congo region specifically, I have learned how smart gorillas really are. They get a bad reputation for being like us but less smart, and that’s completely untrue. They are super smart, and they are very good at communicating with us. I've learned how much work goes into a position like this, and it’s really opened my eyes to what I want to do when I leave college.

Advice for the internship search:
Do not give up. Employers are busy people, and you are in your first steps into your career, and you need to give it your all. Make sure those steps are important steps. Figure out where you want to be in your career, and then go for one step ahead. An internship is a great way to have resume building experience, but it’ also helps you to grow and prepare for the real-world.

Advice for making the most of your internship:
Take it seriously. You are working with professionals in their environment, so act accordingly. Whether it’s paid or unpaid, treat it like you’re being paid the big-bucks. You’re doing everything that the actual employees are doing, so you should be just as cautious.

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