Angelea McPartlin, 2018 – Shadow Zookeeping Internship at LEO Zoological Conservation Center in Greenwich, CT

My name is Angelea McPartlin, and I am a recent graduate of Skidmore College. While at Skidmore, I majored in Biology and Environmental Studies with a minor in anthropology. I am interning at LEO Zoological Conservation Center in Greenwich Connecticut.

While I have already discussed the basics of my internship in a previous post, I would now like to discuss the process that got me to where I am. I began looking for internships over winter break this past school year. I was looking, ideally, for something involving exotic animals close to my hometown in Westchester County, New York. I have previous experience with non-releasable native species, but was looking to work with more exotic species such as primates and big cats. I used the Association of Zoos and Aquarium website to find openings and opportunities. However, I found the position at LEO through a google search of “zookeeping jobs.” When I heard back from the office at LEO in February, I was beyond excited. However, I had to weigh the possibility of not receiving funding with committing to work unpaid 5 days a week. I decided that the opportunity was worth it because of the internship itself and the connections offered by LEO. LEO works with many conservation groups doing work abroad to save species, and I was very interested in potentially having a tie to these groups should I pursue research or conservation work in the future. LEO also offered the most hands-on experience with these animals, which is exceptionally important in the career field I am pursuing.

Some advice I would give on searching for internships would be to start early. Organizations like when they can sense your excitement to be a part of their work, and applying early can show how interested you are. It also allows for more opportunities to emerge if your earlier plans do not pan out. I would also suggest networking once at your internship – forming connections with ties to your field of interest is never bad.

In regards to the funding process, I found the Career Development Center to be exceedingly helpful. They helped me decide which opportunities to pursue, how to go about it and how to weigh my options. They also helped me apply for the funding, which was greatly appreciated as it worked! The application process was simple and not highly stressful. I was notified by the stated deadline of my status, and was able to plan accordingly afterward. This is an amazing opportunity that more students should pursue.

I would also like to share with you a development in my internship. While I was previously set to continue as an intern until December thanks to the Post-Graduate funding I received from Skidmore, I have now agreed to stay on for additional time as a Carnivore Apprentice. This apprenticeship will begin in September and run for the next 8 months. I am very excited for this opportunity, and cannot wait to get started. Without the aid afforded to me by the post-grad funding, I could not have hoped to be able to pursue this unpaid position that could truly make my future career possible.

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