Batten Fellowships for Exhibits and Husbandry: Harbor Seal Collection




Organization: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center (AZA Member)
Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia, Country
Job or Internship: Internship

Batten Fellowships for Exhibits and Husbandry (Stipend Provided)Mammal Enrichment ProjectThis year the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is offering a fellowship position in the Mammals Section of the Exhibits and Husbandry Division during the spring/summer session from May to September. This position focuses on the Aquariums collection of Harbor seals. These fellowships are supplemented by a stipend to offset a portion of personal and incidental expenses.Batten Fellowship Requirements for Application:Batten Fellows candidates must meet the following requirements for application:• Must be 18 years or older • Must be a rising college junior or senior, recent graduate or be pursuing a post-graduate degree in a science-based program • Must have demonstrated pursuit of a career in marine or veterinary science through college course work• Must have sound, basic math and computer skills using MS spreadsheets, database utilization, creation and data entry• Must have a valid U.S. drivers license and good driving record• Must be able to swim and be comfortable in and around open water that is cold • Must be self-motivated and able to perform activities alone or as part of a team • Must be able to lift and carry 50 pounds and assist with lifting and moving larger loads • Must be able to work in extreme conditions (high heat, cold, humidity)• SCUBA certification is not required. Strong swimming and snorkeling experience is desired. • Obtaining rabies pre-exposure at the applicants own expense is strongly recommended but not required. Acquiring rabies pre-exposure will provide opportunities for possible contact with other mammal species under the care of the Harbor Seal training team and allow consistent mammal contact while being supervised. PreferenceGraduate level student with demonstrated background in marine mammal husbandry and/or formal behavioral training. Materials required in application packet:Fellowship applicants will include with their application, a current college transcript detailing completed coursework to date and GPA, cover letter, resume, a letter stating expectations of the Fellowship, and two reference letters (one must be from an advisor or professor that may speak on your academic background). Batten Fellowship Expectations Overview:Batten Fellows bring a higher level of dedication and scientific interest to the experience, will be integrated more fully into staff activities, and expected to significantly contribute to the goals of the division. Fellows will perform data entry of a particular data set as the primary goal of their fellowship experience. Batten Fellows will be expected to work with their Virginia Aquarium supervisor to develop an appropriate database for the organization of the data set they are assigned. Fellows will be regularly incorporated into husbandry duties that support their understanding of the data with which they are working. Fellows will give an oral (MS PowerPoint) presentation summarizing the preliminary data results of their work at the conclusion of the fellowship and complete a survey/exit interview. It will be the responsibility of the Batten Fellow, not Fellowship supervisor, to ensure that any requirements for academic credit at a home institution are fulfilled.Batten Fellowship Schedule:• Fellowship duration: 400 hours• Working on site on weekends and holidays is possibleBatten Fellowship Available:Enrichment ideas and impacts on visually impaired seals vs those with vision. • Inventory currently supply of enrichment items utilized for the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center’s Harbor seal collection and evaluate effectiveness of each item used to enhance their environment and welfare. Determine if any items offer any exceptional stimulation for our seals and if visual acuity has any impact on what is preferred. Develop a refined process of enrichment rotation enabling staff to rotate new items consistently and track use. Develop one new enrichment item or idea and construct. Evaluate animal’s interest in this new item. • Assist in the duties of aquatic exhibits husbandry and maintenance in the mammals department with focus on the daily care and feeding of the aquariums Harbor seals. Responsibilities will include but not limited to food preparation, feeding, and support of husbandry team as needed.• Development and presentation of preliminary data results in a MS powerpoint presentation to Aquarium staff during the last week of the fellowship.Batten Fellowship Funding:This competitive position will provide a stipend of $3000 to help offset some personal and incidental expenses over the course of the appointment period.Batten Fellowship Selection:Batten Fellows are highly self-motivated, detail-oriented, well- organized individuals interested in pursuing a career in aquarium science, marine animal husbandry, marine biology or a related field. Fellowship applicants will be selected on their completed coursework to date, GPA, cover letter, resume, expectations letter, and two reference letters (one must be from an advisor or professor that may speak on your academic background), previous related experience, and an interview.Applications are due by March 29, 2013 and notification of acceptance will occur no later than April 19, 2013. Applicants not accepted for a Batten Fellowship position will have the option of being considered for a general internship (no stipend) with the Exhibits and Husbandry Division, if interested. Applicants also interested in the possibility of a general internship are encouraged to include this information with the Batten Fellowship application, OR complete a separate internship application.How to apply:Batten Fellow candidates are required to provide a cover letter indicating the specific Batten Fellowship opportunity, resume (including GPA, completed coursework and previous experience), expectations letter, two reference letters (one must be from an advisor or professor that may speak on your academic background) and an interview. Forward documentation to: Volunteer Services Office – Batten FellowsVirginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center717 General Booth BoulevardVirginia Beach, VA 23451