Small Mammal Enrichment Intern

Organization: National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institution (AZA Member)
Location: Washington, DC, United States
Job or Internship: Internship

Providing enrichment for the myriad of animals at the National Zoo's Small Mammal unit can be a daunting task. Enrichment at Small Mammals must target species-specific behaviors for more than 30 species of mammals including carnivores, rodents, and primates. Interns will assist staff in developing new enrichment items and protocols while conducting a related project.

Duties and Responsibilities

• The intern’s main duties will focus on the design, construction, and implementation of environmental enrichment. Interns will research and create new enrichment for the Zoo's Small Mammal House residents. All enrichment must fall within established safety guidelines for each species. Behavioral observations will be essential, in order to evaluate the success of all primate enrichment.

• Assist keepers with daily exhibit cleaning, food preparation, and general facility maintenance.

• Provide formal and informal interpretive educational programs for Zoo visitors.

• Learn and follow all safety protocols and policies of the unit.

• Though not required, support will be given to any intern who wishes to pursue publications of their project results at the end of their internship.

Required Qualifications

• Strong preference will be given to undergraduate and graduate students or recent graduates pursuing a career in a related field.

• Ability to work both independently and in a team environment with staff and volunteers

• Strong communication and public speaking skills

• Ability to stand, stoop, climb, and lift up to 50 pounds

• Flexibility and a good sense of humor

• Availability to work a regular schedule, including weekends and holidays

• Upon acceptance and one month prior to arriving for work, the intern will be required to provide documentation for a current negative TB test and tetanus shot. The intern must also pass a background check prior to his or her start date.


This is an unpaid, volunteer position. We will give strong support of the applicant’s pursuit of college credit for experience during the internship.

Housing & Parking

The intern will make his or her own housing arrangements in the Washington, D.C., area. Parking is not provided to National Zoo interns. Public transportation is strongly suggested.


Washington, D.C.

Term of Appointment

A three-and-a-half month internship is available for the Spring (January 15-April 30). Interns will work 20 to 30 hours per week. Reasonable exceptions may be made in order to coordinate with university schedules.

Application Deadlines

Spring session (January through April): Applications accepted between August 1 and August 31

Applicants will be notified of their acceptance at least five weeks before their start date.

To Apply

Please send the following materials in one mailing to the Small Mammal House Internship Coordinators by email through the following form:

• Cover sheet including name, address, phone numbers, email address, and which internship or internships you are applying for.

• Resume or CV summarizing education (including current academic status) and employment experience.

• A one-page statement of your interest in pursuing this position. The statement should mention relevant experience, career goals, your reasons for wanting this internship, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations.

• Transcripts from your current and/or previous institutions. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.

• Two letters of reference, including at least one academic reference. If referrers prefer to send letters of reference directly to the intern coordinator, they may do so to the email address below. However applicants must notify the coordinators if their references will be arriving separately or the application may be considered incomplete.

• Schedule of availability.

If an item cannot be sent electronically, please let us know in your application that you will require a mailing address. Please note that mail often takes several weeks to reach our NZP office. Email is preferred.

You can view this posting on the National Zoo’s website at: