Organization: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
Location: Virginia Beach, VA, United States
Job or Internship: Internship
Description: Virginia Aquarium is currently seeking applicants for an internship position in the mammals department. This internship is designed for college students and recent graduates who are interested in a career in working with marine mammals. Interns will be exposed to all aspects of care for our animals, as well as learn techniques of operant conditioning through positive reinforcement.
Interns assist in food preparation, cleaning and maintenance of relevant animal areas. They will also aid in daily care of our animals that may include observations assisting in the training of the harbor seal and river otter collections. Interns will also observe and assist in behind the scenes programs with guests. Interns may also have the opportunity to observe and participate in portions in the Harbor Seal Splash Program, which is an interactive program where the guests are able to get into the water with our seals.
Applicants must be available for a minimum of 32 hours a week (40 hours a week in the summer) for the duration of the internship. Internship start dates and end dates are flexible to fit school calendars or other program schedules. Changes in start or end dates will be determined on a case by case basis.
Essential Responsibilities: Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:
• Diet preparation for a variety of mammals
• Cleaning of enclosures, habitats, food prep areas and utensils, buckets and equipment
• Maintaining thorough records
• Animal observations
• Entering animal habitats for maintenance and repair, including snorkeling
• Monitoring guest interactions
• Assisting with husbandry and handling of animals as necessary
• Observing and assisting in daily animal training sessions
• Sophomore or higher in college or recent graduate
• Ability to work varied shifts, including weekends and holidays
• Ability to lift 50lbs
• Stand, kneel, or crouch for extended periods of time
• Ability to tolerate working in varying environmental conditions that could include direct sun and warm temperatures, confined spaces with delicate exhibit materials, cold temperature for food storage, and wet conditions in and around aquatic habitats.
• Independent worker and team player
• Applicants should be strong swimmers
• Scuba certification a plus, but not required for internship
Note: In order to obtain approval to have contact with the aquarium’s mammal collections, an intern must provide written proof of his or her rabies pre-exposure vaccinations. The rabies vaccination process will allow an intern to safely work with our entire mammal collection protecting both the student and our animals. The approximate cost of pre-exposure vaccinations varies with different agencies, but will cost in the range of $500.00. Currently, this process involves a series of 3 shots given over a period of 21 days. It is possible to make these arrangements though a family doctor or local health department.
Students can receive academic credit from their school for the internship, but it is the student’s responsibility to arrange for credit and maintain any additional requirements from their school to receive credit.
Interested applicants should fill out an application on the Virginia Aquarium website and submit:
• Cover letter and one-page resume
• Copy of college/university transcript (official or unofficial is fine)
• One letter of recommendation
• If a student would like credit for the internship, a letter from an academic advisor will be requested stating the requirements of the school to get credit for an internship