Biology major Kendall Harris’ interest in veterinary medicine led her all the way to California this summer, where she is working in the Oakland Zoo’s 12-week Zookeeper Intern Program.
Harris, a rising junior, is chronicling some of her activities on her blog, A Day at the Zoo
. She has been assigned to care for a diverse range of species from 400-pound tortoises to alligators, giraffes, eland, and birds such as vultures and geese.
She is learning the ins and outs of caring for wild animals in a captive setting, which comes with special responsibilities to keep them healthy and happy. Beyond mucking and feeding, Harris has taken part in training sessions and enrichment activities. Both activities stimulate the animals mentally and physically.
Zookeepers use training to make regular veterinary care easier on the humans and less stressful for the animals. Enrichment techniques help encourage healthy behaviors that animals in the wild would normally engage in while discouraging unhealthy ones.
“It really is a great internship and as long as someone is willing to work hard I would recommend it to anyone interested in working with animals,” Harris said. “The internship has made me strongly consider becoming an exotic animal vet.”
About Internships at Sweet Briar
In short, they’re important. At last count, more than 50 seniors, juniors and sophomores will complete academic internships this summer, both in this country and abroad in a variety of departments including: Arts Management, Biology, Business Management, Education, English, Engineering, Environmental Science/Studies, Government and Psychology.
As to where, they include: Sarasota Ballet Company, Historic Richmond Foundation, Georgetown’s Semester in Washington, End Station Theater, NGO Universidad Internacional (Adelante), Lynchburg General Hospital, California State Games, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Organizing for America, William Byrd Community House, Taller Accion Communitaria Community Action Workshop, Roanoke Island Historical Association, Babcox and Wilcox Energy Solutions, UBS Financial Services, McIntosh Stables USA, North Carolina Maritime Museum, Owl Creek Vet Hospital, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Verizon Wireless, Centaur Farms, Fauquier County Dep’t of Social Services, Forsyth County Environmental Affairs Department, McLeod Center, Amway Global/LTD, Freeman’s Auctioneers, Virginia Equine Services, Alternative Paths Training School, Duke University Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, Roses, Blooms and More, ID-Public Relations, Advance Auto, Sewa Bhutanese refugee program, SUNY Downstate Hospital, Audiology of Tulsa, Amazement Square, Academic of Fine Arts, SBC department of Government and International Affairs and the Mathematics department, and a number of elementary and high schools.