Small Mammal House Enrichment Internship
Providing enrichment for the myriad of animals at Small Mammals 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.
- Strong preference will be given to undergraduate 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.
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.
Term of Appointment
A three-and-a-half month internship is available for the Fall (September 15-December 30) and Spring (January 1-April 15). Interns will work 20 to 30 hours per week. Reasonable exceptions may be made in order to coordinate with university schedules.
- Spring session (January through April): Applications accepted between August 1 and August 31
- Fall session (September through December): Applications accepted between April 1 and April 30
- There is no summer session available for this internship.
- Applicants will be notified of their acceptance at least five weeks before their start date.
Go to https://solaa.si.edu to create an account in the Smithsonian On-Line Academic Appointment System. Go to Internship Opportunities section and submit application materials to the National Zoological Park Internship Program. When completing the application, select the project “Rock Creek – Small Mammal House”. Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit” and when your references have been received (your SOLAA submitted application and references must be received by the deadline as noted above).
Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:
- 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.
- Schedule of availability.
For additional information
Questions about this internship should be sent to
Ashton Shaffer. Send general internship questions to