Bring Back Bison

Let's bring bison back to our Zoo!

National Zoo’s Reptile Discovery Center Behavior Internship

The Reptile Discovery Center (RDC) at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park is seeking an animal behavior intern for the fall Semester. The RDC is seeking an intern to help observe, record and analyze animal behavior. This position requires a bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences, good observation and communication skills and a minimum of 8 hours a week.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • The intern’s main duties will focus on observing, recording and analyzing animal behavior.
  • 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 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


This is an unpaid, volunteer position.

Housing & Parking

The intern will make his or her own housing arrangements in the Washington, D.C., area. Parking is not provided by Smithsonian or FONZ to interns.


Rock Creek Park, 3000 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.

Term of Appointment

A three-and-a-half month internship is available for the Fall (Sept 2013-Jan 2014). Interns will work 8 to 25 hours per week. Reasonable exceptions may be made in order to coordinate with University or work schedules.

Application Deadlines

Fall session (September through February): Applications accepted now. Closing date for applications is: 1 October 2013.

To Apply

Go to www.si.edu/ofi and select “Apply” from the list on the left. Click the link “Smithsonian On Line Academic Appointment System https://solaa.si.edu/solaa/SOLAAHome.html

and then “New to SOLAA? Create an Account.” When you complete the information to create an account, you will get a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in. You will select “Internship.” Then you will select the unit you are interested in, “National Zoological Park.” Then you will select the Program you are interested in, “National Zoological Park Internship Program.” Finally, once you begin completing the application, you will indicate the Project (= to department) you are interested in, “Rock Creek – Reptile Discovery Center.”

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 deadlines as noted above). Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • Resume or CV summarizing education and work experience
  • College or university and current academic status (unofficial transcripts acceptable)
  • Degrees held or expected
  • A one page statement stating:
    • Why you are interested in this internship at the National Zoo, including specifically the area selected (Reptile Discovery Center, Behavioral Study) and any prior animal experience.
    • What you hope to get out of this internship (learning objectives)
    • Schedule of availability
    • Two letters of reference, submitted directly to SOLAA


Email Matt Evans at evansmj@si.edu for further information about this internship.