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Center for Species Survival Internship in One Health

This internship has closed. To see open and upcoming opportunities, visit the internships page.

The One Health concept rests on the foundational belief that human health cannot be divorced from the health of animals and the environment. The One Health concept seeks to incorporate the skills and knowledge of professionals and organizations in the areas of human health, animal health, environmental science and conservation into a holistic approach to human health.

This internship is a collaboration between the Department of Nutrition Science, the Department of Wildlife Health Sciences and the Center for Species Survival. It will center around three core activities: clinical nutrition and animal health, laboratory-based investigations of animal nutrition, and human public health research (mainly in the area of maternal and child health). The internship will entail assigned readings, discussions with mentors (Mike Maslanka, Victoria Hall and Michael Power), lectures on relevant but diverse topics, and hands-on activities, such as laboratory assays, data entry and cleaning, extraction of data from medical records, training in body condition scoring for wildlife, and construction of surveys related to health care topics. All interns will assist with multiple projects to achieve a broad understanding of the variety of careers and expertise relevant to One Health.

Learning Objectives: 

Interns will perform tasks both individually and as a team. An intern will always participate in more than one project. The projects an intern assists with are determined by Dr. Michael Power, with regard for the intern’s interests and skill set. Projects range from basic science questions to practical applications of lab work in assessing foods to be fed to the Smithsonian's National Zoo's animals.

The current projects planned for this session include:

Clinical nutrition

  • Food intake measurements of selected species in order to evaluate diet
  • Body condition scoring of birds in relation to chemical analysis for body fat
  • Extraction of data from veterinary records to examine for patterns in morbidity and mortality that may have a nutritional basis

Laboratory-based nutritional ecology and animal physiology

  • Assaying plant materials for nutrient composition to support projects investigating the nutritional ecology of wild animals in situ (e.g., plant foods eaten by mountain gorillas in Rwanda)
  • Longitudinal changes in milk composition and their relation to infant growth and development

Public health with an emphasis on maternal and child health

  • Substance use by pregnant and lactating women, especially opioids and marijuana
  • Potential spread of parasites and pathogens affecting pregnancy and birth due to climate change
  • Barriers to acceptance of vaccines during pregnancy

Through this internship, interns will:

  • Be trained to become proficient in a number of laboratory analytical techniques to measure nutrients and other bioactive substances in biological samples (foods, milk, feces, etc.)
  • Be trained on how to collect, organize and perform preliminary analysis of research data
  • Learn the basic protocols for conducting survey research and have the opportunity to perform basic statistical analysis on data sets
  • Be trained on how to extract epidemiological data from medical records
  • Conduct literature searches on selected topics and produce summaries and abstracts from selected papers
  • Attend six to eight lectures on topics relevant to One Health

The intern must be:

  • Interested in exotic animal biology and the links between animals, environment, and human health and disease
  • Available to devote 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday, toward learning
  • Able to engage within a team environment with staff, other interns and a variety of scientists
  • Flexible and have a good sense of humor
  • In good physical condition, able to stand, stoop, climb, and to lift at least 50 pounds
  • Comfortable with public speaking and must have strong communication skills

Laboratory experience and skills are a plus. This internship will entail a significant amount of time performing laboratory assays.

Interns will be fingerprinted and must pass a background check.

There is a stipend of $650 per week for 40 hours per week.
Washington DC
The intern will make his or her own housing arrangements in the Washington, D.C., area.
The Smithsonian's National Zoo and the Smithsonian Institution do not provide free parking to interns.
Term of appointment: 

This internship lasts 10-12 weeks. Start and end dates are flexible in order to coordinate with university and individual schedules.

Application deadline(s): 
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Internship Category: 
How to Apply: 

To apply, go to: Select "New to SOLAA? Create Account Here," and complete the information to create an account.

Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • Professional resume or CV and a short cover letter introducing yourself.<
  • A one-page (maximum 750 words) statement of your interest in pursuing this position. The statement should mention relevant experience, career goals, and especially your reasons for wanting this internship and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations. Explain why this internship will affect your future educational and career goals.<
  • Transcripts from your current and/or previous institutions. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
  • Contact information for two people who can serve as academic/work-related references (not letters of reference; just contact information).
  • Schedule of availability

Once you create your account and provide the information above, you will see a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in. You will select:

  • Type of appointment: “Internship”
  • Unit of interest: “National Zoological Park”
  • Program: “National Zoological Park Internship Program"
  • Project: “Rock Creek – CSS – Internship in One Health”

IMPORTANT: Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit.” Your SOLAA submitted application with references must be received by the deadlines as noted above.

For additional information regarding the One Health internship, please email Michael Power at Phones calls will not be accepted.