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Conservation Ecology Center - 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. One Health 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 an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Department of Nutrition Science (Mike Maslanka), the Department of Wildlife Health Sciences (Dr. Don Neiffer) and the Conservation Ecology Center (Michael Power), and will center around three core activities: clinical nutrition and animal health, laboratory-based investigations of animal nutrition and human public health research in the area of maternal and child health.

Learning Objectives: 

Interns will perform tasks both individually and as a team. There are always multiple projects being undertaken, and an intern will always participate in more than one project. The projects an intern assists with are determined by Conservation Ecology Center scientist Michael Power with regard to the intern’s interests and skill set. Projects range from basic science questions to practical application of lab work in assessing foods to be fed the Smithsonian's National Zoo's animals. The current projects planned for this session include:

  • Clinical nutrition
  • Longitudinal changes in milk composition and their relation to infant growth
  • Evaluation of digestive efficiency of the common marmoset, and the relation between diet, digestive function and health
  • Laboratory-based nutritional ecology
  • Assaying plant materials for nutrient composition to support projects investigating the nutritional ecology of wild animals in situ; e.g., plant foods fed on by mountain gorillas in Rwanda
  • Maternal and child health
  • Knowledge and attitudes of health care providers and pregnant women regarding the importance of regulating gestational weight gain to within the Institute of Medicine’s recommended ranges based on maternal body mass index
  • Pregnant women’s intentions of how they will feed their babies after birth
  • Potential spread of parasites and pathogens affecting pregnancy and birth due to climate change

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.)
  • Receive training 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
  • Conduct literature searches on selected topics and attend six to eight lectures on topics relevant to One Health

Intern must be enrolled in or recently graduated from a degree-granting institution and have an interest in  exotic animal biology and the links between animals, environment and human health and disease. Intern must be available  to devote 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday, toward learning. Strong communication skills, flexibility, a good sense of humor and the ability to engage  within a team environment with staff, other interns and a variety of scientists is required.

Intern must  be in good physical condition and able to stand, stoop, climb and lift at least 50 pounds. Incumbent must be comfortable with public speaking on and off microphone.  Laboratory experience and skills are a plus. This internship will entail a significant amount of time performing laboratory assays. Intern must be fingerprinted and pass a background check.

This is a paid internship.
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: 

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

Application deadline(s): 
Monday, April 30, 2018
Internship Category: 
Animal Programs
How to Apply: 

To apply, go to:” Select "New to SOLAA? Create Account Here" 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 – Conservation Ecology Center - 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. 


Please email Michael Power for more information regarding the One Health Internship. Phones calls will NOT be accepted.