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Elephant Health and Conservation Research Internship

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

This internship will provide the student with experience in wildlife conservation research. The student will learn about health issues experienced by African and Asian elephants in North American zoos, and the different factors associated with morbidity and mortality. This will also provide an opportunity for the student to learn about the practicalities of conducting research with zoo animals, the types of data available and about data management and organization. The student will also learn about the range of conservation research being conducted at SCBI through participation in bi-monthly endocrine lab meetings, monthly journal clubs, monthly student discussion groups, bi-monthly “Meet the Scientist” series, and the SCBI Friday lecture series. This internship does NOT involve contact with animals or training in laboratory techniques.

This internship will provide the student with an increased understanding of wildlife and conservation medicine research. Students will also be given the opportunity to observe laboratory and veterinary techniques/procedures as opportunities arise. Feedback will be given as needed as the student progresses through their training. Once successfully completed, the student will receive written documentation of completion of the internship in the form of a certificate. We will provide the student with recommendations for future internships/jobs as needed for a two year period.

Learning Objectives: 

This is an unpaid internship opportunity wherein the intern will participate in ongoing elephant health and conservation research with a dedicated team of investigators in the endocrinology lab of renowned elephant physiologist, Dr. Janine L. Brown of the Smithsonian's National Zoo.

Through this internship, interns will:
• Learn how to identify and categorize clinical problems encountered in zoo elephants from historical records
• Learn how to interpret and analyze health data using an epidemiological approach
• Learn to work with, organize and manage large data sets
• Learn how to conducted wildlife conservation research
• Learn basic statistical analyses for application to wildlife conservation
• Learn how to present data to a scientific audience


• Must be at least entering their junior year of college in the Fall of 2016 at an accredited institution.
• Must be interested in wildlife medicine, conservation and research with zoo based animals.
• Must be available to devote 40-60 hours a week, including some weekends and holidays, towards learning
• Must be comfortable working with excel.
• Must have strong communication skills.
• Must be able to engage within a team environment with staff, other interns, and a variety of volunteers.
• Must be flexible and have a good sense of humor.
• Must be comfortable with public speaking on and off microphone.
• Must be fingerprinted and pass a background check.
• Applicants must be pursuing, or are interested in pursuing, an advanced degree in wildlife research, conservation biology, veterinary medicine and wildlife management.

This is an unpaid internship. Special consideration will be given to applicants who receive college credit for internship. Intern is responsible for obtaining necessary approvals from their university. Intern will be responsible for all transportation costs and personal health insurance.
Front Royal
The intern will be provided with free housing at CSS/SCBI for the duration of the internship, provided they adhere to dorm rules and regulations, and remain in good standing with the project lead.
The intern will be provided with free parking at CSS/SCBI for the duration of the internship, provided they adhere to the rules and regulations pertaining to the use of a personal vehicle on site, and remain in good standing with the project lead.
Term of appointment: 

This is a three-month internship starting January 2, 2017 and ending April 3, 2017, with the possibility of being extended for an additional three months. The start and end dates are not flexible, unless the student is invited to extend their training.

Application deadline(s): 
Friday, October 21, 2016
Internship Category: 
How to Apply: 

To apply, go to: https://solaa.si.edu. Select "Don't have an Account? Create An Account." Complete the information to create an account.

Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • Professional resume or CV
  • 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 (one must be from a current or a former supervisor)
  • 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: “”

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.