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Primate Behavior Intern

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

Studying and understanding primate behavior is essential to the overall assessment of their welfare and care practices. The National Zoo's primate team is currently seeking interns to assist with studies in the areas of guenon social behavior and guenon enrichment assessment.

Primate Behavior interns will be responsible for collecting behavioral data to assess overall social relationships within a mixed species group of Allen's swamp monkeys and Schmidt's red-tailed monkeys. Additionally, interns will evaluate guenon environmental enrichment activities for effectiveness and have the opportunity to design, construct and implement novel environmental enrichment items for this monkey group. This internship will be largely research based but will also include duties related to cleaning enclosures, food preparation and animal monitoring as needed.

Learning Objectives: 

This is an unpaid internship opportunity wherein the intern will support the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Department of Animal Programs - Primates.

Through this internship, interns will:

  • Gain a significant understanding of primate behavior through observation and development of ethograms to quantify natural behaviors
  • Gain experience in all aspects of scientific research, including literature review, study design, data collection, data analysis and formal presentation
  • Design, construct and implement novel environmental enrichment
  • Learn basic primate husbandry, including cleaning exhibits, preparing food and enrichment activities, and assisting with environmental enhancements

A bachelor’s degree (or current students working toward a degree) in a related field, such as zoology, biology, anthropology, wildlife science, psychology, etc., is required. Experience with primates and/or in conducting behavioral research is preferred, but not required. Interns must be able to commit to a regular schedule, three days a week from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Interns should be professional, self-motivated and have the ability to work both independently and in a team environment with staff and volunteers. The ability to stand, stoop, climb and lift up to 50 pounds is required.Upon acceptance, interns will be required to provide documentation of a current (within three months) negative TB test and tetanus. Accepted interns must also pass a background check prior to their start date.

This is an unpaid internship. College credit is offered if desired; intern is responsible for obtaining necessary approvals from their university. Intern will be responsible for all transportation costs and personal health insurance.
Washington DC
No lodging is available and individual is responsible for their own transportation.
The Smithsonian's National Zoo and the Smithsonian Institution do not provide free parking to interns.
Term of appointment: 

Fall session (Sept. 1, 2017 to Nov. 30, 2017). Reasonable exceptions may be made in order to coordinate with university schedules.

Application deadline(s): 
Monday, August 7, 2017
Internship Category: 
Animal Programs
How to Apply: 

To apply, go to: 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
  • 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.

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 - Primate Behavior Intern”

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.