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SCBI Veterinary Externship

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

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s (SCBI) Department of Conservation Medicine is accepting applications for Veterinary Externships.

This is an opportunity for veterinary students in their clinical (fourth) year of study to gain experience in zoological medicine. Students will participate in all facets of the medical program, including medical records review and writing; preparation for procedures; monitoring and data recording during anesthetic procedures; hands-on exposure to clinical, diagnostic, and surgical techniques; diagnostic imaging; participation in quarantine and outgoing animal procedures; and preparation of laboratory samples under technician supervision. Students will have the opportunity to participate in clinical research as available and will complete a mentored project during the externship. Externs will also gain experience communicating and collaborating with clinicians, technicians, and research staff.

Headquartered in Front Royal, Virginia, SCBI plays a leading role in the Smithsonian's global efforts to save wildlife species from extinction and train future generations of conservationists. The Department of Conservation Medicine at SCBI optimizes the health and well-being of the animal collection, provides veterinary expertise and support for SCBI-based research programs, and advances the health and welfare of zoo animals and wildlife locally and globally through departmental-based research, skilled mentorship, and service in professional organizations.

Learning Objectives: 

The selected extern will:

  • Learn to review medical records, review relevant reading materials, and evaluate and prepare anesthetic protocols in preparation for procedures
  • Gain experience in monitoring and recording anesthetic procedures, writing medical records, and performing physical exams for zoological species
  • Receive hands-on training in the medical procedures, interpreting diagnostic results, and the development and implementation of therapeutic plans
  • Participate in clinical rounds, preventive medicine meetings, and research planning meetings as available
  • Learn about clinical investigation design and implementation, and data collection and interpretation
  • Complete a mentored project (case or case series presentation, special topic, research proposal, etc.), including a presentation for veterinary, research, and husbandry staff
  • Participate in didactic learning opportunities from veterinarians and veterinary technicians based on time and staff availability, with the goal to have at least one opportunity with a veterinary technician and one with a veterinarian. 
  • Externship is open to veterinary students in their clinical year of their curriculum.
  • Interest in zoo and wildlife medicine and research
  • Flexible, reliable, self-motivated, with good time-management skills
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status
  • Ability to pass a federal background check
  • Negative tuberculin skin test within six months of rotation and up-to-date rabies prophylaxis
This is an unpaid internship.
Front Royal
Housing may available on the SCBI campus on a case-by-case basis. Pets are not allowed in the intern dorms. Please request housing in your application.
Parking is available at the Veterinary Hospital and the Veterinary Office Building.
Term of appointment: 

This is a 6- to 8-week externship for clinical-year veterinary students. Externs are expected to spend a minimum of 40 hours per week on site (8 a.m. to 4:30 pm), with the potential for after-hours and weekend emergencies. Externs are accepted from January to mid-November.

Application deadline is May 30th, 2023 for 2024-2025 school year (June 2024-June 2025).  

Application deadline(s): 
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Internship Category: 
Animal Programs
How to Apply: 

To apply, go to 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 externship, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations.
  • Two letters of reference
  • Preferred externship dates

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: “SCBI – Veterinary Externship”

Questions about this externship should be directed to Dr. Kristi Delaski at delaskik@si.edu.