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Small Mammal House Education and Zoo Keeper Intern

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

The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Friends of the National Zoo seek an intern interested in acquiring and developing 21st century zoo professional skills in animal care and education. 

This internship provides the opportunity to gain experience in animal care and husbandry-related tasks at the Zoo's Small Mammal House, as well as in educational curriculum development, program facilitation, and interpretation with FONZ's Conservation Education and Volunteer Engagement team.

The intern will work with both teams on to develop a holistic view of education, animal care and conservation behavior. The intern will shadow a Small Mammal House keeper and a FONZ educator throughout the semester and will develop and deliver special small mammal-related curriculum content to the FONZ home-school program.

Learning Objectives: 

Through this internship, interns will:

  • Learn to design, develop and implement education program curriculum using best practices in education theory and conservation psychology
  • Learn basic animal husbandry, including cleaning exhibits and preparing food alongside animal care staff
  • Learn formal and informal interpretive techniques for engaging with visitors and education program participants.
  • Learn and follow animal/keeper safety guidelines, operations, and polices.
  • Support will be given to any intern who wishes to pursue publications of their project results at the end of their internship.
  • Must be able to work both independently and in a team environment with staff and volunteers
  • Strong communication and public speaking skills
  • Ability to stand, stoop, climb and lift up to 50 pounds
  • Flexibility and a good sense of humor
  • Must be willing to commit to a regular schedule, including weekends and holidays

Upon acceptance and one month prior to arriving for work, the intern will be required to provide documentation for a current negative TB test and tetanus shot. The intern must also pass a background check prior to his or her start date.

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.
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: 

A four-month internship is available for the spring term from Jan. 1 to May 15. Interns must be able to commit to 20-30 hours per week. Reasonable exceptions may be made to coordinate with university schedules.

Please note: The application deadline for fall internships is June 14.

Application deadline(s): 
Friday, October 18, 2019
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
  • 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: “Rock Creek - Small Mammals Education Keeper Internship”

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.