Due to weekend storm activity, some Panda Palooza activities have been postponed. See the full schedule here.

Share this page:

Small Mammal House Enrichment Internship

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

The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute provides the opportunity for interns to gain experience in enrichment and other husbandry-related tasks at the Zoo's Small Mammal House. The intern must target species-specific behaviors for more than 30 species of mammals, including carnivores, rodents and primates. Interns will assist staff in developing new enrichment items and protocols while conducting a related project and shadowing daily keeper duties.

Learning Objectives: 

Through this internship, interns will:

  • Learn to design, construct and implement environmental enrichment
  • Learn to research and create new enrichment for the Zoo's Small Mammal House residents. All enrichment must fall within established safety guidelines for each species. Behavioral observations will be essential in order to evaluate the success of all enrichment.
  • Learn basic animal husbandry, including cleaning exhibits and preparing food, alongside animal care staff
  • Learn formal and informal interpretive educational programs for visitors
  • 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.

  • Strong preference will be given to undergraduate and graduate students or recent graduates pursuing a career in a related field
  • 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 devote to a regular schedule, including potential 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 their start date.
This is an unpaid internship. Staff will give strong support of the applicant’s pursuit of college credit for experience during the 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 their own housing arrangements in the Washington, D.C., area.
The Smithsonian's National Zoo does not provide free parking to interns. Public transportation is suggested.
Term of appointment: 

Internship runs from Aug.-Dec. 2023. Exact start and end dates to be determined upon selection. Interns must be able to devote 20-30 hours per week. Reasonable exceptions may be made to coordinate with university or work schedules.

Please note: The deadline for this fall internship is May 31st, 2023.

Application deadline(s): 
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Internship Category: 
Animal Programs
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:

  • Cover sheet including name, address, phone numbers, email address, and which internship or internships you are applying for.
  • 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. If referrers prefer to send letters of reference directly to the intern coordinator, they may do so to the email address below. However, applicants must notify the coordinators if their references will be arriving separately or the application may be considered incomplete.
  • Schedule of availability (typical schedule is 3 days per week, 7am-3pm, reasonable exceptions may be made in order to coordinate with job or university schedules)

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 Enrichment”

Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit.” Your SOLAA-submitted application with references must be received by the deadlines as noted above.