One-on-one with Samantha Weese

Aimee Burch

How many people can say they literally spent their summer at the zoo? Probably not too many. ISU senior Samantha Weese is one of those select few. Weese, majoring in animal ecology, spent part of her summer working as an intern at the Omaha Zoo. Weese described to the Daily her role and what animals she worked with recently.

How did you get this job?

I was interested in doing zoo work, so I just went online. I live near the Omaha Zoo, so I thought it would be really perfect if I could work there. I filled out the application and mailed it in. Then the person who was in charge of the internship was actually at the Iowa State career fair, so I went and introduced myself. She emailed me a couple weeks later and said that I got it.

What were your duties at the Omaha Zoo?

I was a penguin intern. It was basically to follow the penguin keepers around the aquarium while they were doing their daily routines. I made diets for the penguins, so I would provide them fish and make sure they were measured out correctly to the right weight. We did a lot of cleaning around the aquarium. In my last week, I was experienced enough, and I got to feed the penguins, so that was a lot of fun.

Do you have any favorite moments from your time at the zoo?

I got to participate in some training, like training the penguins to follow [the trainers] around if they need to bring them back or if something happens to their wings. They can have the birds follow them into the hallway without having to pick them up and stress the bird out. So I got to participate in some of that and see how they train the penguins to follow and a couple other training routines.

What are your future plans? Is this something you want to pursue after college?

I’m going to be a senior, and I have three semesters left. I’m majoring in animal ecology, so after doing my internship I found out that it is what I want to do after I graduate. I would love to work at the zoo.

My main goal is to be an elephant keeper. I would really love to work with elephants, so next summer I’m applying to an internship at a zoo that has elephant and rhino internships. But I definitely learned through my internship that I definitely want to work at the zoo. That’s definitely where I want to be.