Monday, August 18, 2014

Interning at the Aquarium

Each spring, summer and fall, the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher accepts applications for interns in aquariology, education, horticulture, administration and design. Interns at the Aquarium learn about the animals, how to take care of them and how to educate people about them. These opportunities supply valuable work experience needed to begin a career. This summer, there are three interns in the Education Department. Here they share about their experiences.

Ellie, Education Intern at NCAFF
"My name is Ellie and I am one of the Education interns. I study marine biology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and am about to enter my junior year. I have many duties as an intern, such as presenting programs and educating the public at one of our four exhibits: bald eagle, sea turtle, invertebrate touch tank and shark touch tank. In addition, I have a project I must complete by the end of the summer.  My project this summer is to share with guests an education cart about deep sea animals and how they live.  I have always loved the deep sea, and it amazes me how little we truly know about the animals that live there. This internship offers a great opportunity for me to learn how to help people better understand the ocean, how we can conserve our oceans and help the important creatures living in them. There is something incredibly special about seeing the look on someone’s face when they realize they can touch a stingray or when you teach them something they didn't know before."

"My name is Johanna. Before I came here as an intern, I was a volunteer in the Aquarium’s Education department. I enjoyed teaching visitors so much I decided to come back. I became an intern because I am studying Biological Oceanography at North Carolina State University and I wanted more experience in my field. I've learned about guest interaction and also a lot about the animals at the Aquarium. I've also trained on how to work with certain animals used for animal encounters and programs. All of this knowledge will be really helpful in the future and it has given me many new skills. During my internship, I created a dive cart that teaches visitors how to put on SCUBA equipment and about what each piece does. This was my favorite part about my internship because I was able to teach others. I’m really thankful for this position at the Aquarium because it is exciting and very helpful for me to be in an environment where there is something new to learn every day."

Nichole, Education Intern at NCAFF
"My name is Nichole and I am currently enrolled in the Biology program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. I became an education intern because I wanted to be more involved in the Aquarium and learn more about this particular career field. Environmental education is a career path I have considered and this was a way for me to see what it would be like. There are many parts of the job I enjoy, but my favorite things to do are feeding programs. The public loves to watch the daily animal feedings.  It’s fun to use that time to teach visitors about those animals and make the environmental connection for them.  Each intern is working on a project and mine is constructing a lesson plan for math and science using information about cold stunned sea turtles. This lesson plan will be for kindergarten to fifth grades and go along with a larger series of lesson plans that will be available for all teachers to use."

Interested in interning at the Aquarium? Check out the internship page of our website for more information and learn how to apply.