Internships

Columbian Park Zoo offers a variety of exciting internship opportunities for current college students or recent graduates.  All academic majors are encouraged to apply.


Internship Focus Areas (varies seasonally):

  • Animal Care: Ambassador Collection
  • Animal Care: Australia/Americas Exhibits
  • Animal Care: Family Farm Exhibit
  • Education: Animal Handling & Programs
  • Education: Instructional Design and Lesson Planning
  • Education: Social Media Communications
  • Landscape/Horticulture

Seasons and Time Commitments:

Summer Internships: 

  • Internship runs May - August, flexible start and end dates
  • Full-time or part-time availability
  • Minimum 20 hours per week/13 week commitment required
  • Apply: January-March
  • Applications for the 2022 Summer Internships are now closed

Fall Internships:  

  • Internship runs August - December
  • Minimum 15 hours per week/13 week commitment required
  • Apply: February-April
  • Applications for the 2022 Fall Internships are now closed

 Spring Internships:

  • Internship runs January - April
  • Minimum 15 hours per week/13 week commitment required
  • Apply: October-November
  • Applications for the 2023 Spring Internships are due no later than Friday, November 4, 2022
  • To view the 2023 Spring Internship application and to apply online click here

All internships are unpaid, and primarily educational in nature.  Internships provide valuable hands-on learning opportunities. Housing and transportation are the responsibility of the intern. Flexible scheduling available, including weekends, to accommodate most class/work schedules. 


  1. Internships: How do they work?
  2. Animal Care Focus Areas
  3. Education Focus Areas
  4. Landscaping/Horticulture

How does it work?

Candidates selected into the internship program are assigned a focus area based on where their skills and availability best fit. Interns are paired with a staff mentor who will help guide them through the onboarding and training process and provide advice and feedback as they gain skills. Interns begin working alongside qualified staff with the goal of attaining a level of competence in their focus area to be able to work independently by the conclusion of the internship.

 

What does an intern do every day?

That depends on what focus the intern is assigned to, and can vary a bit depending on their work schedule. For example, there are some routine tasks that happen in the mornings so afternoon interns may not have the exact same experiences as morning interns. Likewise, interns working in animal care will have different experiences than those working in education or other roles, but we are all working together to meet our common Zoo mission! There are ample opportunities to learn more about how the puzzle pieces come together through observation, teamwork, and discussions with mentoring staff!

Click the tabs for a brief sample of things an intern in each focus area may experience on a given day:


Are there cross-training opportunities?

Potentially. There is a lot to learn in a short amount of time, so internships are structured so as to focus on a single area with the goal of proficiency, then mastery of that area. We do permit interns to shadow in other areas, provided their attendance and performance is progressing satisfactorily. Limited cross-training may be provided at the Zoo’s discretion, but should not be expected. However, as a small facility with a high degree of integration, interns can expect a significant amount of exposure to the goings-on of other areas and have ample opportunities to gain big picture perspectives from their mentors and other staff. We believe an internship will give back what you put into it. Approach it with a curious mind, intent to understand both your role and how it fits into the bigger picture, and ask lots of questions and you are bound to learn a great deal during your time here. For those interested in multiple diverse internship focus areas, we do consider interns who reapply for a second internship in a different area in subsequent semesters.

 

For questions or additional information, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Jennifer Spence at 765-807-1558 or jspence@lafayette.in.gov