Title: Associate Marine Mammal Trainer
Hometown: Sun Prairie, WI
Education: Bachelor of Science in Biology – Emphasis in Organism Ecology. Minor in Chemistry.
Hobbies/Favorite Past Times: Scrapbooking, playing with my dog, running, volleyball & swimming
Growing up, I have always wanted to work with marine animals. First, I have always loved learning about the oceans and the creatures that grew in them. Second, I love water! I was a competitive swimmer since fourth grade through my senior year in college.
After high school, I pursued my collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Shortly after starting, I began to doubt my ability to actually become a marine mammal trainer and began to focus on other possible careers with animals (veterinarian, rehabilitation specialist, etc.). My junior year I did a wildlife internship with the Four Lakes Wildlife Center (Madison, WI). They too were a rescue, rehab, and release facility that specialized in small mammals, songbirds, and raptors. I received the unique experience to work with several types of animals and help out with several of their releases. After my internship I thought that this would be something that I would want to do for the rest of my life, so I decided to stay on as a volunteer. As graduation grew near I found myself constantly thinking how much I wanted to work with marine mammals and train. Despite the odds against me I decided to go for it and give it a shot. What did I have to lose; at the very least I can be content knowing I tried. Right before graduation, I began to fill out any and every application for marine mammal training internships for the fall of 2011.
I had filled out several applications and ultimately I chose an internship at Clearwater Marine Aquarium due to their unique mission of rescue, rehab, and release, which is near and dear to my heart. I loved the internship it gave me not only a large amount of information on animals, but also training concepts. After I finished I decided to stay on as a volunteer and continue my learning in the hopes that one day I would become a trainer somewhere. Shortly after an opportunity presented itself, a job posing for an associate training position had opened up. After the swim test and interviews I finally received my big break, I was hired in February 2012! Currently I am one of the associate trainers that work with our Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, North American river otters, African great white pelicans, and nurse sharks! My motto: Better to have tried and failed than not try at all!