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!

Name: Erin

Title: Associate Marine Mammal Trainer

Hometown: Opelousas, Louisiana

Education: Bachelor of Science – Animal Science

Pastimes/Hobbies: Horseback Riding

Bio: “I was born in Opelousas, Louisiana. There, I lived on a horse and cattle ranch where I first learned to ride horses before I could even walk! We lived there until my family and I moved to the Bay Area in Northern California. Through high school I worked at a vet clinic, starting as a volunteer when I was 14, and then continuing as a vet tech by the age of 16 up until I graduated. I then went to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo as an animal science major. After my freshman year, I did a summer internship at Dolphin Quest Bermuda where I learned a lot about marine mammal training. This was an extremely beneficial and hands on internship. Next I completed a summer internship after my junior year with the Navy Marine Mammal Program in San Diego, CA. This was also a very hands-on experience in which I was able to further develop my skills in dolphin training, and learn to interact and work with California sea lions. I finished my bachelor’s degree in 2011. Just before coming to CMA, I was a zookeeper at a small, nonprofit zoo in Paso Robles, CA called Zoo To You. This was a very fun position in which I was able to work with all sorts of animals, from mountain lions, tigers and bears to primates, birds of prey and various hoof stock. Outside of work, I continue to enjoy horseback riding. I also love taking my Great Dane, Max, to the beach on my days off!”

Title: Supervisor of Marine Mammals

Hometown: Georgia

Hobbies/Favorite Past Times: Yoga, reading, going to the beach, listening to music, talking with good friends, and visiting with my family!


“I grew up in a very small town in Georgia on an old working farm with cows.  I went to Georgia College & State University where I received my B.S. in Psychology.  For as long as I can remember I said I would work with dolphins!  After college I did a couple of internships at various places, looking to find a place that fit me.  I was hired after my internship at Dolphins Plus in Key Largo, FL in 2004.  Dolphins Plus is a deep-water interaction facility where I gained most of my knowledge of training and caring for marine mammals.  In 2011, I began working for CMA as the Supervisor of Marine Mammals.”

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Senior Trainer


B.A. in Psychology


“In 1996-1997 while attending high school, I completed my first internship in Animal Care at CMA. I continued as a volunteer and become a member of the Marine Mammal Stranding Team. In 1998, I was accepted for the Marine Mammal Internship and started my first year at Eckerd College. Again, I continued to volunteer full time until I was offered temporary, part-time work in 2000. In May of 2002, I graduated with a B.A. in psychology and was offered a full-time position as a trainer at CMA.”

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