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Students Present Posters to Columbus Zoo Curators

First-year zoo and conservation science majors had the opportunity to present group poster projects to Columbus Zoo and Aquarium curators during spring semester. The projects were a culmination of the students’ observation, data collection and data analysis of their animal of choice at the Zoo.

“This project was so much fun, and I was really excited to be able to have our first interactions with the (Zoo’s) curators,” said student Amanda Stillwell. “I also loved learning the personalities of the animals.”

Otterbein University launched its zoo and conservation science major in Fall 2012 in partnership with the Zoo and the Ohio Wildlife Center. This cutting-edge program offered through the Department of Biology and Earth Science at Otterbein, is designed to prepare students to explore animals, their husbandry and health, while developing the critical thinking skills needed to frame and solve problems occurring in the zoo environment or in wild animal populations that come in contact with the human population.

Program highlights also include opportunities for undergraduate research at the Zoo, practicum experiences at the Ohio Wildlife Center and the Zoo and an internship at the Zoo or other agencies devoted to wildlife or conservation. 

Stillwell said she transferred to Otterbein in order to be a part of this new program. “I always knew what I wanted to do with my life but never found a school I could attend in order to get there. Once I found Otterbein, I knew that this program was the right fit for me,” she said.

Danielle Ross, director of education at the Zoo and one of the curators reviewing the student poster projects, said what she loves about Otterbein’s program is that it builds with the students’ education.

“This year, they were mostly in the classroom, next year they will have a practicum and then finally junior year, they will have an internship on Columbus Zoo grounds,” she said. “We always have an interest in hiring interns with experiences such as these because they understand how we work on a day-to-day basis.” 

Stillwell added that Otterbein’s program is something that students can’t get many other places. “We get to work with the number one zoo in the country. Even though we aren’t interacting with the staff much yet, we still get to do real research that sets us apart from others,” she said.

Click here to learn more about Otterbein’s zoo and conservation science major. Read the press release here.