Cats, Dogs – and Elephants!
Ohio Wesleyan Student Interns at Columbus Zoo, Delaware Humane Society
By Cole Hatcher
Name: Nebraska-Lynn White ’22
Hometown: Hilliard, Ohio
Majors: Zoology, Environmental Science, and Communication
OWU Connection Experiences: Internships with The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and with the Humane Society of Delaware County
My Work at the Humane Society
“I am the social media intern at the Humane Society of Delaware County,” White said, of her work this semester. “I mainly post on their social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, along with the TikTok that I made when I got the internship. I go to the Humane Society about once a week to collect pictures and videos for what I will be posting the rest of the week. …
“Today was a lot of fun as I played with a couple dogs and got really great pictures of them for a TikTok that I made. Getting to know the animals and their individual personalities is what is most fun to me.”
My Work at the Humane Society
“I was the pachyderm intern at The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium from September 2019 through December 2019. I did a lot of various activities as an intern with the pachyderms. I assisted with semen collections, cleaning, preparing diets, watched or assisted in training activities, and so many other things. (The zoo recently announced the pregnancy of Asian elephant Phoebe, and White was interning there during part of the time the zoo was working to partner her with another Asian elephant, Hank. Their calf is due in June.)
“I enjoyed my entire experience, but if I had to pick my most memorable moment it would be making enrichment for them. I drew on the walls behind the scenes with chalk, and they seemed to really enjoy those drawings so that was very fun to see!”
“These experiences have taught me so much! I have learned a great deal from these as well as my volunteer work at Stratford Ecological Center (a private, nonprofit educational farm and nature preserve located near Ohio Wesleyan).
“Through my internship at the zoo, I learned about behind-the-scenes work with the animals, such as daily training sessions. A lot happens behind the scenes that many people don’t know about, and it is so much fun getting to learn about what occurs.
“I also learned to be innovative. Not everything is as black and white as it is in the classroom. Once you are in the field, there are no precisely definitive answers, and teamwork and communication are some of the most important aspects of this field.
“From the Humane Society, I learned how crucial social media can be to a nonprofit organization. It can be a big source of income, a way to get supplies needed, and a great tool for education purposes.
“Lastly, with the volunteer work at the farm, I learned that the classroom cannot possibly teach you everything that you need to know. You always need to be ready to think on your feet and come up with solutions quickly and efficiently in order to keep not only the animals safe, but yourself as well.”
Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan
“I chose to attend Ohio Wesleyan because I loved the small school experience. My professors have helped me so much in achieving my goals, especially Dr. (Shala) Hankison (associate professor of Zoology), who has been with me every step of the way through both of these internships and has become a great mentor. If I went to a bigger school like I had originally planned, I wouldn’t be able to say this about a professor.”
My Plans After Graduation
“I plan on first going to graduate school then going on to work in the field. All of my internships and volunteer work have shaped me into the person that I am today, and I could see myself doing any of these jobs after graduation as a full-time job.
“Ideally, my plan after graduation would be to become a spokesperson for the Columbus Zoo who not only educates the public about the animals but also gets to spend time with them and bring them on stage and such to introduce them to other people. I would like to connect people with these animals first-hand rather than a behind-the-scenes manner, which is why I did all the majors that I am doing.”