Internships

CAREERS   INTERNSHIPS   VOLUNTEER

Gain meaningful experience and basic knowledge in your primary area of study by gaining a broader view of a modern zoological park via practical hands-on experience, assisting the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s professional staff with daily operations, and completing an optional research project! Ideal for students and graduates looking to develop basic abilities, further refine advanced skills, and enhance their career goals.

All interns must pass a criminal background check. Pennsylvania residents can process their own intern/volunteer background check for free online. Cost varies for residents of other states. All Zoo internships are unpaid. Interns will be asked to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Click your preferred internship program below to learn more.

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Development Internship

The Development Intern will support administrative functions related to the Zoo’s Development work. Reporting to the Senior Development Officer, the Development Coordinator’s central duties will be to balance the administrative needs of the Development Department as they relate to general comprehensive fund development activities, membership management, and volunteer services.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Respond to the inquiries of fundraising volunteers in a timely and accurate manner.
  • Organize behind-the-scenes tours and donor cultivation events.
  • Coordinate donor recognition signage and delivery of sponsorship benefits.
  • Schedule meetings, prepare talking points, assemble presentations, and prepare materials for staff meetings.
  • Draft and send acknowledgment letters to donors.
  • Provide accurate gift recording in compliance with all generally accepted accounting principles
  • Research and process matching gifts.
  • Update spreadsheets/prospect lists with information regarding each strategy and outcome of cultivation and solicitation activities.
  • Assist with the administration of donor stewardship programs including named opportunities/acknowledgments.
  • Assist in the management, organization, and maintenance of all confidential donor records.
  • Administer a variety of special projects and other duties as assigned

Required Qualifications and Experience:

  1. Responsible, focused individual, with outstanding organizational skills, comfort in an external-facing role working with executive-level donors/stakeholders, and consistently ensuring a high level of accuracy
  2. Excellent written, verbal, and customer service skills
  3. Excellent phone etiquette
  4. Self-motivated, detail-oriented, creative, strategic, and professional

Preferred Qualifications and Experience:

  1. Experience in and knowledge of Capital Campaigns and/or fundraising development
  2. Project management experience
  3. Experience working with confidential donor data
  4. Flexibility in work hours, including weekends and evenings

To apply, please email your resume to hr@pittsburghzoo.org. Please specify you are applying for the Development Internship in your email. 

Membership Internship

The Membership Intern will support administrative functions related to the Zoo’s Development and Membership work. This position is essential in expediting the processing of membership applications, card mailings, phone message follow up, and calling lapsed members.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provide general support as needed to the Membership Services Manager.
  • Assist with all membership mailings, including those distributed through mail houses.
  • Prepare membership communications in an electronic form the Zoo website, and for communication to the membership constituency via newsletter and / electronic outreach.
  • Assist with all website transactions related to membership, including membership renewals, new memberships, and changes to memberships. Assist with the transfer of member information from the website to the Development database when necessary.
  • Generate and mail membership cards, renewal letters, and other communications with members, including membership benefit fulfillment. Manage inventory of membership cards and envelopes, renewal forms and envelopes, and temporary membership forms.
  • Answer Membership inquiries, and resolving complaints on-site, via mail, email and phone.
  • Provide accurate gift recording in compliance with all generally accepted accounting principles
  • Update spreadsheets/prospect lists with information regarding each strategy and outcome of cultivation and solicitation activities.
  • Assist in the management, organization and maintenance of all confidential donor records.
  • Administer a variety of special projects and other duties as assigned

Required Qualifications and Experience:

  1. Responsible, focused individual, with outstanding organizational skills, comfort in an external-facing role working with executive-level donors/stakeholders, and consistently ensuring a high level of accuracy
  2. Excellent written, verbal, and customer service skills
  3. Excellent phone etiquette
  4. Self-motivated, detail-oriented, creative, strategic, and professional

Preferred Qualifications and Experience:

  1. Experience in and knowledge of Capital Campaigns and/or fundraising development
  2. Project management experience
  3. Experience working with confidential donor data
  4. Flexibility in work hours, including weekends and evenings

To apply, please email your resume to hr@pittsburghzoo.org

Please specify you are applying for the Membership Internship in your email. 

Aquarium Internship

Aquarium interns are responsible for learning a majority of the work that an aquarist does, on a daily basis, such as:

  • Perform morning rounds by cleaning the exterior of exhibit windows, while checking for animal health and proper operation of systems
  • Check temperature, salinity, and pH along with other water quality parameters
  • Maintain exhibits through cleaning of rockwork, windows, water changes, filter changes, and removing debris
  • Learn to prepare and feed daily diets to various saltwater and freshwater fish, as well as sharks and penguins
  • Assist aquarists with fish acclimations, transfers, arrivals; as well as medical treatments and observations
  • Record keeping
  • Observations of animal behavior and training/enrichment programs
  • Participate in educational tours and classes

Timelines and How to Apply

There are three internship periods:

  • Spring (January-April) – applications must be received by November 15
  • Summer (May-August) – applications must be received by March 15
  • Fall (September-December) – applications must be received by July 15 

Requirements: minimum of 18 years old, and pursuing a degree in a natural science.

To apply: submit a resume, cover letter detailing why you chose the PPG Aquarium, and an optional letter of recommendation to aquaintern@pittsburghzoo.org.

Kids Kingdom Animal Husbandry

The Kids Kingdom Animal Husbandry Internship is designed for individuals interested in a career in animal husbandry and training to gain valuable experience. Interns will primarily be trained in the aspects of animal husbandry, with a strong emphasis on training and enrichment. The goal of this internship is to give interns a solid base of animal husbandry knowledge with a wide variety of animals including mammals, reptiles, and birds. As an intern in Kids Kingdom, you will have an opportunity to work with sea lions, river otters, beavers, owls, kangaroos, donkeys, pigs, goats, chickens, snakes, lizards, and a variety of small domesticated animals.

We require interns to work a minimum of two days a week for 12 weeks. 

Timelines and How to Apply

There are three internship periods:

  • Winter/Spring (January-April) – applications must be received by November 1
  • Summer (May-August) – applications must be received by March 1
  • Fall/Winter (September-December) – applications must be received by July 31    

Your resume and cover letter must include the following:

  • Why you are interested in an internship at the Pittsburgh Zoo’s Kids Kingdom
  • What you would like to gain from your internship
  • A list of previous internships/facilities

Please send your cover letter, resume, and a letter of recommendation to:
Kesha Phares
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Internship Program
One Wild Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Or email kphares@pittsburghzoo.org

Water's Edge

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium Water’s Edge interns will have the opportunity to take part in all aspects of daily husbandry of the 4 species in our AMMPA accredited marine mammal facility. These species include: polar bears, Northern sea otters, Northern elephant seals, and California sea lions.

This internship is progressive and is 13 weeks in length. Due to the nature of a progressive internship, a commitment of 13 weeks is required. Our internship is divided into 4 levels, each concentrating on a different aspect of marine mammal care while continuing to build on the intern’s responsibilities:

  • Level 1: Basic Husbandry, Marine Mammal Protocols, and Learning Water’s Edge
  • Level 2: Natural Histories of our Species and Guest Narrations
  • Level 3: Enrichment
  • Level 4: Marine Mammal Training

Intern responsibilities will encompass the skills needed to provide exceptional care for marine mammals. These skills will include morning diet preparation, kitchen/facility cleaning exceeding USDA standards, daily guest interactions, assisting with life support systems, managing daily enrichment schedules, creating novel enrichment, and assisting with animal training projects alongside of keepers. There is no guarantee of any direct animal interaction and any interaction will be at the discretion of animal care staff.

Prospective interns who possess an Open Water Scuba Diver Certification from an accredited dive association (e.g. PADI, NAUI, SSI) also have the opportunity to apply for our Volunteer Dive Program. Volunteer drivers are a vital part of routine exhibit maintenance. Interested divers can contact the Zoo’s Dive Safety Officer, Ariella Wiener, at awiener@pittsburghzoo.org for further information. Please also state in your resume/cover letter that you are interested in participating in our Volunteer Dive Program.

Timelines and How to Apply

Applicants should submit their resume, cover letter, and letter of recommendation by the deadlines listed below for each session.

Application Period:

  • Summer Internship (May-August) – applications must be received by March 1
  • Fall/Winter Internship (September-December) – applications must be received by August 1
  • Winter/Spring Internship (January-April) – applications must be received by November 1

Submit application to:
watersedgeintern@pittsburghzoo.org

Conservation Education

The Conservation Education Department of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium provides education opportunities for approximately 300,000 people annually through programs at the zoo and in the community.

Animal Ambassador Interns will have the opportunity to work hands-on with the Conservation Education department’s animal care team as we maintain the zoo’s collection of over 50 animal ambassadors that participate in programs for public education. Intern responsibilities include observation, feeding, cleaning, record keeping, and animal handling/presentations. In addition, Interns will have lessons on public speaking/presentation, lesson development, animal training and enrichment, zoo careers, and guest service. Interns will also have limited opportunities to observe and assist with education programs.

Timelines and How to Apply

Application Period:

  • Fall Internship (September-December) – July 1 until filled
  • Spring Internship (January-May) – October 1 until filled
  • Summer Internship (May-August) – January 1-February 28

To apply, please submit a resumé, cover letter, and letter of recommendation. The cover letter should include:

  • Why you are interested in an internship at the Pittsburgh Zoo
  • What you would like to gain from an internship
  • What intern opportunities interest you

Minimum Requirements:

Interns must be available for at least two 8-hour days per week for at least 10 weeks.  A TB test and Background Checks are also required.

 

To apply, contact:
Beth Inches
binches@pittsburghzoo.org
412-365-2526

Giraffe/Ungulate

 Responsibilities Include: 

  • Observing of animals for disease, injuries, unusual behavior, pregnancy, etc.
  • Reporting observations to the appropriate parties and noting on the report sheet
  • Preparing and distributing food and water
  • Being exposed to training and enrichment programs
  • Assisting  in veterinary procedures
  • Collecting biological specimens
  • Assisting in animal restraint procedures
  • Maintaining proper environmental conditions for the animals including :cleaning and disinfecting animal enclosures
  • Answering visitor questions and narrating animal encounters

 Dates:

Summer (June-August) – applications must be received by May 1st

 

Requirements:

Minimum of 18 years old, and pursuing a degree in natural science.

Note: Due to the increased spread of avian influenza and in order to keep our collection of animals protected, we will not be accepting any interns who care for poultry or deal with birds at home (As of March 24, 2022 until further notice).  Thank you for your honesty and understanding.

To Apply:

Submit a resume, cover letter detailing why you chose the giraffe/ungulate internship, and an optional letter of recommendation to thutton@pittsburghzoo.org

Elephants

 Responsibilities Include: 

Elephant interns are responsible for learning and assisting with the majority of the work that an elephant keeper performs on a daily basis, such as:

  • Arriving at scheduled time and performing morning observations on five elephants with keeper present (taking note of any irregularities, ie. injuries, not drinking/not eating, any unusual behavior)
  • Reporting observations to appropriate parties and/or noting on report sheet
  • Preparing daily diets and daily training food
  • Assisting in maintaining proper environmental conditions for elephants including: cleaning and disinfecting enclosures
  • Interacting with visitors and educating them on our program
  • Observing elephants throughout the day in various scenarios, (ie. herd interactions, training with keepers, environment)
  • Participating in educational tours and classes

 Dates:

Spring Internship (February- May)- applications must be received by January 1st

Summer internship (June-August) – applications must be received by May 1st

Fall Internship (September-December)- applications must be received by August 1st

 

Requirements:

Minimum of 18 years old, and pursuing a degree in natural science.

Note: Due to the increased spread of avian influenza and in order to keep our collection of animals protected, we will not be accepting any interns who care for poultry or deal with birds at home (As of March 24, 2022 until further notice).  Thank you for your honesty and understanding.

To Apply:

To apply: submit a resume, cover letter detailing why you chose the elephant internship, and an optional letter of recommendation to speske@pittsburghzoo.org