Pride In Our People: Katie


Our digital series, Pride In Our People, features the incredible staff at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium through written first-person narratives and/or podcast interviews.
Today, we are featuring Katie, Life Support System Operator/Aquarist
This is her story…

My journey into the field was a little different. Like many kids, I saw Jaws and said “I’m going to be a marine biologist”. I was 16 when I first started working at the Zoo. I worked in visitor services. As soon as I turned 18, I did my first internship at the Pittsburgh Zoo. It was amazing and inspired me to go to Maine Maritime Academy where I studied marine biology and earned my captain’s license.

 While I was in college, I worked at the Zoo in the summers. I also started working at the Gateway Clipper Fleet. When I graduated, there was not an immediate opening at the Zoo so I became a full-time Captain at the Gateway Clipper Fleet while continuing doing internships at the Zoo. A position opened up as a Life Support Systems Keeper, and I was hired full-time in 2014. 

My daily routine always changes and that’s what keeps me on my toes. I am responsible for the pumps, filters, and water quality that makes up the animals’ homes. I also get the chance to interact with the animals on a daily basis and those faces always make my day.

My favorite part about my job at the Zoo is that my day changes and that I get to troubleshoot things. I like fixing things and solving problems. This is a big part of working in life support and managing life support systems. I am also thankful for my coworkers as they challenge me to do better work and to always be on the search for more knowledge.

What interested me most about working at the Zoo is that I wanted to help animals. I wanted to teach people about these beautiful creatures we get the chance to see every day. Conservation also is very important to me and was something that I hoped to be a part of. The animals in our care teach people that they are amazing creatures worth saving.

Thank you for all you do, Katie!

Pride In Our People

 Our new series, Pride In Our People, features the incredible staff here at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium.