Pride In Our People: Nicole


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 Nicole, one of our aquarists
This is her story…

I first visited an aquarium when I was six years old. From that day on I knew I wanted to become a marine biologist. I really did not know what that meant at the time, but I knew I wanted to work with aquatic life.  

In 2006, I graduated from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology and a minor in Scuba Diving Education. During that time, I completed an aquarist internship in my hometown at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.  Finally, I knew what type of marine biologist I wanted to be!  I enjoyed my internship so much that I set out to get a job at a zoo or aquarium.

My first job was a temporary position at the PPG Aquarium with penguins and Amazon fish. I continued on to Texas and New Jersey to advance my career. I was lucky enough to work with a wide array of animals including jellyfish, corals, guitarfish, and hammerhead sharks.  I was also able to participate in shark research and reproductive studies.

I was set on moving back to Pittsburgh to work at the PPG Aquarium and in April 2018 I was hired as an aquarist. I am working with jellyfish, seahorses, and a lot of freshwater fish here. I am enjoying the freshwater fish since many of them are new to me!  My favorite part of my job is culturing jellyfish. Jellyfish are amazing animals with a very interesting life cycle. Watching your jellyfish grow from the size of a dull pencil tip to the size of a dinner plate is very rewarding!  I enjoy watching the animals grow as well as taking care of their exhibits. A lot of the work I do is behind the scenes doing maintenance on the life support systems.  This job is always changing and challenging. It keeps me on my toes and I am always learning!


Thank you for all you do, nicole!

Pride In Our People

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