Young Alum of the Month: Joshua Mitchell

Joshua Mitchell
Title and Company: 
Amphibian Keeper at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
Schleswig, IA
Major and Graduation Date: 
Animal Ecology, December 2011
Major Job/Position Responsibilities: 

I work in the Amphibian Conservation Area.  My job involves working with threatened or endangered amphibian species.  Some responsibilities are to ensure daily husbandry requirements are met, set up breeding protocols for offspring release programs, and do research about the species we have in the Amphibian Conservation Area to ensure that the species will thrive in our care.

What you like most about your job/position: 

I really enjoy the mixture of husbandry and conservation that comes with this job.  I get to work with some very interesting species, some that I didn’t know anything about until working at the zoo.  Not only do I get to work with these animals, raise and breed them, but I also get to do the research for them and get to have the offspring from my animals released back into the wild to attempt to repopulate their population.  This also creates opportunities to take part in the research and release of these animals, which, depending on the species could be anywhere in the world.

What advice would you give to current students: 

Whether or not you know what career path you want to take with your degree, always look into internships and work your hardest to take part in them.  My internship had a big part in getting my position at the zoo.  The internship showed them how serious I was about working there, my care for the animals’ health, and my animal knowledge and interest.  In college I had a job and animals to take care of so I never tried my hardest to make an internship work.  That is one thing I regret now knowing how important internships can be.  I would also never rule anything out.  When I interned at the zoo I did not really think I wanted to be a keeper.  My mind was always in the field doing conservation work.  Once I started I really enjoyed working with such a variety of animals and learning about them.  Then a keeper/conservation position opened up.  I never knew it existed until I interned and never thought I would enjoy this type of position so much.  So be open and try every opportunity that is out there.

Favorite ISU class

Herpetology of course!