Career Center Internship Profile: face to face with Victor Zhu '11
By Khan Shoeib '13, Staff Writer
The Career Center highlights one of the interesting summer internships it helped students to find.

The details of his internship:

The Navy Marine Mammal Program uses the help of dolphins and sea lions to do things like locating sea mines and retrieving objects. So I was in the Animal Care and Training Internship Program, where I essentially helped to train and take care of the animals, assisted with research and veterinary care and assisted the professional trainers with anything else they might need.

The time commitment and living conditions:

The internship isn’t for students with a casual interest in dolphins. It’s at least 40 hours per week for sixteen weeks, with hard, manual labor filling most of your day. You should know what you’re getting into. It’s also in San Diego and unpaid, so you really have to make a commitment. But if you do, it’s exciting and worthwhile — the demanding nature of working for the U.S. Navy helps you a lot.

The qualifications:

They are looking for students with experience dealing with animals and with an academic interest in veterinary care or marine mammal behavior. They like it if you have research experience, too. This probably seems daunting to Amherst College students, but there are ways to sell what you’ve done even if it’s not exactly what they want. I just played up the fact that I spent time researching malaria in aquatic African penguins and that one of my majors was neuroscience.

The other interns/workplace culture:

I was one of about three guys who were interns. The others were girls. Most of them were recent graduates looking to enter a more intensive program after the internship. In terms of culture, everyone was obviously very hardworking because you had to be, but it was also a drastically different world — our supervisors and the other interns brought unique life experiences with them that you don’t really see at Amherst.

A typical day:

You spend at least two hours a day doing food preparation and equipment maintenance. Otherwise, there isn’t really a typical day because you are on rotations across different programs throughout the summer. You spend your days under the supervision of professional trainers breeding dolphins, doing research, helping train sea lions and dolphins, etc., which is the exciting part.

How to apply:

I found out about it through Experience, and I think I was actually the first one from Amherst to apply to the program. You can also apply online by going to

— Khan Shoeib ’13

Issue 11, Submitted 2010-12-08 21:06:15