Marine Mammals Intern (Fall 2021)
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Position Title: Marine Mammals Intern

Department: Animal Care and Conservation

Classification: Seasonal, Unpaid, Educational Internship

Direct Report: Curator of Marine Mammals

From: week of August 22nd - week of December 12th

Application Deadline: June 15th

Selection Date: July 15th

Position Summary

  • Ability to work full-time, 4 days per week, for 16 weeks
  • Ability to perform physically demanding job duties on a daily basis
  • Daily interaction with fellow team members and the public
  • Excellent observation and communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ethics that sustain a positive and professional environment
  • A valid driver’s license and ability to travel to and from work
  • Ability to work weekends, holidays, and days closed due to inclement weather
  • Ability to find and secure housing for the duration of the internship
  • Valid CPR and first aid certification preferred
  • Strong swimming skills preferred
  • Public speaking experience preferred
  • Valid SCUBA certification preferred


  • 18 years of age or older
  • Enrolled in or recent graduate of a four-year college program in psychology, biology, marine biology or another related field
  • Previous animal care experience, such as volunteering at an animal shelter or completing other marine mammal internships
  • Applicants should consider themselves hardworking, dedicated, and reliable

Position Attributes

This position requires a highly motivated individual who will take direction from the Curator, Managers, and Marine Mammal Staff in assisting with the animal care routine and maintenance for the dolphin area. As an intern, you can expect to get hands-on experience in the daily care of our Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and learn what it takes to be a marine mammal trainer. Throughout the internship, interns will learn various tasks required for the daily operation of a marine mammal facility; gain practical training experience by working closely with staff during training and enrichment sessions; and develop skills in time management, communication, and teamwork. The position will also be responsible for adhering to all aquarium safety protocols, standard operating procedures, and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accreditation standards. The goal is to help interns succeed professionally in any chosen field.

Note:  Position will involve exposure to inclement weather, dust, potentially dangerous and unpredictable animal species, and potentially dangerous machinery, restraint devices and toxic chemicals and/or drugs.  Occasional use of protective clothing or equipment is required e.g. goggles, mask, gloves, and gowns.  

This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.


  • Assists marine mammal staff in the overall daily care of the dolphins
  • Performs proper animal diet preparation
  • Keeps support areas clean, organized, and safe
  • Completes educational animal training lecture series
  • Builds knowledge of operant conditioning and aids staff in behavioral training of the dolphins
  • Designs, implements, and evaluates environmental enrichment under guidance of staff
  • Supports interactive programs and educational presentations through formal and informal public speaking opportunities
  • Ensures guest satisfaction by delivering exceptional customer service
  • Complies with all standard operating procedures (SOPs) pertaining to daily operations and safety
  • Promotes conservation, animal welfare, and good stewardship in daily tasks
  • Undertakes special projects as assigned by manager(s)

Team Requirements

  • Safety & Security - All Team Members are required to adhere to all Mississippi Aquarium safety and security standards.
  • Attendance & Appearance - To maximize the guest’s experience, all Team Members are required to adhere to Mississippi Aquarium standard operating procedures regarding attendance and dress code policies as it relates to individual job functionality. Tattoos and piercings must be appropriate and in keeping with a professional image. Depending on the work area, management reserves the right to determine that tattoos will need to be covered during your shift.
  • Sales & Guest Services - Our forward-thinking business model requires listening and understanding the needs of our guests both internal and external.  To that end, we must always be focused on the guest experience which is the key driver for return guest visitation and increased sales.
  • Team Partnership - All Team Members are focused on supporting each other to complete the guest experience.  Therefore, supporting, facilitating, and participating in activities that promote team effectiveness is vital to our Organization.

Physical Demands & Work Environment

The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; talk or hear; taste or smell. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 60 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color and peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is exposed to weather conditions prevalent at the time. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.
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