What Are Animal Behavior Internships?
Internships give undergraduate students the opportunity to apply their academic knowledge in an industry or research setting, gain career-oriented experience, and develop professional connections. Students who plan to pursue an internship should have at least a sophomore standing or 15 hours completed towards the Animal Behavior Minor or Area Certificate.
Animal behavior internships are offered as a 1–6 credit course (ABEH-A495). Students are required to invest at least 3 hours per week at the internship site for every credit hour. They must also complete a research, educational, or outreach project for submission at the end of the semester. Grades are based on participation time and evaluations from the site and internship program directors.
How Do I Undertake an Internship?
If you are interested in doing an animal behavior internship for academic credit, follow the steps below.
1. Research potential internship sites.
At the bottom of this page, you will find descriptions of the organizations who participate in our internship program. Read through them and pick out the programs that align with your personal interests and career goals. Each site has its own requirements and limitations, so you should plan well ahead to find a suitable internship site for you.
With prior approval, you may also pursue an internship at sites that are not on this list, as long as the program will (a) fill your required hours, (b) provide you with experience observing and working with animals or with issues related to animal behavior, and (c) allow you to conduct an independent research, educational, or outreach project. For more information on arranging internships at other sites, contact the program director, G. Troy Smith, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Contact the sites that interest you.
At least one semester before you intend to begin your internship, you should contact the organization(s) of your choice to inquire about available opportunities. Here are some questions you might discuss:
- Who will supervise my work?
- What do interns at this organization do on a typical day?
- What projects could I do to fulfill my A495 requirements?
- How many hours a week are required? Is there a maximum cap to the hours I can work?
- Do you offer internships year-round? If not, do your months of operation coincide with any IU semesters? (January–May for Spring, May–July for Summer, August–December for Fall)
- Are there specific deadlines for applying to your internships?
Keep in mind that some internship sites may have a formal application process, and that the most popular can be fully booked up to a year in advance. Volunteering at the organization beforehand can help you get a feel for their daily operations and expectations and increase your chances of securing a formal internship.
Also keep in mind that many organizations' existing internship programs do not, in and of themselves, fulfill the requirements for A495. Make sure that, in addition to performing your duties as an intern, you will be able to complete a project with a physical product or report to turn in at the end of the semester.
3. Contact the internship program director and sign up for A495.
Before the course registration deadline, contact the program director, G. Troy Smith (email@example.com), for approval to register for ABEH-A495. Together, you will establish what you intend to do with your time at the internship site, how you will report your hours, and what you will present at the end of the semester.
4. Begin your internship.
After enrolling in A495, you are responsible for carrying out your internship as planned. You will also meet with the program director three times over the course of the semester: early on to propose your project, mid-semester to report your progress, and at the end to submit your final product or report.
If you have any questions about the process, feel free to contact us.
What Are Some Potential Internship Sites?
CISAB has established partnerships with the organizations below.
Big Star Stables, Bloomington, Indiana
Founded out of a deep passion for horses, Big Star Stables is committed to offering top-quality horse breeding, training, grooming, and boarding services in Bloomington. Interns at Big Star Stables will gain skills and knowledge of horse care and will be an important part of keeping operations running smoothly.
Bloomington Animal Care and Control, Bloomington, Indiana
Bloomington Animal Care and Control is the primary provider of animal-related services for Bloomington and Monroe County. Its principal activities include sheltering stray and unwanted animals; connecting lost companion animals with their homes; maintaining the pet adoption program, both at the Animal Shelter and at off-site locations; maintaining a fostering program in which shelter companion animals reside in temporary homes; educating the community about animal care and behavior via guided tours of the shelter, free literature, and expert advice from staff; producing a weekly television program (Pets Without Partners), including education on animal care and behavior and featuring companion animals available for adoption; enforcing animal control ordinances; investigating cruelty and neglect cases; and providing 24-hour emergency rescue for injured animals. Volunteers and interns provide dog walking, cat care services, take photos of available animals, write pet descriptions, provide socialization and extra attention to animals in need, conduct animal personality tests, assist with clerical needs, and serve as Adoption Counselors to help potential adopters find a well-suited companion animal for their home.
Exotic Feline Rescue Center, Center Point, Indiana
The Exotic Feline Rescue Center is a nonprofit corporation that provides homes for life, stable social groups, enhanced environments, and veterinary care to several species of exotic felines including lions, tigers, bobcats, mountain lions and leopards. The nearly 200-acre sanctuary, at present, provides habitats for over 220 individual cats. They are open to the public and provide educational tours to all ages as well as internships to university students. Interns will be trained and involved in public education with daily public tours. They will also be involved in food preparation, feeding, cleaning and maintenance of the enclosures and veterinary care.
Indianapolis Zoo, Indianapolis, Indiana
Opened in 1964, the Zoo has grown into a world-class facility hosting a million visitors each year and playing a major role in worldwide conservation and research, including accomplishing the world's first successful artificial insemination of an African elephant. The Indianapolis Zoo is located in White River State Park downtown and is the only attraction accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) and the American Association of Museums as a zoo, an aquarium and a botanic garden. The zoo maintains five biomes and over 3,800 specimens of 320 species, including 16 endangered, 4 threatened and 13 Species Survival (SSP) animal species.
- Summer Session (May–August): March 10
- Fall Session (September–December): July 10
- Spring Session (January–April): November 10
Mad 4 My Dog Training, LLC, Ellettsville, Indiana
Founded in 2004 by CISAB graduate Madalyn Moorman, Mad 4 My Dog Training, LLC is a state-of-the-art professional dog training business. Situated on over an acre of property in Ellettsville, Indiana, Mad 4 My Dog Training's facility boasts training, grooming, dog-walking, and even retail services. At the core of M4MD's training program is the philosophy that proper communication between dogs and people is the cornerstone of effective training. Internships at Mad 4 My Dog Training immerse students in the professional dog training industry; responsibilities include: assisting trainers during classes, assisting clients, sales tasks, administrative duties, and business/building upkeep. Internships at M4MD are a unique opportunity to apply animal behavior knowledge in a small-business setting.
Potawatomi Zoo, South Bend, Indiana
As Indiana's oldest zoo, the Potawatomi Zoo is a significant hub for animal enthusiasts in the state. Located in South Bend, Indiana and home to over 400 animals, the 23 acre zoo sees more than 200,000 guests each year. The zoo offers internships in both their education and marketing departments. Education interns work hands-on caring for animals and also assisting zoo staff with educational outreach programs. Internships at the Potawatomi Zoo are unpaid, for-credit internships that are available year-round.
WildCare Inc., Bloomington, Indiana
WildCare Inc. provides wildlife-related services to Monroe and surrounding Counties. Their mission is to provide professional care to sick, orphaned and injured native wildlife then re- releasing them back to their natural habitat. Since 2001, they have taken in over 16,000 critters, including birds of prey, songbirds, reptiles, amphibians, opossums, raccoons, and deer. WildCare strives to meet all federal and state regulations for rehabilitation practices through continual education and working closely with local veterinarians. As an organization they offer many volunteer and intern opportunities such as direct animal care, cage building, fundraising and education. Volunteers are provided the chance to learn to care for these animals through hands on experience and training.
- Summer Session: March 15
- Fall Session: August 1
- Spring Session: January 5
WonderLab Museum of Science and Technology, Bloomington, Indiana
WonderLab offers exhibits of science adventure for children of all ages. Along with the museum, they offer special programs, camps and have an outreach program that visits schools, libraries and community centers. Live animal exhibits at the museum include honey bees, insects, spiders, fish, amphibians and reptiles.
Interns work directly with the museum animals, are responsible for the daily care routine several times a week, and complete a project to enhance the animal exhibits at the museum.