Majoring in behavioral psychobiology, Cameron Fick ’21 hopes to use his college degree to become a wildlife biologist, conducting research on different species that are either endangered or in decline.
“I hope my future research efforts lend a helping hand to endangered species’ by spreading awareness and potential solutions,” he explains.
So an internship experience that allowed Fick to be surrounded by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s 10,000 animals was a perfect fit.
“I landed the rare opportunity to work with the zoo’s observation team by reaching out and making sure I showed my interest and credentials,” said Fick, who made it clear that he was willing to go above and beyond the zoo’s requirements. “My internship allowed me to surround myself with unique forms of wildlife.”
Fick’s main role as Animal Care Exhibit Usage and Analyst Intern at Columbus Zoo involved the observation of various species of giraffes — including watching for specific behaviors, unique actions and even feeding habits.
“I learned valuable observational, teamwork and leadership skills while on the internship team,” said Fick, who was able to complete his internship in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The most important thing I learned from this experience is the amount of patience you must have to conduct wildlife observation. I learned that looking away for a few moments can mean the difference between seeing something new and missing something unique.”
Fick says that although that level of concentration probably isn’t for everyone, the experience was peaceful for him, and served to further increase his interest in wildlife research.
“I learned how willing I am to sacrifice very long increments of time in the name of my research interests,” said Fick. “It’s easy to say what you are willing to give up, but it’s a good feeling knowing you have the level of patience and skills required for completing your own research!”