Student Spotlight: Natalie Ratzke

Here at Delaware Valley University, there are plenty of connections and resources available for students to utilize in order to find an internship. The Experience360 program requires all students to have some kind of hands-on experience that relates to their major and the career they want to pursue. I recently spoke to DelVal senior Natalie Ratzke about her experience as an intern at the local Elmwood Park Zoo.

As part of their E360 requirements, Zoo Science majors at DelVal participate in one animal care and one animal education experience. Though many of these students get internships at Elmwood Park Zoo, DelVal also has connections to the Adventure Aquarium, Lehigh Valley Zoo, Philadelphia Zoo, and the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel. Natalie was originally accepted into the Academy of Natural Science at Drexel, but that opportunity was ultimately canceled in the Summer of 2020 due to COVID. But lucky for her, she had a connection through her job at the Barn Nature Center, where her boss knew one of the hiring staff members at the Elmwood Park Zoo, Natalie was able to submit her resume and get an interview because of this connection. She was also able to secure the Elmwood Park Zoo internship in a different way than her classmates.

Natalie has been primarily working in the zoo’s ambassador education and conservation education departments. She works a lot with the show animals and is able to show them to the visitors who come through the zoo. She especially liked working in the “breakfast with the giraffes” area, where visitors can pay to have breakfast next to the giraffe enclosure and feed them as well.

Elmwood Park Zoo is one of DelVal’s most solid connections for zoo science students. They have been taking student interns for a long time and many of the interns get lined up for jobs right after they graduate. Natalie explained that other students in different majors at DelVal also have internships at Elmwood Park Zoo, as the zoo has a number of different departments including business and advertising. This allows for even more opportunities within DelVal’s community to gain experience and have fulfilling internships.

Written by Miller Huertgen

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