Fredonia graduate Kelsey Lowrey parlayed internship experience into a career at the Buffalo Zoo.
Learning from Experience

Internships lead to career opportunity before graduation

Kelsey Lowery always wanted to work with animals in a zoo, and Fredonia put her on a direct path to achieve that career goal.

In fact, the 2017 graduate was already hired by the Buffalo Zoo as its hoofstock apprentice before receiving her Biology degree in May.

“Working with animals in a zoo setting or in the wild, involving conservation efforts, is something I've always been interested in,” Kelsey said.

Courses such as Animal Communications and Animal Behavior helped to prepare Kelsey for the position and what to expect. So did two internships, both at the Buffalo Zoo, arranged by the Career Development Office. The first was an animal keeper internship, while the second, a zoo keeper internship, was built on the foundation of the first experience.

“I had a lot of experience knowing what the days were like, so I felt very prepared coming into the job,” she said.

Kelsey is responsible for the care of three American bison, four reindeer, 10 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, two zebras, two gemsbok and six Roan and six Addax antelope. Daily chores that begin at 7:30 a.m. include checking overall animal health, feeding and maintenance of their barns and outside exhibit areas.

“It’s very exciting; every day there’s something new going on,” Kelsey said. “There are a lot of responsibilities that I’ve assumed in roles. I’ve learned a lot of new skills since I graduated (from Fredonia) and I’ve met a lot of amazing people.”

Just a couple months after being hired, Kelsey was promoted to keeper, with additional duties that include shifting the animals in their barn stalls as well as into and out of their exhibits. She’s also responsible for writing keeper’s reports on the animals at the end of each day. Anything involving their health or any enrichment they receive that day is reported.

“I love being an advocate for the animals here and supporting the conservation of all these animals, so it’s something that I see myself being in for a long time,” Kelsey said.