Internship Spotlight: Courtney Fouke

Name: Courtney Fouke

Major: Biology

Class Year: 2023

Organization: Duke Lemur Center

Intern Title: Husbandry Intern

What drew you to this internship?

I am interested in working at zoos and aquariums for my future career and had heard about the Duke Lemur Center through my family and research via Google. I have developed a love of taking care of animals and since Duke is a AZA-certified center, I knew I would get a lot out of doing their internship this summer. But also, who doesn’t love lemurs? 

Describe your internship roles, responsibilities and significant contributions.

For the animal husbandry internship program, I was able to gain animal care experience at a research and conservation center for rare and endangered prosimian primates. My main job centered around the responsibility of assisting in the daily care and maintenance of the Center’s collection of primates. Some of the duties included:

  • Assisting the Technician staff with the daily care of lemurs
  • Daily enrichment and behavioral observations
  • Data entry, filing and updating animal records
  • Completing a research project focused on husbandry

How did your internship aid in your career exploration or decision making?

This internship solidified my career path after graduating from Denison; I realized that I wanted to pursue a job in the animal care field. From my summer experiences in 2021 and 2022, I have been able to make connections with employees for future internships or jobs. 

What advice do you have for future interns?

For future zoology interns, the first thing would be to work hard and be open to learning new things about animal care. Your supervisors will want to help you become a better zookeeper, so you should listen to them and try to make solid connections with the staff. Those connections will go a long way in the future. Having an internship is scary at first but you need to jump into the deep end. You have to be patient and know you will get better at your job. 

Aside from your internship, are there other tools, resources or programs that have supported your career exploration?

Google* has been my best friend in finding internships during college; a simple search of “summer animal care internship” went a long way for me. I know this tactic is not compatible for all careers, but it certainly helped my internship search.

*Online tools such as LinkedIn, Handshake, and Indeed are great ways to get started on your internship search!

By Fiona Schultz
Fiona Schultz Peer Career Coach and Peer Fellow: Nonprofit, Education and Government Career Community