What does it take to be an Education Specialist at OdySea Aquarium?

Working at OdySea Aquarium is a dream job for Education Specialist, Cadia Hernandez. In her role, Cadia educates guests of all ages about animals and the importance of protecting them as well as the environment. Cadia happily shared some insight about her background and career choice.

Q. How long have you been working with animals?
A. I have been working in education with zoos and aquariums for 8 years, teaching guests about the animals and even handling some of them.

Q. What type of education do you need to do your job?
A. Most jobs at zoos and aquariums require a college degree. I went to the University of Arizona for Wildlife Conservation and Management.

Q. What kind of experience does someone need to land a job like yours?
A. A great way to get animal-related experience is by volunteering! A lot of careers begin by volunteering or with an internship.

Q. What inspired you to work in an animal-focused career?
A. I have always loved ocean animals, and after I completed an internship as a camp counselor at a California aquarium, I knew that teaching about the ocean and its inhabitants was what I wanted to do.
Q. What is your favorite part of the job?
A. I love working with the campers at Camp Ocean, OdySea Aquarium’s awesome summer camp. It’s inspiring to educate our campers about the wonders of the ocean through crafts, games and meeting live animals!

Q. Do you have a favorite animal?
A. I have a lot of favorite animals! At OdySea Aquarium, I love the alligators, but right now my favorite animal is the largest shark in the world—the whale shark! We don’t have these at the aquarium, but I was able to swim with whale sharks in Mexico.

Q. What is the best advice you can give to kids who are interested in working with animals?
A. Elementary School students: Learn more! Take out animal books from the library, ask your parents to enroll you in animal-focused summer camps or choose school projects on your favorite animals.

Middle School students: Visit local zoos, aquariums, animal sanctuaries and other animal facilities. Look for behind-the-scenes opportunities they might offer.

High School students: Volunteer at a local animal shelter or participate in a local clean up. OdySea Aquarium team members clean up the Salt River habitat monthly to help animals right here in Arizona.

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