Internship-style Day Camp


 Concludes with Culmination Ceremony


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The 2019 Zoo Experience, a one-week internship-style day camp held July 22nd – 26th at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo, wrapped up on Friday with a culmination ceremony for the four young women who participated in the program. 

The three Big Bear High School students – Bibiana Castillon, Jasmine Moreno, Nicole Sannes, and one Yucaipa High School student Karly Vizzini, worked behind-the-scenes with the zookeepers at Big Bear Alpine Zoo learning how to prepare food and create enrichments for the animals. The students also explored careers in animal sciences by interacting with guest speakers each morning. And at the conclusion of each day, they worked with a journalist to create a daily blog that featured their photography and views on the camp. 


Karly Vizzini wanted to see what it was like to work at a zoo. “This internship has allowed me to learn and receive advice from people who share the same passions as myself and who work in my desired career field. The one thing that everyone keeps repeating is...get as much experience as possible. They explained that your experiences are just as important as your education. I feel truly blessed to have received this wisdom that I can apply to my future career,” said Vizzini.


Nicole Sannes wanted to participate in the Zoo Experience because of her plans on becoming a veterinarian.  She was able to work with the zoo’s Vet Tek, Krystal.  “It was very interesting to shadow Krystal because of my interest in veterinary medicine. Treating zoo animals is very unique because there in not a lot of published materials on exotic animal care. Shadowing Krystal provided wonderful insight into the daily life as a veterinarian at a zoo,” said Sannes.


Bibiana Castillon and Jasmine Moreno were interested in the program because of their love of animals in general. “This zoo experience has taught me many new things,” said Castillon. “There are many interesting skills you can learn while being at the zoo that you can use later in life,” said Moreno.


The Zoo Experience program seeks to break through barriers for women and girls in science, technology, engineering, and math, while exposing them to careers in the field of animal sciences. Currently, women account for only a minority of managerial positions in zoos.

AAUW is dedicated to inspiring women to become leaders and opening their minds to STEM fields that they may have not considered as viable careers.


The Zoo Experience is the result of a collaboration between the Big Bear Alpine Zoo, The American Association of University Women (AAUW), and San Bernardino County. To see the student blog go to:  


AAUW, whose mission it is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research, is creating this unique program in conjunction with the Big Bear Alpine Zoo and hopes to sponsor the four, high school girls in 2019.


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