There are many internship options available for those seeking to gain experience in the field of animal nutrition. Here is a sampling of the opportunities that the industry has to offer:
The Animal Nutrition Center at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park offers animal nutrition internships that allow students to prepare diets for a variety of exotic species, assist with research involving nutrient analysis, utilize specialized laboratory equipment, and log data related to the animals in the collection. Applicants for animal nutrition internships must be juniors, seniors, or recent graduates from an animal science related program. Candidates must also have completed at least one semester of a nutrition course. Direct contact with animals is not a part of this internship experience.
Alltech, a leading animal health and nutrition company, offers a variety of internships in the areas of marketing and research. The research internship program is offered at Alltech’s Center for Animal Nutrigenomics in Kentucky. A wide variety of research options are available and can be tailored depending on a student’s specific interests in the field. Candidates must have completed two years of college and have at least a 3.0 grade point average.
Kentucky Equine Research offers both summer internships and year-long internships at their fully-equipped research facility in Versailles, Kentucky. KER publishes a variety of research studies relating to nutrition and exercise physiology. The summer internship program runs from May to August and accepts students that have completed at least 2 years of an animal science related program. The year-long internship program can be extended to 18 months of the candidate’s schedule allows.
The National Zoological Park, a part of the Smithsonian Institution, offers animal nutrition internships to students in Washington D.C. Undergraduate applicants for these internships must have completed at least two years of study in an area related to animal science or nutrition. One recent internship opportunity focused on studying the nutritional needs of desert tortoises, though projects may vary from one season to the next. Another internship in clinical nutrition focused on nutrient analysis of feeds and forages; this position carried a stipend of $300 per week ($3600 for the 12 week session).
Nestle Purina, a leading pet food manufacturer, offers a variety of student internships in areas such as sales, marketing, product management, supply chain management, and business management. The Sales Internship Veterinary Channel is just one of the possible opportunities. This internship provides extensive nutritional training on Purina products as well as hands on experience making field calls with a mentor. The 10 week summer program is a paid opportunity, with mileage reimbursement and housing assistance provided. Junior and senior students may apply; no specific major is required.
ADM Alliance Nutrition (in Illinois) offers several nutrition-related internship opportunities including options such as show feed sales internships, field sales internships, plant management internships, and research/livestock specialist internships. Candidates must be at least juniors in college with a minimum 2.8 grade point average to be considered for these opportunities.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium (in California) offers an animal food technician internship program that allows students to prepare fresh, frozen, and live dietary rations for the aquarium’s collection. In addition to basic food preparation duties, students are allowed to assist with feedings, maintaining USDA sanitary standards, and other staff duties.
The American Feed Industry Association (in Virginia) offered a 2012 summer internship focused on industry research projects and regulatory meetings. The internship was a ten week paid opportunity with transportation assistance.
The Audubon Nature Institute (in Louisiana) offers a zoo commissary internship. The commissary internship requires at least a 12 week commitment, with interns working at least 4 mornings per week. Interns prepare diets, manage product inventory, provide quality control, and learn about the nutritional requirements of a wide variety of exotic species.
It is also important to remember that many internship opportunities may not be advertised publicly. It is wise to check with your local college, agricultural extension agent, zoo, and nearby animal nutrition manufacturers to see what internship programs might be available in your area. A well crafted query letter and resume might tempt an organization to create a position for a qualified candidate, where previously a position did not exist.
Additional animal nutrition related internship possibilities can be found through an online keyword search or by viewing some of the other animal related internship pages on this site: wildlife rehabilitation internships, animal behavior internships, zoo internships, avian internships, equine internships, or pre-veterinary internships.