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Veterinary Externship

The Tennessee Aquarium is once again offering veterinary externship opportunities. This successful program, now in its sixth year, is designed to provide experience in aquatic animal medicine to advanced veterinary students.

The veterinary preceptorship allows visiting students to spend two weeks with Dr. Christian Keller, veterinary assistant/technician Shelby Ferguson and husbandry staff.

A veterinarian examines a penguin
Aquarium staff surround Oscar during surgery
A vet tech dons surgical gloves
Veterinarians perform a procedure on a lemur

Dr. Keller has been the veterinarian at the Tennessee Aquarium since 1991 and is an adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine located in Knoxville. Students will spend approximately 20 hours per week with Dr. Keller, and the remaining time will be spent rotating through the Aquarium’s husbandry departments. Additionally, students will spend time with the veterinary assistant/technician Shelby Ferguson. Shelby has been at the Tennessee Aquarium since 2021 and is a graduate of the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg. She is also the aquarium’s sea turtle caregiver.

In addition to various freshwater and marine fishes, students will have the opportunity to care for penguins, psittacines, native birds and reptiles. They will gain experience in the realm of aquatic biosecurity and quarantine. Students will also be involved with the husbandry and medical concerns of mammals ranging from Flying Squirrels to North American River Otters and Lemurs (the Tennessee Aquarium does not house marine mammals of any kind).

Students who apply must be in their final clinical year of training from an accredited school of veterinary medicine.

Temporary, $100/day stipend up to ten days; 40 hours/week for two weeks, weekend/holiday/on-call may be required.

Apply here.

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