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Internship spotlight thumbnail graphic featuring Manteo High senior, Gitzelle.
Hannah Nash
Internship spotlight graphic features Manteo High School student, Julia.

Internship Interview with Manteo High School Senior, Julia

Can you briefly describe the tourism and hospitality internship that you're participating in?

"I'm in husbandry for two of my days at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island, which is all the animal care tasks. On Fridays I'm in education, so I get to interact with the public a lot more. It's definitely interesting to get people's viewpoints and different opinions on our animals and how they perceive them and the actual truth about them.

So our touch pool is full of stingrays and everybody is terrified of them, but they're very kind animals. I like being able to educate the public to kind of debunk some myths like that or try to change their opinions a little bit on how they see our animals."

What were your main responsibilities/tasks that you do while interning?

"So on Tuesdays and Wednesdays I'm in husbandry, so I get to do a lot of food prep and I clean life support systems and just feeding our animals and making sure everybody's got their dinner and everything, which is really cool. I love doing that! On Fridays I'm in education and get to interact with the public, so I'm either out on a discovery cart and explaining different animals that way, or I'm at the touch pool working as an interpreter."

Aquarium intern collecting water samples

Julia collects and tests water samples from the aquariums touch pools. 

What are the specific skills you've gained or were able to improve on during your internship?

"My communication skills. I feel like I've gotten a little bit better just because I interact with different people every day and I'm not just interacting with coworkers, it's guests and people that come from, you know, usually all over the country because we are a tourist destination.

So I think I've sharpened up my skills that way."

What did you find most surprising, unexpected, or challenging about this internship?

"I didn't realize how much effort actually goes into taking care of these animals and how much attention to detail it takes. You have to make sure that everybody is being fed the right amount and at the right time because they do run on a pretty strict schedule.

So I guess just attention to detail has been something I was surprised about."

Are there any valuable connections you made during your internship?

"Yes, definitely!

I feel like I have good relationships with all the people that I get to work with and usually it's with the same three or four people. I do think I've gained a lot of trust with them and they've taught me more than I originally thought I was going to learn. I do think that those relationships will last outside of this internship."

How do you see the skills and knowledge that you gained during your internship applying in the real world? What do you plan to do after you graduate?

"Yeah. I'm not sure where I'm going yet. I'm either going to study biology or marine biology if a school offers it, but I've always had a strong passion for marine biology. I really do love it and this internship really just kind of seals the deal for me."

Do you have any advice for someone who is considering an internship that is a part of the tourism industry?

"I think just having patience and knowing the message you are trying to relay and getting comfortable with that."

Can you describe the value of this experience and how you do think it might help you in the future?

"Yeah, I do think that my co-workers and my mentors, they're definitely going to be something that sticks with me throughout my career and also the little skills, again, attention to detail and having good communication skills, that type of thing. That'll definitely stick with me in my future career."

Photo collage featuring FFHS student Julia interning at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island.

Interested in Interning?

Students interested in a local internships can contact Internship Coordinator Camie Romano to find an internship that aligns with their interests and career goals. Work-based learning courses are part of the Career and Technical Education Department. These courses provide students with opportunities to prepare to enter the workforce.