Erica Watson's Story
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Erica Watson

Let’s Meet Erica!

I have always had a passion for animal behavior and enjoy watching animals to see what they are doing and trying to understand why. I obtained my undergraduate degree in general biology but focused on behavioral courses. When I graduated college and joined the work force, I found myself in the world of Pharmaceutical R&D and I really enjoyed it. I was fortunate to work with primates and took every opportunity to get involved with enrichment and welfare initiatives. My certifications from the Animal Behavior Institute allowed me to continue my education while ensuring that my management team knew I was interested in a future position in this field. Eventually, I worked on a non-human primate acclimation and training program based on the principles of positive reinforcement training; this developed into my current role as a Behavior Specialist. I am responsible for welfare, enrichment, socialization, housing and acclimation/training programs. Although most of my time is dedicated to the primates and their special needs, I do work with all the species in our facilities.

How did you benefit from your ABI experience?

ABI helped put me on the path to obtaining my Masters’ degree; it also enabled me to gain the support of my company for a career in animal behavior. Everything I learned at ABI carried over to my Masters’ program and has been useful in my coursework. The credentials I obtained with my two certifications through ABI gave me the confidence to further pursue my education and career.

How did you complete your field requirement?

I completed my field requirement at my place of employment.

Do you have any advice for potential students or current students?

I felt it was a terrific choice for me, a great path. My advice would be to enroll and pursue certification, particularly if you are leery of going back to school. I was out of school for over 20 years when I started courses at ABI. Being successful in my ABI classes helped me to realize that I could successfully go back to school as an older student. It gave me the confidence to begin pursuit of my Masters’ degree. It was invaluable to me in achieving my personal and professional goals.

Would you recommend ABI?

I would! I have recommended your programs to several co-workers; many have enrolled and/or obtained certifications as well. I will continue to recommend the Animal Behavior Institute as a learning resource.

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