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Mollie Collins

ABI Success Story


Zoo & Aquarium Science

Let’s meet Mollie! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?  

I’m an artist-turned-zookeeper who recently decided to change my career path and focus on working with animals. I got my degree in animation back in 2012, but after walking dogs to make some money I realized the animal care field was the right one for me. I worked for about five years in the pet care world (dog walking, pet sitting, doggy daycare, vet clinic) before starting to volunteer with marine mammals once a week. I knew that I was in the right place when I looked forward to waking up at 5 am to go plunge my hands into icy fish!


How did you benefit from your experience at ABI?

My experience at ABI helped me understand what I could expect in the zoological field and gave me a good overview of how to care for many types of animals I’d never worked with before. Being able to take classes online in my own time was fantastic as well as I was working full time and couldn’t have done a more traditional type of certificate with in-person classes. 


What was your favorite course?

I really enjoyed the Animal Training class, but in hindsight the Husbandry and Record Keeping class was the one I’ve benefited the most from. Being able to learn how to use ZIMS before having to use it in a zoo or aquarium was invaluable. 


How did you complete your field experience?

My field experience was completed at the New England Aquarium where I volunteered with the marine mammal department. In my time there I learned how to prep fish and bucket diets, make safe and engaging enrichment, clean exhibits and work areas, and speak with the public among other things.  


What have you been doing since you graduated from ABI?

I've been working as a full-time marine mammal trainer for the past year.


Would you recommend ABI to others?

I would definitely recommend ABI to others! You can do the courses in your own time and every professor I had was beyond helpful and encouraging. For anyone looking to supplement their degree or even change careers like I did, ABI is the place to start.

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