Career Corner: Jenail Marshall
Name: Jenail Marshall
Position Title: Interpretive Programs Supervisor
Education: Bachelor of Arts – Anthropology
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Length of time at Zoo Atlanta: Four years!
Tell us about your job and any projects you are working on.
I am responsible for the development, evaluation and facilitation of interpretive programming on Zoo grounds. I want to make learning so fun that people don’t even realize they are learning. I provide interpretive experiences for our diverse audience of Zoo guests. Currently, I am working on creating content for our program Wild Women. This program educates our guests on women who in science. We are kicking off the year with Dr. Karen Chin; she is a paleontologist who looks at fossilized feces! I know it sounds yucky, but dinosaur poop can tell us a lot about their diets and environments. The Wild Women program gives our participants a chance to do some inquiry-based learning to understand why what these women study is important.
What attracted you to this field?
I started out part-time as a summer job while at my university. That experience was life-changing for me. I fell in love with wildlife conservation. Being able to educate people about these animals is a humbling experience.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your career so far?
I would say the highlight of my career so far is being able to work with some of the best coworkers on the planet. Working closely with our animal ambassadors like the giraffes, tigers and hornbills has been a real highlight of my career. Being able to interact with our guests, tell them stories about our animal ambassadors, and engage them in ways they can help their wild counterparts has really been a great experience. I love seeing people get their “A-ha!” moment.
What prepared you for your job?
This is a highly competitive field. I was prepared in many ways to take on new and greater challenges and responsibilities. As I became increasingly proficient in my role, I was entrusted with training and mentoring newer members of staff and this is something I enjoyed and found very rewarding.
What advice would you give to students interested in your career?
Be open to trying anything! Look for volunteer and internship opportunities in interpretation, whether it’s at a museum, zoo or national park. These opportunities will give you foundational guidelines on what to expect in the field.