Career Corner: Research & Conservation
Name: Marieke Cassia Gartner
Position Title: Post-doctoral research fellow
Education: PhD in psychology
Hometown: New York, NY
Length of time at Zoo Atlanta: 2 weeks! (start date September 10)
Tell us about your job and any projects you are working on.
I will be creating an animal welfare program for the Zoo, working with animals all around the Zoo to identify examine many of the ways we ensure optimal animal well-being. Some of the animals I’ll be working with are the African savanna species who will be part of Grand New View when it opens in 2019, but I’ll be working with other species as well.
What attracted you to this field?
I love animals, and I also believe that we have an obligation and a responsibility to help animals in terms of both conservation and well-being.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your career so far?
When you’re working with animals, there’s never just one! Any time I’ve helped an animal achieve greater well-being, even just one animal, it’s a highlight! Interacting with animals, even if I’m just observing them, is exciting and fun for me.
What prepared you for your job?
Both my master’s and doctoral degrees prepared me for my job, teaching me the research skills I needed. Hands-on work carrying out many research projects, from small ones to long term ones across a variety of species allowed me to apply what I learned in school and allowed me to do what I do today.
What advice would you give to students interested in your career?
Currently, my field is extremely competitive—there are very few jobs and many candidates. I would advise students to be well rounded—don’t just study welfare, also study conservation, for example. Don’t just study one species, look at many, from different taxa! Be open to collaborating to get the experience you need.