by Madison Moore ’15

As soon as Sam Cohen ’14 walks off the stage on the day of graduation, he is jumping right into his car and driving to Florida to return as head counselor of Busch Gardens Tampa.

Cohen knew that DelVal would give him experience to teach, learn and pursue his interest in animals, even during his four years of school.

He said that the experience program gives students the motivation to go out and gain real-world experience “instead of sitting at home watching TV all summer.”

Cohen has stayed busy during his summer vacation, starting at Busch Gardens the summer after freshman year, where he worked with campers to teach them about “conservation and a zoos role in it.”

He continued to work his summers at Busch Gardens, returning last summer as head counselor. He also interned at the Buffalo Zoo during his winter break of his junior year.

“I mostly worked with the gorillas, but also did some work with other primates,” said Cohen. “It was amazing zookeeper experience and I loved every minute of it!”

Another internship he had was at the Adventure Aquarium, New Jersey, and worked with the birds and mammal team. Being a DelVal zoo science major allows students to take a day off and do an animal care and education internship at one of the University’s partners, which is how Cohen was able to have the important hands-on experience.

After he finishes his summer as head counselor, Cohen plans on going to the Association of Zoos and Aquariams (AZA) Conference in Orlando, Fla. He said this conference is “a great way to network” with professionals and land him a job. 

“In the zoo world you need internships to get a job, but to get internships you need prior experience,” said Cohen.

Cohen said the best part about being a student at DelVal is the emphasis on hands-on learning in both the classroom and in the field, and with all his experience he knows he will be able to find a job in the field as soon as he graduates.

“Our experience program is so unique to our college,” said Cohen. “The experience gained from it is what sets our graduates apart from everyone else.”