Malin Lilley '15 interns at Dolphins Plus

The North East Jr Sr High School graduate blogs about her experience

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(Left to right) Grace and Dolphins Plus intern Malin Lilley ’15

HAMILTON, NY (08/02/2013)(readMedia)-- This blog post was writter by Malin Lilley '15 of North East, Pennsylvania. To find out more, e-mail her at

This summer, I am an animal care and training intern at Dolphins Plus, a research and education facility in Key Largo, Fla., that offers dolphin swims for the public. Dolphins Plus has a resident population of 12 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and one California sea lion.

My responsibilities include assisting the staff with daily diet preparation as well as fish-kitchen and facility maintenance. I also assist with and observe guest interaction sessions, training sessions, and husbandry behaviors, which allow us to care for the animals.

Additionally, I deliver an educational briefing to guests before interaction sessions. These briefings are one of my favorite responsibilities, because I have the opportunity to share information about the dolphins and sea lion and send a message about conservation to the session attendees who come from all over the world.

Dolphins under human care are ambassadors to their counterparts in the wild. When people come to learn about dolphins and swim with them, I hope they will make a connection that will inspire environmental awareness and a greater appreciation for marine mammals and their habitats.

The ongoing research projects here at Dolphins Plus are of interest to me because there are so many unanswered questions regarding marine mammals; it is wonderful to be able to witness the research process as those questions continue to be answered.

I have met some amazing people here and have learned a lot about the marine mammal training field. My internship has been a great jump start into what I hope to be a career of research and marine mammal training.

The best part of my internship is going to work everyday and being able to spend time and interact with the dolphins and sea lion. They are highly intelligent creatures, and it is a privilege to work around them on a daily basis.

I found my internship by searching marine mammal facilities websites as well as the International Marine Animal Training Association website.

I am grateful to Colgate's career services office and its Summer Internship Fund, which provided me with the financial assistance that allowed me to work in Key Largo, gain experience, and explore this career field.

- Malin Lilley '15 (North East, Penn.)