The Research Department offers internships and independent study opportunities in animal behavior, endocrinology and reproduction to upper level college students and recent graduates. Specific projects vary during the year. It is important to note that some of the research projects may have limited animal contact. There is no stipend available, but students can often arrange to receive credit through their college or university. Summer internships require at least a 20-hour per week commitment, and independent study typically requires three hours per week in the lab for each credit hour, although university policies vary. Full-time (semester long) internships are available by special arrangement.


Observational studies of behavior may be "live" or consist of reviewing video footage of focal animals. Interns are offered the opportunity to collect data using a state-of-the-art computer/video system for recording and analyzing behavioral data as well as standard paper and pen data collection. Students are also expected to spend time on data summary and analysis, as well as readings for the particular study. Coursework in animal behavior is helpful but not required.


Students begin learning fecal sample extraction procedures and, if lab skills are proficient, may advance to assisting with radioimmunoassays (RIA) on serum, urine and feces for gonadal and adrenal steroids. Previous experience in basic laboratory techniques is required.


Reproduction projects vary but may include opportunities to assist with semen collection, analysis and cryopreservation, ultrasound exams or oocyte retrieval. The AZA Wildlife Contraception Center, affiliated with the Research Dept., also has opportunities for participation in calculations of minimum effective contraceptive dosages or lab-based studies of contraceptive efficacy. Previous experience in reproductive physiology lab or animal techniques are required.


To apply, download a Research Department Internship Application (MS Word) and send it to:

Cheryl Asa, Ph.D.
Director of Research
Saint Louis Zoo
1 Government Drive
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 646-5534 (fax)


Winter/Spring Semester: November 1

Summer: March 1

Fall Semester: July 1