Name: Ben McIlwaine
Tell us what you’re studying and why you chose the course
I am studying Zoology and chose the course because of my fascination with the natural world, and my passion to learn more about it.
You recently took part in an internship at SeaLife – why was it important for you to take part, what were you hoping to achieve?
I was hoping to complete a data collection process for my Independent Studies module. I also spent a lot of my time helping out with the day to day jobs at the centre and learnt a lot whilst I was there about animal husbandry.
Tell us what the internship involved, who you worked with, and the outcome of your project
I completed my Independent Studies data collection process through the video recording of the Otters, with the aim to determine the benefits (or lack of) of a behavioural enrichment strategy. I worked with different members of the displays team, and also took part in the weekly team meetings which gave me a great insight into how the centre ran. The outcome of my project was that my 1st type of enrichment strategy (out of 2) was successful in increasing actively exhibited behaviours.
What was the best thing about the project/what opportunities have you had?
The best thing about my project was being able to collect my own data, and having access to the animals at the National SeaLife Centre. I also really enjoyed working with the displays team at the centre as they were all really welcoming, friendly and also very happy to teach me about the husbandry of the animals. I even got to do the feeding of some of the animals!
How has this experience helped your current studies?
It gave me a broader knowledge of aquatic husbandry, and also how the centre ran in general which was fantastic work experience.
How has this experience helped prepare you for your future career?
It has given me an inside view of the industry, and gave me valuable experience of working as part of a team as well as being able to work on my own (for my personal project).
Would you recommend this experience to other students?