Beth Connors Earns Senior Spotlight

Beth Connors discusses the “Career Internship Program” or “Senior Option" that allows seniors to experience from various local businesses.

Beth Connors’ interest for marine biology and zoology gives her an opportunity at Turtle Back Zoo.

Beth Connors
Photo by Eve Mahaney.

Montclair High School senior Beth Connors is spending her senior option as an intern at the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, N.J. The job is perfect for Connors who has a strong interest in marine biology and zoology.

“I’ve wanted to work at the zoo since I was little, so as soon as I turned eighteen I applied for a job knowing that I would use it as my senior option,” explained Beth Connors.

As an employee at the zoo, Beth Connors will be working as a touch tank attendant, farm aid, butterfly/aviary attendant and a facilitator for pony rides.

While Beth Connors has very specific ideas about the career she wants to pursue later in life, she believes her opportunity to work at the zoo is a good stepping stone,  “I am interested in studying animals, specifically research on dolphin cognition or how navy sonar affects whale communication. The zoo is a good first step because with no aquariums nearby, the touch tank was the closest I could get to an underwater ecosystem!”

Despite the exciting prospects that her position has to offer, Beth Connors explained how working at such a large establishment is quite daunting, “I am the youngest and least experienced person at the job, by far, which can sometimes be frustrating. You learn a lot in that situation, however, you just have to learn fast.”

Although Beth Connors recognizes the possible challenges that may come along with her work, her positive outlook and enthusiasm shine through.

“I’m very excited, not only because it is a unique experience and one I’ve wanted to do my whole life, but because I will be testing whether or not working with animals is the job for me,” shared Beth  Connors.

Despite the fact that Beth Connors didn’t have the opportunity to be involved in marine and wildlife research at school, she kept active and was very involved in a variety of different clubs and teams. While at MHS, Connors always took part in the school dramas and musicals, swam for the Varsity swim team, was active in the Civics and Government Institute and the debate club.

Beth Connors noted that, “Because our school is landlocked, finding a marine science club proved difficult.”

As of now, Beth Connors hopes to turn her interest in marine science and zoology into a profession. Connors hopes to either become a research scientist or the Surgeon General.  She will continue her education this fall at the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, C.A. with a double major in marine biology and political science.

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