Student Forums
A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community

Zootastic Life: Colin Ross ’26 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio

Growing up, my family would constantly take trips to the zoo. I would walk around holding hands with my sister as we observed the animals. Through the years, the zoo became a part of my life, being my first class field trip, where I volunteered with my Rotary club and, most importantly, my first job. I have been working at The Columbus Zoo since 2019. For my co-op, I decided I wanted to return to the zoo after I was offered a new position as a guest relations section lead. Before this promotion, I was a zoo section lead, but this job opened more doors at the zoo and in Zoombezi Bay, our waterpark.

At the parks, I ensure that guest relations employees follow policy and procedure while maintaining a fun but healthy working environment. During my first year at the zoo, I would look up to my team and section leads, wondering if I would ever be considered for these positions; I’ve learned to become proud of where I have ended up in my journey; I had to overcome many obstacles such as constantly second guessing myself wondering if I am good enough for my job.

The Columbus Zoo is AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accredited, which means they meet the best animal welfare and care standards. The zoo lost its accreditation a few years ago. However, I saw them work hard to ensure that the animals received the best care they could offer and collected data. I am proud that the zoo is helping wildlife but also highly grateful for the home it has provided me my entire life.

The Columbus Zoo’s new slogan is “Empowering People, Saving Wildlife.” I am contributing to this message because, as an operations team member, I am helping guests get an insight into what can help to ensure that endangered species remain viable, and thrive. I have learned a lot these past few years about how we can have a sustainable future connecting people and wildlife. During my co-op, my main goal was to work as hard as possible in an environment I am passionate about and to be capable of stepping out of my comfort zone. Every day I learn something new with my work, and I am excited to see how I will change not only as a person but as someone who appreciates our planet.

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