Alumni Profiles - Meet Michelle Manella
Hometown: Hamilton, NJ
Year of Graduation: 2007
Major: Animal Science
Minor: Wildlife Conservation
Undergraduate Campus Involvement: AG Ambassadors
Current position of employment or education: Teacher Naturalist at the Academy of Natural Sciences
Describe your best Ag experience: I had many great experiences in the College of Ag. I think some of the best were at Ag day. It was always a fun weekend and really showed off what the college is all about to the community.
Which Ag course was your favorite and why? Honestly, I don’t have one favorite class that I took. I think some of my favorites were beekeeping because it was so different. It was nice for a change. And some of my plant classes with Dr. Frey were a nice change of pace from all off the animal classes.
Tell us about your current position or program of study and what led you to that field: I started volunteering at the Academy when I was 14 and then interned my senior year of college. At that point, I still had my mind set on being a keeper but through my internship I realized I wanted to be an educator that worked with animals instead. After college, I was an educator at a zoo for about a year and then got my current job at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, PA. For the past 5 years, I have been lucky to have the opportunity to work with over 100 live animals from birds of prey, to gators and snakes, to a fox and many small mammals. I can honestly say I love my job!
How did your College of Ag experiences prepare you for your career or post-graduate education? I think some of the professors tried to drill it into our heads to get as much experience as possible and they were right. Not only does it look good on your resume, it really can help you determine what it is you want to do.
What advice do you have for students interested in your field? Volunteer, intern or work at a variety of places. I got the best experiences by doing a lot of different things with animals. I volunteered at a wildlife rescue, worked at a pet store, and volunteered and interned at the museum I currently work at. If you know where you want to work once you graduate, volunteer or intern at that place. Iit’s always good to get a foot in the door!