Carnegie Mellon University
Monica Garcia, Volunteer Coordinator
Animal Rescue League
Shelter & Wildlife Center
6620 Hamilton Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15206
412-661-6452  Office
Jessica Dettling, Director of Volunteer and Foster Program
Humane Society North Shore
1101 Western Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15233
412-321-4625  Office

The National Aviary volunteer and internship opportunities can help you enahnce your exposure to animals as well as your understanding of how humans and animals interact.

Tammy Arnold, Manager of Volunteering & Intern Programs 

University of Pennsylvania Working Dog Center offers unique summer volunteering and internship opportunities for students interested in applying to Vet school.


Summer Internships

We offer two (2) types of summer internships.

1. Research - Behavioral Science

Interns will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in research, including:

  • Environmental testing – dogs’ reaction to their environment (living &inanimate)
  • Analyzing how the dogs develop and progress through training
  • Data collection on various research studies
  • Data organization and analysis
  • Responsibilities include working with multiple databases, data collection and management, data analysis (e.g. biostatistics, modelling and hands-on behavioral testing with working dogs).
  • Interns will also see how we can use the dog's nose to develop an early diagnostic test for the detection of ovarian cancer.

2. Applied - Behavioral Science

Interns in this track will gain experience in behavioral analysis techniques. Interns will investigate the role behavior plays in affecting the success of working dogs across the canine career paths including:

  • Daily, hands-on interaction with working dogs in training
  • Opportunity to learn about dog training, veterinary medicine, and scientific research
  • Guidance from trainers and veterinary staff on operant and classical conditioning, positive reinforcement, basic dog training, canine behavior & body language, scent detection (i.e., search & rescue, law enforcement & medical), puppy development & socialization and fitness programs for canines.
  • Data collection for research & training
  • Responsibilities include supporting the research and training of the trainers, collect data and video tape training sessions and assisting with canine management through operant conditioning and positive reinforcement

Animal Husbandry Internships:

Program participants will gain meaningful experience and basic knowledge in their primary area of study by gaining a broader view of a modern zoological park via practical hands-on experience, assisting the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s professional staff with daily operations, and completing an optional research project. In addition, the Zoo will benefit from the effort, infusion of new ideas, and vitality of the program participants. This program offers an excellent opportunity for students and graduates to develop their basic abilities, further refine advanced skills and enhance their career goals.

email or call 412-365-2524

Volunteering at the ZOO:

Become a Docent: Docents are women and men who volunteer a minimum of 60 hours per year and must be a minimum of 18 years of age.

Some of the activities docents take part in:

Conduct tours in the Zoo and PPG Aquarium
Provide information to visitors at animal exhibits
Perform observational research
Assist at Zoo special events
Visit community groups with small animals


Volunteer divers assist PPG Aquarium staff with in-tank maintenance of our warm and cold water exhibits, including the ocean tank, sea otters, sand tiger sharks, and more. Volunteer divers also participate in special event activities that further the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium’s mission.

Do I need previous SCUBA experience?  Yes. Divers must be at least 18 years old, hold an open water SCUBA certification from a recognized agency (PADI, NAUI, etc.).