Biracial (Native American/ White)
Smithsonian's National Zoological Park
Year zoo career began:
For as long as she can remember, Jen Zoon dreamed about working at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. As a child, she visited the Smithsonian museums often. None captivated her more than the Zoo, which instilled in her a lifelong love of animals, science and conservation.
As a Communications Specialist in the Office of Communications & Exhibits, Jen shares her passion for wildlife with others by telling stories about the Zoo’s individual animals and the work being done to save species from extinction. She believes that the best way to foster a deeper appreciation for wildlife is for visitors to get to know the Zoo’s animals by name and their stories by heart.
Jen earned B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Dickinson College in 2008 and joined the Zoo’s communications team in 2009. Using traditional media, social media, blogs, and e-newsletters, she creates connections between the creatures in the Zoo’s care and its visitors, online audiences and other stakeholders. Through updates and Q+As with curators, keepers and scientists, Zoon creates content that builds on a visitor’s trip to the Zoo, providing in-depth discussions about animals’ personalities, husbandry, enrichment, training and ways to help save their counterparts in the wild.
Jen participates in multiple committees at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, including the Enrichment and Training Committee and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee. She also serves as the Zoo’s liaison to Smithsonian Enterprises and helps bring licensed products including books, toys and collectables to fruition. As the coordinator for the Media Relations Internship and an AMZAP mentor, she is thrilled to have the opportunity to train and inspire the next generation of zoo professionals!