Year zoo career began:
Amanda (Hodo) Felix is an Aquarium Biologist III at Mote Aquarium, where she currently oversees Mote’s Aquarium Conservation Laboratory, which she helped design. Her responsibilities include breeding fish and invertebrate species and sharing those offspring with other zoos and aquariums. She is responsible for the short and long-term care of their exhibits, which involves their nutrition, feeding, cleaning, water quality monitoring, and construction. Amanda also utilizes SCUBA diving to help maintain the aquarium’s 130,000-gallon shark habitat, which is one of her favorite parts of her job. She also helps with shark training sessions! The sharks at the aquarium swim to targets to receive food and are trained to lay in stretchers for medical exams. Amanda’s current favorite animal is a goliath grouper who enjoys back scratches and having sand rubbed on her back.
Amanda grew up in Hyde Park in Chicago where she attended Jones College Prep for high school, which is located near the Shedd Aquarium. Amanda’s parents encouraged her to participate in several Shedd Aquarium programs in high school. Their programs gave her a basic introduction to marine biology, introduced her to interpretation and connecting guests to exhibits, and allowed her to see a typical day for a marine mammal trainer and an aquarist. Amanda also attended Shedd Aquarium’s High School Marine Biology program, where she spent a summer learning about marine biology research and fish identification at the Shedd Aquarium and in the Bahamas on their research vessel. These experiences were extremely influential for Amanda and helped blossom a passion for marine science. Amanda attended Grinnell College in Iowa, nowhere near water, and spent her summers traveling to other states for marine science research programs. After graduating with a degree in biology, Amanda had husbandry internships at Mote Aquarium and the Shedd Aquarium before being hired at the Mote Aquarium in December 2014.
Amanda loves breeding and raising babies and getting to contribute to larger conservation efforts. And aside from her animal care tasks, Amanda enjoys interacting with guests and encouraging young girls to explore careers in STEM. In 2018, Amanda was one of the four winners of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium's nationwide video contest and was featured in AZA's national campaign that aired February 2019. Amanda also appeared in an episode of CBS's Mission Unstoppable, hosted by Miranda Cosgrove.