Guest Services Shift Supervisor & Education Group Leader
Year zoo career began:
Elena is a Guest Services Shift Supervisor and Education Group Leader at the Topeka Zoo where she assists with daily zoo operations that interact with the public. As a group leader in education, she works with a smaller group of people to plan education camps and teach kids about zoos, animals, and anything they can think of about the environment!
Elena attended a private independent school as a child that her parents had her attend because of its diversity and inclusivity. In high school, Elena was a part of the Youth Volunteer Corps and was part of the inaugural International Youth Volunteer board. She began studying music education at Washburn University in Kansas but after starting a summer job at the Topeka Zoo she knew that the zoo field was the right fit. She is currently still a student at Washburn University and is pursuing a degree in psychology with a minor in biology.
Elena’s favorite part of her job is when she gets to educate children, guests, and other staff members about the importance of zoos or about specific animals in the zoo’s collection. Telling guests about the fun memories she has with each animal is always a job and brightens her day. Elena’s advice to aspiring zoo professionals is to go for any position at a zoo, whether it’s an internship or entry-level part-time position. Elena wouldn’t be where she is today if she hadn’t taken a step outside of her comfort zone and applied for a part time position with guest services.