Animal Welfare Programs Manager
Detroit Zoological Society
Year zoo career began:
After starting her career in 2008, Jennifer Hamilton has been at the Detroit Zoological Society since 2016. She started out as the Animal Welfare Programs Coordinator and now holds the title as a manager. In these positions, she helps facilitate animal welfare programs like the yearly animal welfare assessment process and training/enrichment documentation. Jennifer also designs and assists with applied animal behavioral monitoring efforts including monitoring related to construction, public events, and goal based enrichment.
Jennifer graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in Zoology in 2009. After working for 4 years in animal care, she went back to school for a Master’s degree while working full-time at Leader Dogs for the Blind. In 2015, Jennifer graduated from Oakland University with a master’s in Psychology. During her 4 years in animal care, she spent time at Howell Nature Center, Binder Park and the Toledo Zoo. She later went on to be a seasonal keeper at the Idaho Falls zoo and a part-time keeper at the Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square.
Jennifer’s favorite part of her job is learning the different personalities of animals. While many keepers may work in one department, she has the opportunity to meet animals across the zoo! She would like to recognize her advisor, Dr. Jennifer Vonk, and her first boss at the Detroit Zoological Society, Dr. Stephanie Allard, as individuals who helped her become a better version of herself. Whether it was words of encouragement or pushing her to stretch outside of her comfort zone, she wouldn’t be where she is today without their guidance and support.