Greensboro Science Center
Year zoo career began:
Ra’Jhene Wood is a relief keeper at the Greensboro Science Center where she moves to different areas of the zoo. Being a relief keeper or swing keeper can be a very tedious job because you always stay on your toes and have to remember details about many different animals. However, the best part of Ra’Jhene’s job is that every day is exciting and being able to work with many different species will help her grow as a zookeeper.
Ra’Jhene learned that she wanted to work with animals when she spent time in her uncle and auntie’s dog grooming shop in Chicago. In high school she volunteered at the humane society working with cats and dogs. In college she worked at a dog grooming and boarding facility as the lead kennel assistant before working at the Riverbanks Zoo as a concession stand worker. Ra’Jhene moved up to become a pony attendant in attractions department before getting an unpaid internship at the zoo. After completing her internship at Riverbanks, Ra’Jhene had an internship at White Oak Conservation center and then took a temporary keeper position at St. Catherine’s Island in Georgia working with free ranging ringtail lemurs and Loggerhead sea turtles.
Ra’Jhene loves that she works with all of the animals in the zoo, which keeps her on her toes and learning. Ra’Jhene learned a lot from Mariah Wyngowski, who she worked with in her first internship at Riverbanks and who has encouraged her while helping her with resumes and cover letters. Ra’Jhene is a proud black female zookeeper and while she has felt isolated in the past, she wants to make sure that she is far from the last black zookeeper at her current and future facilities. She advises aspiring zookeepers to follow your dreams, no matter what!