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Jess Ryans



Current position: 

Education Specialist

Current facility:

Red River Zoo

Year zoo career began:


Jess is an Education Specialist at the Red River Zoo where she focuses on outreach and educational programs. Part of her duties include traveling to schools, nursing homes, and other facilities with animals to educate the public and promote conservation efforts. Jess also helps facilitate educational programs and classes through the summer and fall that allow children to connect with nature and animals. Some of the animals Jess works with include reptiles, insects, and birds.

As a child, Jess had an interest and connection to animals and initially thought of becoming a veterinarian. As she grew up, she participated in one of the Red River Zoo’s summer programs, which introduced her to working with wildlife. In high school, she worked for the Red River Zoo as a guest services assistant, which furthered her passion for working with wildlife. In college, Jess studied zoology/ biological sciences and participated in an unpaid herpetology keeper internship which focused on caring for the university’s reptile collection. The internship was Jess’s first introduction to animal husbandry and research.

Jess’s favorite part about her job is the opportunities she’s presented with to influence the community. She gets to provide guests and people outside of the zoo with an educational experience where they get to interact with animals that they might have never seen before or even been afraid! Jess would advise aspiring educational specialists to have persistence and confidence in your own abilities. There have been many times when Jess has doubted herself, but she knows that she deserves to have her current job. Know that you truly possess the skills to get there.

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