Biracial (Japanese/ White)
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Year zoo career began:
Laura Marx is a biracial Japanese/caucasian American who works as a zoological aide in the Asian Forest Sanctuary area at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Laura assists with caring for a variety of species including Sumatran tigers, siamangs, and Malayan tapirs. She considers herself a primate person so her favorite species to work with are the siamangs and lar gibbons.
Laura attributes her love for wildlife to having grown up in San Diego, a city that gave her exposure to animals, conservation issues, and the outdoors. While studying for her undergraduate degree at the University of California San Diego, Laura took opportunities to volunteer locally and study abroad. Laura later earned a master’s degree through Miami University’s Global Field Program. Laura has worked in a variety of animal and conservation roles at different facilities in the past, including roles in zoo events and interpretive programs, two unpaid keeper internships, and briefly worked as a vet assistant at an exotic animal hospital before being hired in her current position.
Laura’s favorite animal is the orangutan, which she developed a love for while conducting volunteer observations at the orangutan exhibit at the San Diego Zoo. During her graduate program, she traveled to Borneo for a primate conservation course and was able to see them in the wild, which was a life changing experience. Sustainable palm oil is Laura’s passion conservation topic and she hopes to work with orangutans again one day. Her advice to aspiring animal keepers is to not get discouraged by how competitive the zookeeping field is. You’ll probably have to apply and interview many times before you score your first paid position. Stay involved by volunteering, or working at a zoo in some other role – even if you’re not a keeper, a paid position in another department might be a great way to get to know your local facility, the animals, and staff. Be open to new opportunities and make friends along the way. The zoo world is a small world so you never know what a connection can lead to!