ALUMNI STORIES

Rory Dwyer, Animal Keeper

“I wake up every morning and know that I get to go to the coolest job in the world.”

Rory Dwyer
BS, Wildlife Care and Education; Class of 2010
Animal Keeper
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Orlando, Fla.

What is your title and company, and what are your main responsibilities, currently?
[Currently I serve as] Senior Zookeeper for Stone Zoo at Zoo New England. Starting in January, I will be moving to Orlando, Florida, to be an Animal Keeper at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. My main responsibilities currently are husbandry of collection animals, establishing and implementing animal training programs, medicating and care of sick animals, including geriatrics, serving as member of Conservation and Sustainability committees, and assisting with facilities maintenance, as well as 1,000 other things daily.

What was your path to getting the job you have now?
I began attending Unity College as nontraditional student in 2007, then served as an intern with the Bird Department at the Franklin Park Zoo the first summer. I also served as an intern at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and as a paid “extern” primarily in charge of the butterfly exhibit before being hired as full-time zookeeper for Stone Zoo.

What do you love about the job?
That it is a lifelong dream come true. I wake up every morning and know that I get to go to the coolest job in the world.

What made you want to come to Unity? Were those expectations realized by the time you graduated?
The Wildlife Care and Education major (wasn’t captive yet) was the primary reason. “Where old-fashioned values are not old-fashioned” (the Town of Unity’s town slogan) solidified it for me. I love the area and the people. If only Unity had a zoo! My expectations for my future were surpassed. All of my internships were critical in the realization of becoming a keeper. As for classes, Dave Knupp’s ornithology was as great as it was intense, and all of Diane Murphy’s English classes, although not directly related to my field, were well worth it.

How would you describe your transition from college to the working world, and what advice would you give fellow or future Unity alums?
The internships that I did prepared me immensely for my future and without them I would not have gotten as far as I am now. My advice to anyone interested in this field is take more plant classes! They come in handy. And firearms training.

Monday, January 11, 2016