Victoria Cempe-Cohen '16
Lead Interpreter - Alaska Sealife Center
Graduation Year: May 2016
What City/ State are you from? I’m originally from Virginia
What City/ State do you currently live in? Currently live in Seward, Alaska
Current Career Title: Lead Interpreter
Business/ Organization you work for: Alaska Sealife Center
What was your Major? Captive Wildlife Care and Education
Did you switch majors during your time at Unity College? Nope, CWCE all the way though!
What advice would you give to current Unity College students?
Take the unpaid internship, work the extra job to make ends meet. The experience is worth it! Also, don’t get cocky about the experience you have. Everyone in the field you are going into has years of experience, just like you. Never stop learning. And never be afraid to move far outside your comfort zone, you might even like it there.
Did you utilize career services for you internship or career search? If so, in what ways?
Yes, I had a lot of help building a resume with Career Services. They are a great resource.
Where did you complete your internship(s) and what types of experiences did you have?
I worked in a living history museum growing up. Once I got to Unity, I interned at the Philadelphia Zoo. I was also a paid intern at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, where I got a full-time position in the special activities department. After which I moved to Alaska worked for the military as a data collector, working in -50 degree weather in the winter! Finally, I ended up at the Sealife Center in Seward Alaska where I have been for the last 2 years, as the Lead Interpreter. It’s been a ride, and I’ve met many Unity College graduates along the way. There are some here in Seward, AK in fact!
Is your current job in your field of study, or did you end up going a different direction than you thought?
Currently, I am in my field of study but have also learned to bartend and worked for the military along the way since graduating. I also run with the local fire department as a fun side job.
Tell us a little about your current job and what it entails:
Currently, I create schedules for the interns, volunteers, and seasonal staff. I also lead tours, special encounters and talk to day guests on the floor. I get to educate people every day about the amazing wildlife that lives here and the work the Sealife Center does.
Are you happy in your current career?
I am happy in my current career!
Is there anything you would have done differently education-wise?
I would have put more effort in while I was at Unity. I didn’t party but I also wasn’t top of the class. Hindsight is 20/20.
If you haven’t already, are you considering graduate school down the road?
I am currently in a Graduate program through Miami University OH. It is a great program but was never part of the original plan involving school. Plans change, and I think it was a good move.