On the zoo crew

PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE Sarah Parker, a Mohawk High School and Heidelberg University graduate, is on Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s crew.

COLUMBUS — A Mohawk High School and Heidelberg University graduate is on a zoo crew.

Sarah Parker, who graduated from Mohawk in 2013 and from Heidelberg this year, is a guest engagement employee of Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Guest engagement employees walk around the zoo, talk to families and answer questions. They play a lot of games with children, she said.

“Kids love bubbles and hula hoops and chalk,” she said.

Parker started working at the zoo in June after graduating from Heidelberg in May and is part of three teams that make up guest engagement at the zoo. She said her job is part time, and she doesn’t have a set schedule.

“It works. … The schedule varies,” she said.

Paker said she enjoys the job, which is something different every day. She hears a lot of different languages while working.

“A smile goes a long way,” she said.

Parker, whose degree is in environmental science and biology, spent time working at the zoo’s display at the Ohio State Fair Wednesday. It was an educational display of zoo animals in the fair’s agriculture and horticulture building.

“I’m just here to give you tickets if you want it,” she said.

Parker said her career goal is to become involved in field biology research, mainly in marine science.

“(It’s) just a little tough in Ohio,” she said.

Parker said she is open to traveling and is not confining herself to Ohio.

“I’ve been looking everywhere,” she said.

Parker spent last summer in Alaska working at Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, south of Anchorage. Part of the focus of her fellowship was on education and working with people, and part was on wildlife response.

“Alaska was incredible,” she said.

“The ASLC Wildlife Response program responds to live and dead marine wildlife that has been abandoned, stranded, or injured throughout Alaska,” according to its website. “The ASLC is the only institution authorized to rehabilitate live stranded marine mammals in the state.”

Parker worked with otters, octopus and seal pups in the facility, which she said was like a small hospital. She said she enjoyed the internship.

“Because we were interns, we could do a lot of free things around the town. … Never a shortage of things to do,” she said.