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Externship Adventures: Brock Crockett-Beck

Monday, May 8, 2023

brock crockett-beck poses with dolphins during his SeaWorld externship

Brock Crockett-Beck, class of 2023, recently completed an externship with SeaWorld. His passion for ocean conservation and interest in marine mammal medicine made this externship the perfect fit.


What did you do during your externship with SeaWorld?

During my externship, I did a lot of shadowing. Working hands on with some of the animals is not always feasible considering their size and species. However, there were a lot of animals that I did get to work with like penguins, dolphins (bottlenose and spinner), sea turtles, a variety of fish species, some seals, sea lions and otters.

The veterinarians do rounds throughout the park daily and speak to the trainers on any behavior changes from the day before. The trainers are very observant and quickly pick up on those behavior changes or any hyporexia. Many of our duties included drawing blood for blood panels, ultrasounds, some procedures, physical exams and nutritional evaluations.

Additionally, while I was there, I was asked to perform a research project of my choosing. My interest is in cardiology, so I attempted to standardize an ECHO technique for the bottlenose dolphins while I was there. At the end of the rotation, I did a short presentation on my findings, as well as a basic review of cardiac differences in marine mammals. 


What was your favorite part of the experience?

Honestly, the whole externship was so amazing. Every day, I was working with a new species. Ocean conservation is something that is very important to me. SeaWorld does so much research, education and outreach to help the public better understand how awesome these animals are and the small things they can do to help the animals in the wild. I think being a part of maintaining the health of these animals, as well as helping to educate the people about how incredible they are and the importance of their survival, made this externship my favorite of all time. 


What was the biggest thing you learned?

There was so much that I learned during this externship. I do not think that I could pick out one particular topic. It was a very steep learning curve because these types of animals are not seen in any class. Whenever we were not out looking at the animals, I was reading about them to try and better understand their bloodwork values, behavior changes and the basic physiology that differentiates them from terrestrial mammals.


Why did you choose this externship?

SeaWorld is an incredible place and I actually did a lot of summer camps at the park when I was in junior high and the beginning of high school. I was familiar with the area and remembered speaking to veterinarians while I was there. They talked to us about what they did and I knew that I wanted to go back to learn from them and help treat their incredible animals.


How did you find out about this externship?

I am very interested in marine mammal medicine, so I performed a google search to see if any aquariums or parks did veterinary externships. Then, I went through an application process. Applications for this externship are due November of the year before you would like to go. I filled mine out in November 2021, received my acceptance in January 2022 and had my externship in January 2023.


Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I would highly recommend this externship for anyone that enjoys exotics or marine mammal medicine. It is very competitive but it was definitely worth the time I spent there. 

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