F&M Stories

‘Pursuing the Animal Husbandry and Primate Training Certificate Was a No-Brainer.’

Certificates are supplemental educational pathways students can pursue at F&M. Certificates are not tied to majors or minors, but are credentials students can add to their resume to demonstrate a specialized level of training and education in a particular area. 

There are several certificates available at F&M, each one an incubator of innovation exploring a new field of study that uniquely blends perspectives from multiple disciplines. Here is the story of one student’s academic path to a certificate.

Shoshana Frank 24 in F&M Vivarium

Shoshana Frank '24

Certificate: Animal husbandry & primate training

Double Major: Animal behavior studies and theatre

Hometown: Buffalo Grove, Ill.

Activities on campus: Caretaker in the Vivarium; part of the Fummer primate training team; several research projects, including an honors thesis about lab rat welfare; Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society; Psi Chi International Honor Society; Green Room Theatre Club, F&M Players; Chabad

What inspired you to pursue this particular certificate at F&M? 

Pursuing the animal husbandry and primate training certificate was a no-brainer. I’ve worked in the Vivarium since my sophomore year, and it has been the highlight of my time at F&M. Having the opportunity to take courses that support the work I do in the Vivarium was the perfect way to incorporate theory and practice. I’ve always known that I wanted to pursue a career in some animal-related field, and when I figured out that animal welfare was what I was most passionate about, it became even more important to me to understand the rationale behind the way animal-care decisions are made in captive settings like zoos and laboratories. Animal training plays an increasing role in how we work with animals in captivity because it makes the job easier for keepers, researchers, and veterinarians, while supporting animal welfare by decreasing stress. Training is a super important skill to have if you’re going into animal care, and taking a class that has a classroom component and a hands-on component is an amazing way to learn how to train.

How does this certificate complement your major?

Most of the courses required for the certificate are part of the animal behavior major, so when they announced the certificate program, I was only missing the certificate-specific courses (primate training and animal husbandry). Almost all animal behavior majors want to end up working in an animal-related field, and the certificate program provides students with an experiential component that builds on the foundational knowledge we gain from our classes.

How has this certificate helped you along your chosen career path?

Learning about the theory and rationale that inform the way we take care of and train animals has helped me improve my caretaking, enrichment, and training skills. As I’ve been applying for jobs in lab-animal welfare, it is increasingly clear to me how valuable these skills are. I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to gain a variety of hands-on experiences with such a wide array of animals, especially nonhuman primates, as an undergraduate.

“The certificate program provides students with an experiential component that builds on the foundational knowledge we gain from our classes.”

— Shoshana Frank '24

Learn more about certificates »

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