This International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we wanted to introduce you to a few of our Zoo team members and get their insights on their fields. There are so many ways for women and girls to use their science degrees to impact the people and animals around them!
Meet Jody Cassell, Director of Conservation Programs! To read more of our Women in Science profiles, check out this link.
Education: Florida Institute of Technology, BS degree, Psychology with a concentration in animal behavior.
How did you choose your field? It sort of chose me! I was working at the Zoo while in college and found it to be challenging and rewarding, and I appreciated the growth opportunities. So I stayed around, worked hard and landed/created my dream job.
Did or do you have any female mentors or role models in your field? If so, how did they shape your career journey? YES! It takes a village and I adore mine! My mentor has been a senior management role with two well-known wildlife nonprofits since I’ve met her. She is a powerhouse and has provided me with tremendous guidance. I intentionally sought out someone who would be willing to ask me hard questions, challenge me and strive to make me a better woman both professionally and personally.
How would you describe your work at the Zoo? I would describe my work at the Zoo as being a dream come true. Not only do I have the honor of leading a department of the most passionate, hardworking conservationists but I also get to work toward saving a variety of species from extinction and improving critical habitats. No two days are ever the same, and I feel so honored to work day in and day out to improve the life of our local and international wildlife.
What do you enjoy about your job? I enjoy the partnerships I’m involved in and the collaborative work toward a same goal. I’ve had the pleasure of working shoulder to shoulder with some of the worlds leading biologists and using those opportunities to just soak up every ounce of knowledge I can. I also appreciate that I can work on a huge biodiversity ranging from amphibians to birds to mammals to invertebrates and even reptiles residing in a variety of habitats. It reminds me daily what a beautiful work we live in and why it needs to be conserved.
What are some challenges about your work? Conservation is hard work. Sometimes it’s one step forward and two steps back which can be exhausting. For this reason, I strive to celebrate the successes when they happen and use them to carry me through to the next accomplishment.
What advice do you have for girls or women who want to work in your field? Work hard, study hard, volunteer your time, connect with everyone you can in the field, be kind, show grace to yourself and others.
Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.