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Mystic Aquarium, a division of Sea Research Foundation, Inc.

Veterinary Externship in Aquatic Animal Medicine
its inception in the mid 1970's, the veterinary externship program
offered by the Department of Research and Veterinary Services (RAVS) at
Mystic Aquarium, a divisions of Sea Research Foundation, Inc. has
welcomed scores of veterinary students and veterinarians from
institutions worldwide. Our current veterinary externships are available
to qualified veterinary students or graduate veterinarians with an
interest in aquatic animal medicine. Veterinary externships are
clinically-focused, and externs are required to complete a literature
review or research project during the externship, the results of which
are presented in lecture format to our staff.

Veterinary externships are available for periods of time ranging
from two weeks to four months and are available during both the fall and
spring semesters (we do not offer veterinary externships over the
summer). Veterinary externs are encouraged to come for the longest
possible period for maximum opportunity and exposure. Only one
veterinary extern will be present at any given time to provide each
extern with the most hands-on experience possible. Veterinary externs
are also offered the opportunity to learn about the aquarium’s husbandry
operations through short (half to whole day) rotations through our
water quality laboratory, and penguin, fish, invertebrate, herptile, and
marine mammal husbandry areas as time allows. Depending on the length
of externships, short rotations in our research lab may also be
available. To accommodate the different methods whereby students are
allocated blocks of time for preceptorships, externships etc., we accept
students on a rolling admissions basis. Applications for veterinary
externships frequently exceed available openings and positions are often
filled over a year in advance. Interested potential veterinary externs
are encouraged to submit their application early.

Admission Procedures

Prior to submitting application materials, potential veterinary
externs should contact Dr. Allison Tuttle via email
( to discuss the timing of the request for a
veterinary externship. If the time period of interest is available,
this space will be temporarily held while the applicant submits the
required application materials including a letter of intent, curriculum
vitae, veterinary school transcript, and two letters of recommendation,
at least one of which must be written by a veterinarian. Application
materials can be emailed directly to Dr. Tuttle or sent by mail. Once
complete application packets have been received they will be reviewed
and a decision will be generated regarding acceptance into our program.
This is generally accomplished within two weeks of receipt of
application materials.


Veterinary externs will work the same schedule as our veterinary
intern, Tuesday through Saturday, with Sunday and Mondays off as
desired. The main duties of our veterinary externs will be to 1) assist
the veterinary staff with all clinical cases, 2) attend and participate
in clinical/teaching rounds, 3) complete the required research project
or literature review assigned, and 4) to present the results of the
project to our staff in seminar (power point) format. If time allows (or
on the vet extern’s days off), externs will rotate through the
laboratory and various husbandry areas based on availability and the
extern’s choosing.

Externship Projects

For successful completion of the veterinary externship program, all
externs must complete a project during their externship. Externs coming
for four or more weeks generally complete a short research project,
whereas externs coming for shorter periods may be asked to perform a
literature review on a relevant topic instead. Externs are encouraged to
come up with project ideas on their own; however, a project may be
assigned. Externs should avoid proposing studies involving invasive
techniques on live animals. Our Institutional Animal Care and Use
Committee (IACUC) must review any projects involving live animal
procedures. Mystic Aquarium staff members (e.g. research, veterinary,
laboratory, or husbandry staff) may supervise research projects.
Planning and approval for extern-designed projects take time. We
therefore encourage potential externs with a specific project in mind to
begin the process early. Applications submitted too late for committee
approvals will not be addressed.


All externs must attend a brief orientation conducted by our Human
Resources Department on the first day of the externship (generally a
Monday). Please note that veterinary externships are unpaid (volunteer)
positions and that externs are responsible for providing their own
transportation, food, and housing during their externship. We will be
happy to answer questions regarding logistics and can sometimes arrange
for externs to stay with aquarium staff or volunteers for low rates
($100-$150 per week), but this is not guaranteed. Veterinary externs are
expected to dress in the same manner as aquarium staff members. This
consists of an aquarium uniform shirt and khaki pants or shorts. Khaki
pants/shorts bottoms and closed-toed non-slip shoes are provided by the
extern. Uniform shirts or sweatshirts are generally available for loan
to externs during their stay. If appropriately sized uniform items are
not available for loan, students must purchase required items. We
require that all veterinary externs provide proof that they are
currently enrolled in an appropriate health insurance plan.

veterinarian boarded by American College of Zoological Medicine;
externs will also work with postgraduate veterinary intern.
Journals, Books, etc.
externs are expected to participate in all aspects of veterinary care
and in daily teaching and case rounds. Completion of a project with
presentation of the results to staff is also expected.
8 hrs/day, 7 days/week
Externs must provide their own housing.
Mystic Aquarium a division of Sea Research Foundation, Inc.
55 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT 06355
860-572-5955 Prefer Email Communication
Allison D. Tuttle, DVM, Diplomate ACZM
Updated: 03/31/11
Mystic, CT
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