My name is Crystal Anderson and I am the Assistant Curator of Dolphins. I am from Bedford, Indiana. I went to Franklin College to play soccer and obtained my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology.
Caring for animals was my career goal and while in College I interned at a facility in the Florida Keys called Dolphins Plus. That internship confirmed my passion for marine mammals and led me to an internship at Sea Life Park in Hawaii, John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, and the Marine Mammal Conservancy in the Florida Keys. I went back to Dolphins Plus for another internship and near the end I was hired as a Dolphin Trainer. After five years of working at Dolphins Plus I got a job at Coral World working on the Sea Lion team, however, I decided shortly after I got here that I wanted to further my education at Western Illinois University. There I got a Post Bachelors certificate in Zoo & Aquarium studies. I went back to Dolphins Plus and was able to be promoted to Assistant Director of Training. After two years I moved on to work with a variety of marine mammal species at Gulf World and then I moved to Atlanta and worked on the Mammals and Birds team at the Georgia Aquarium. And well now here I am at Coral World for a once and lifetime opportunity to manage a brand-new dolphin program as the Assistant Curator of Dolphins.
I have two favorite parts of my job. Working with the animals and teaching new trainers. I love watching both animals and trainers succeed.
What is the grossest thing you’ve had to do? Honestly, nothing. An animal care takers job is not glamorous at all. You just do what you need to do for the health and well-being of the animals no matter what it is.
What is your favorite animal at the park and why? Well, since we are in the process of getting dolphins, currently my favorite animal is a puffer fish that the dolphin team has named Puff Daddy. He has a coral home in the dolphin habitat. We dive the habitat every day to ensure that the it is free of marine debris. Every dive I look forward to seeing him.
What would you tell someone who wants to work in the field? I would tell them to just keep working towards their goals. Get a degree that is related to their career goal and volunteer and intern as much as they can. Networking is important. Internships can get your foot in the door. They are working interviews so make sure you make a good impression. I would also tell them that you do not just play with animals like most people think. Our jobs involve long hours, working on all holidays and not a big paycheck. Animal care is a job that we do because we are passionate and care about conservation and all ecosystems and the animals that inhabit them.
If you could meet any superhero in real life, who would it be and why? I have already met my real-life super heroes. My grandparents. Without their love and support I would not have been able to achieve my career goals.