celebrate education - brought to you by the amarillo globe-news

CEO was never tempted to give up

Rhonda Votino
Age: 46
Occupation: Zoo curator, Amarillo Zoo

Where did you receive your education?
Iowa State University; Association of Zoos and Aquariums training courses - zoo management, elephant management and zoo recordkeeping.

How has your education played a role in your life today?
Obtaining a biology degree had provided me the basics of animal knowledge I needed to get into the zookeeping profession. My degree has aided me in getting to the levels of promotion I have obtained so far in this profession.

What was your greatest educational challenge and how did you overcome it?
Getting through the testing for acceptance into vet school I found the most challenging and ultimately, I did not continue. I decided working in a zoo setting would be more of an interest for me. My desire was more to work "with" animals as opposed to work "on" animals. As the zoo curator, I get the best of both worlds.

What is the value of your education?
My educational background included classes in mammalogy, ornithology, herpetology and wildlife management. All of these courses gave me the basic knowledge to learn about the different exotic species I would encounter and work with in this job.

What would you say to someone who's undecided about continuing their education?
I would recommend they consider volunteering in some jobs where they might have interest. By doing some research one can find out what education and background would be needed to pursue a particular career. The American Association of Zookeepers and Association of Zoos and Aquariums are good sources for someone to learn about the zookeeping profession.

What made you realize the importance of education in your life?
My career interests early on in high school determined my educational path. I also volunteered at the local zoo during the summer while I was in college and gained valuable experience that guided me for developing my degree program.

2009 Stories
2008 Archive
calendar of events
  • January 11
    Kickoff of 2009 Program
    Find out what Celebrate Education is all about in this special section in your Sunday paper.
  • March 7
    Regional Spelling Bee, West Texas A&M University
    The annual Regional Spelling Bee will feature the top spellers from the Amarillo area. The top five winners will receive scholarship money ranging from $500 to $5,000 and the winner will travel to Washington, D.C., in June to represent the area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
  • Spring and Fall
    Amarillo Reads community-wide reading projects.
    Dates and details TBA
  • April
    Amarillo Education Matching Grants Program. Exact date TBA
  • April 10
    What's a Kid to Do Special Section
  • April 12
    What's a Kid to Do at the Amarillo Civic Center
    This event will focus on activities and camps for children to participate in during the summer..
  • May 8-29
    Beating the Odds
    A series of stories published daily in the Amarillo Globe-News during the graduation season that profiles people who have inspiring stories to tell about the degree they are about to receive.
  • May 12
    Ready for the Real World program at Amarillo Civic Center
    AISD juniors get training on what's going to face them in a little more than a year.
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Special Section
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Event at West Texas A&M University
  • Fall
    Discover College Day
    Fifth graders from area schools visit college campuses.
  • October 1
    Great Jobs Special Section
    Focusing on well paying jobs available in the area that people may not know about.
  • November 2
    Career Education Special Section
    Focusing on businesses and others in the community helping young people gain a career vision.
  • November
    Yes You Can Event
    Designed to help people gain information about the next level of education from GED to PhD. Date TBA.
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