A lionhearted educator

CBS undergraduate Ana Suson draws on her passion for animals to prepare for a career in conservation education. 

“You may just be teaching the next Jane Goodall."

Ana Suson’s interest in animals goes way back. Starting when she was just a few months old, Suson and her family made frequent trips to the Milwaukee Zoo. She started attending summer camp at the zoo at six years old and recalls sharing animal facts with her family. While some of her childhood observations were less accurate than others (thinking a rhinoceros is a species of dog, for example), Suson’s desire to continue learning about and interacting with animals was.
“I’ve always wanted to work with and for animals in some way,” says Suson. “I really like exotic animals, in particular.”
Ana with a lion cub
With a particular interest in exotic animals, Suson has traveled near and far to work with some of the world’s more intriguing critters. She has ventured to Hawaii, the Florida Keys, New Zealand and, most recently, at the Felidae Centre in South Africa, where she helped feed and raise animals such as lions, cheetahs and caracals saved from canned hunting facilities.
She has also worked and interned at the Milwaukee Zoo to expand her knowledge of conservation and work with animals.  
“I’ve always loved big cats and wanted to do something with them, so working side by side with them at the Felidae Centre was amazing,” says Suson. “But working as an intern at the Milwaukee Zoo was really pivotal for me. Through some career development and goal setting I did throughout the internship, I realized that conservation education is what I really want to do.”
Ana at her internship
When she graduates, Suson hopes to work for a zoo or aquarium in conservation and animal education. She was also recently admitted to the DirecTrack to education program at the U of M to get her teaching license and also have the ability to teach at the high school level. With an eye to inspiring the next generation, “You may just be teaching the next Jane Goodall,” says Suson. 
                                                                                                             – Lance Janssen