August 9, 2020

Wild Encounters Prepared Alumna for Zoo Job

Nikki Maticic ’14 earned her stripes – and a UMW biology degree – after impactful study abroad trips to South Africa and the Galápagos Islands. She’s now an animal keeper at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Photo courtesy of Nikki Maticic.

Nikki Maticic ’14 earned her stripes – and a UMW biology degree – after impactful study abroad trips to South Africa and the Galápagos Islands. She’s now an animal keeper at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Photo courtesy of Nikki Maticic.

Cage diving with great white sharks. Swimming alongside humpback whales. Getting close to lions and leopards on an African safari.

It sounds like a nature TV show, but it’s not. It’s how Nikki Maticic ’14 spent one summer break as a Mary Washington student.

Now she cares for lions, tigers and Andean bears – oh, my! – as well as farm animals at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Her dream job as an animal keeper became a reality thanks to a UMW biology degree and study abroad trips to South Africa and the Galápagos Islands. Read more.

In celebration of International Education Week 2019, Nov. 18 to 22, UMW shares stories of students who have studied abroad. One in three Mary Washington students volunteers, interns, conducts research, or joins a faculty-led trip or other UMW-approved experience outside the United States, according to Center for International Education (CIE) Director Jose SainzVisit CIE or call (540) 654-1434 for more information.

Nikki Maticic swam with giant tortoises during her study abroad trip to the Galápagos Islands. Photo by Nikki Maticic.

Nikki Maticic swam with giant tortoises during her study abroad trip to the Galápagos Islands. Photo by Nikki Maticic.