Dolphin Trainer

submitted 2013

Brinna Robertson-More has a passion for her work. At first glance, the reason would seem obvious. The Augustana graduate is currently working as a dolphin trainer in Bermuda. As post-graduate work goes, it's hard to imagine a more appealing job description.

However, the reasons she gives for loving her work are not quite what one might expect. While Brinna is happy to talk about life in a tropical paradise, it's the job itself that really excites her.

"You never have the same day twice," she enthuses. "Every day we're working, not just with the dolphins, but with the visitors and guests as well, sharing our passions for the work that we do."

For Brinna, there is a direct link between her studies at Augustana, where she completed a degree in psychology, and her current work. "The experiential learning at Augustana is still continuing for me here."

As she says, "when we're training new behaviours, like teaching the dolphins how to high five, it takes a lot of patience. Positive reinforcement is also important. Really, everything I learned in Psych 101 comes into play."

"Of course we take it much further as well," she continues. "A lot of the specific skills come on the job.  Animal training and husbandry requires you to connect very different topics, particularly with dolphins. You have to watch the social situation between the animals, watch their behaviour, and react on the spot. It's up-tempo work, with constant challenges. It's lots of fun!"

It follows that her biggest piece of advice to current Augustana students is to really savour the moment. "Don't take your time at university for granted. The opportunity to learn about so many different topics, and to try and tie them together really provides a foundation for everything in the future. Enjoy it, and once it's over look for ways to apply those abilities elsewhere."

Her advice for those about to graduate? "Find your passion, and pursue it. That's what you're going to enjoy in life, and that's what's going to motivate you to do it well."