Indy Zoo

From being a Zoo Teen Naturalist to being a photographer, junior Christina Ramirez has explored a wide variety of hobbies. Each hobby Ramirez partakes in adds a different attribution to her life.

"I really enjoy these hobbies because I'm able to express myself through things many other people can enjoy," said Ramirez, "as well as bringing my imagination to real life, especially when it comes to drawing." Ramirez has been an artist from a young age, and her inspiration stems from a variety of things like dreams, imagination or artwork that Ramirez finds on the internet. With all of these sources, Ramirez has the freedom to experiment with her artwork. Drawing is something that also has an impact on Ramirez's future, at least career-wise.

"When I'm in college, my plan is to get my degree in illustration or graphic design because drawing has always been one of my favorite hobbies to do ever since I was a little kid," said Ramirez. "I've always wanted to do something that makes me truly happy when I'm older."

Apart from hobbies and school, Ramirez has found joy in volunteering at the Indianapolis zoo. To do so, Ramirez had to attend an open house to learn about the positions that were available, and then she filled out an application for a position she was interested in. Later, she came back for a group interview.

"During this interview, they wanted to see how well I acted with other people, since that would be the main part of my volunteering," said Ramirez. "After my interview was done, I was contacted a few weeks later with the exciting news that I had been chosen to become a Zoo Teen Naturalist."

Volunteering has given Ramirez many good experiences. Her favorite parts are the behind-the-scenes in areas like Oceans, Plains, the Cheetahs, the Walrus and many others.

"I have been able to learn about how animals are being taken care of," said Ramirez, "as well as the experiences and bonds the zookeepers develop while working with the animals."

Volunteering has also allowed Ramirez to meet people that have become one of her favorite parts of the job. This is because these people have an interest in educating children and adults alike about animals and the importance of helping endangered species. This amazing opportunity wouldn't have been given to Ramirez if it wasn't for her move from San Jose.

San Jose differs from Indiana in many ways, but a major difference to Ramirez is the food available in the two places.

"In California, you are able to try so many different types of food ranging from American all the way to Hawaiian," said Ramirez. "In Indiana, there's only really a limited range of food you can try." Ramirez has mixed feelings about going back to San Jose because both staying in Indiana and returning to San Jose sound equally appealing. She would stay in Indiana because of the people she met who made her feel like a part of a family.

"I wouldn't want to go back to San Jose because I have been able to meet a lot of people that have made me a part of their family," said Ramirez, "as well as a lot more opportunities while living in Indiana."

Overall, Ramirez loves doing things that not only bring her joy, but are also things others can enjoy as well. Whether it's art, baking, photography or volunteering, people have been a large part of Ramirez's life.

"I like creating things that my friends and family will all enjoy," said Ramirez. "I'm able to take pictures and create so many different memories that I can cherish and remember forever."

Story by Tiba Altower