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Working Dog Community Classes

Interships, Externships & Fellowships


We offer a variety of options to become more deeply involved with the Working Dog Center, including internships, externships, apprenticeships, fellowships, and veteran fellowships.

The Internship Experience

barrie-solomon-wdc-internOur internship program is designed for students with a serious interest in working dogs. 

Penn Vet Working Dog Center Interns gain practical experience while helping us achieve our mission of developing a detection dog breeding/training program that will implement, test, and disseminate the knowledge gained.

Student Internships

The Penn Vet Working Dog Center serves as a national research and training center for detection dogs.  They are trained to find victims of disasters, detect explosives and drugs, apprehend criminals, and conduct search & rescue missions.  Some dogs are even trained in medical detection, including cancer and infection. Penn Vet Working Dog Center makes a difference in our national security and medical research. These dogs literally save lives!

The Penn Vet Working Dog Center is excited to offer internships to college students seeking academic credit within the guidelines of their academic institution. Please note, this is an unpaid internship.  

Internships are available in, but not exclusive to, the areas of dog training, behavioral science, psychology, law enforcement, bio-med, research, database management, and non-profit management. Externships are available in veterinary medicine.  An emphasis on research is integral to each of these areas. Our internship program is designed for students with a serious interest in working dogs to gain practical experience while helping the Penn Vet Working Dog Center achieve their mission of developing a detection dog breeding and training program that will implement, test, and disseminate the knowledge gained. 

The Penn Vet Working Dog Center is located at: Pennovation Works (South Bank Campus), 3401 Grays Ferry Avenue, Building 6179, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19146.  

Housing and transportation are the responsibility of the student.  

Internships are available during the school year (intersession) and over the summer.

What you can expect: 

  • Daily hands-on interaction with working dogs in training 
  • Opportunity to learn about dog training and scientific research
  • Daily guidance from trainers and veterinary staff when available
  • Help maintain the well-being of our dogs and their training environment 
  • Some internship positions may require rigorous activity 

Intersession Interns

Requirements

  • 12 week commitment (minimum)
  • Minimum 12 hours per week: 2 days per week, 6 hours per day OR 3 days per week, 5 hours per day
  • Unpaid position
  • Completion of project/research summary (if required by your institution)
  • 18+ years of age
  • Attendance and punctuality 
  • Adherence to dress code: long pants, closed-toed shoes, long-sleeve shirt, work gloves, treat bag, clicker 
  • Flexibility and willingness to learn 
  • COVID vaccination required
  • Weekly COVID testing, even if vaccinated, may continue to be required.


Application Deadline
Intersession Internships – rolling admission

Application Process
Email your resume, cover letter, availability, and one letter of reference to Ruth Desiderio, Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator at pvwdcoutreach@vet.upenn.edu. For additional information call Mrs. Desiderio at 215-898-2200.


Summer Interns

Requirements

  • June 1 – August 15; application deadline is mid-March
  • 9:00am – 4:00pm, Monday thru Friday
  • Unpaid position
  • Completion of project/research summary (if required by your institution)
  • 18+ years of age
  • Attendance and punctuality 
  • Adherence to dress code: long pants, closed-toed shoes, long-sleeve shirt, work gloves, treat bag, clicker 
  • Flexibility and willingness to learn 
  • COVID vaccination required
  • Weekly COVID testing, even if vaccinated, may continue to be required.

Application Deadline
2021 application closed. 2022 application will be announced in Fall 2021.

Application Process
Contact Ruth Desiderio, Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator at pvwdcoutreach@vet.upenn.edu or by calling 215-898-2200.



Veterinary Student Externships

  • The Externship rotation for veterinary students is Monday thru Friday. We are open from 7 am to 7 pm so students can plan on spending between 8 and 10 hours a day at the Center.
  • All aspects of working dog medicine including nutrition, behavior, training, dentistry, sports medicine, conditioning, disaster response, reproduction, emergency first aid, preventive medicine and genetics will be addressed.
  • There is both a research and practical component to this externship.
  • Students in their clinical year are welcome to apply for a two-to-four-week rotation at the center. We accept summer interns as well. Housing is not provided. No stipend is provided.
  • Interested? Please complete the Penn Vet Externship application...

Requirements and Information

  • Students must provide a letter indicating current vet school enrollment, have an adequate rabies titer, health insurance and liability insurance.
  • The WDC does not provide housing and we do not handle visas.
  • We accept students only from AVMA accredited schools.

How to Apply



Ovarian Cancer Detection Veterinary Student Internship

This summer research internship at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center is funded by the Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness Organization (OCSA). This is a paid summer internship for a first- or second-year veterinary student who is interested in learning more about medical detection and the role of detection dogs. The selected intern will be immersed in ovarian cancer detection research and gain hands on experience with our scent detection canines. There is a focus on study execution, data acquisition, data analysis and writing. 

Requirements

  • First- or second-year veterinary student
  • Comprehensive understanding of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center’s medical detection program and ovarian detection research
  • Attention to detail and ability to work well with others are essential
  • Dog handling experience is helpful but not necessary
  • Writing experience helpful, but not required
  • Internship runs from mid-May to mid-August; hours are Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
  • While the core elements of this internship are on-site at the PVWDC, there are components that can and will need to be done remotely

How to Apply

Deadline: March 12, 2021, 4 pm (EST)

  • Email your cover letter, resume, and one letter of recommendation together in one email to our Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at pvwdcoutreach@vet.upenn.edu. Separate emails will not be considered.
  • Select applicants will be contacted for an interview.
  • One stipend is available for this position.

Veteran Fellowship

We appreciate the men and women who have served our country and recognize the special contributions that American soldiers make to the future generation of working dogs being training at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center.

We have partnered with organizations on campus to provide opportunities for Veterans wishing to continue to serve at home.