Meet the Section Chief, Medicine: Caryn P. Poll, DVM, at John G. Shedd Aquarium

Caryn P. Poll, Section Chief, Medicine, at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Copyright John G. Shedd Aquarium.

Describe your job: I am a veterinarian covering preventive, urgent and emergent care for the large and diverse collection of resident and quarantine animals as well as communicating diagnostic plans and results with the animal care, management and curatorial staff.

How long have you been in the position? 7 years

What in your background helped you get the job? 15+ years in marine biological research prior to attending veterinary school. Lots of volunteer experience from various zoos and aquariums (internships, preceptorship, externships, unpaid positions, etc.). A fascination with all things aquatic from a young age and a passionate motivation to work with aquatics for a living.

What’s your favorite thing about job? In addition to the great people I have the privilege to work with every day, I can honestly say I learn something new every day I’m at work. It keeps me challenged and engaged. I love the fact that we are adding to the growing body of knowledge about these fascinating animals every day we work with them.

Describe a favorite memory/experience in your current position: There are lots to choose from. From a veterinary perspective there are cases that always remain dear to me, such as a California moray eel that we successfully treated for stomach cancer which is still thriving today on exhibit, so many years later. However, I also take great pride in the veterinary preceptorship program, especially when former Shedd preceptors go on to succeed in the zoo and aquarium field. I consider sharing our knowledge with and teaching the next generation to be a high priority for us in this field.

Do you have a favorite animal? Why is it your favorite? I often get asked that question and it’s a tough one to answer. I have so many “favorites” from batstars to seahorses to the always personable marine mammals. However if I had to choose a favorite, it would be the giant Pacific octopus. There is a level of problem solving and intelligence in cephalopods that I think is underestimated by most people. Plus there’s just an inherent coolness factor, in addition to grace and power, with this sizeable invertebrate!

Tim Lewthwaite

This entry was posted in Animal Health, Aquarium, Education, People, Profiles, Research, Shedd Aquarium. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Meet the Section Chief, Medicine: Caryn P. Poll, DVM, at John G. Shedd Aquarium

  1. Barbara Matuch says:

    Great interview! Caryn is a prime example of the dedication and thirst for knowledge among zoo vets!

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