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Lana Vanagasem ’01, supervisor of penguins at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium

Posted: Mar 28, 2013


Lana Vanagasem, biological sciences alumna, interacts with marine life as part of her work at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium.

When NBC Chicago asked for a penguin expert to appear on the morning news show in March 2013, Lana Vanagasem ’01 gladly accepted the assignment. When she appeared with a Magellanic penguin, her enthusiasm for her work kept the penguin from upstaging her.

“Working with marine mammals is a competitive field,” says Lana, a biological sciences alumna of Olivet. Currently, she is the assistant supervisor of penguins and otters at the John G. Shedd Aquarium on the lakefront in Chicago.

“Many times, you have to do unpaid internships or volunteer work to get the animal experience needed to get a job,” she adds. Lana spent at least two years working her way into a full-time, permanent position in her field.

“It definitely takes perseverance and sacrifice. I feel very blessed to have a job that I love.”


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