ADVANCED INQUIRY PROGRAM
The Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) is a phenomenal opportunity to really delve into the world of conservation and get an up-close and personal view of the great work that is being done by Denver Zoo and other conservation efforts around the United States and the World. It was a stroke of luck for me to discover the Advanced Inquiry Program. I have been a lifelong lover of animals. As a gift, my husband got me a behind the scenes tour of the San Diego Zoo. I was so inspired, so in love with the notion of conservation, that when I returned to Denver, I logged onto the Denver Zoo website and read about the Advanced Inquiry Program. I applied the next day.
I already had a graduate degree and have worked in higher education for 10 years, mostly in graduate medical education. The AIP is my opportunity to combine my personal passion for the welfare of animals with an education in conservation. The desired proverbial offspring will hopefully give me the specific knowledge, tools and strategy to launch a conservation effort that will change the world. (Well, maybe not change the world, but a girl can aim high can’t she?)
The program has already made a difference in my life personally and professionally. Personally, I am able to better speak about wildlife and conservation issues to people. Rather than just saying, “I want to help animals,” I can specifically talk about issues in conservation and develop reasonably practical action plans to make a difference in a particular conservation effort. It has also empowered me to know that I can make a difference, even if it is just talking about the program! Professionally, it has helped me think about how curriculum and evaluation can better be delivered to the public. I am used to working in an academic setting, so my audience has always been people who want to (and often have paid) to learn. AIP has challenged me to address perspectives that I may not consider on a routine basis.
One of the best things about AIP is that you can make what you want of it. My cohort of classmates comes from various backgrounds, ages and professions, united by an interest in conservation. Each class has added to our knowledge base, but has given us each the individual freedom to pursue our own path of inquiry and research the topics that pique our interest. Plus, you get to meet a lot of folks from behind the scenes, have up-close encounters with animals and learn insider information as to what makes Denver Zoo work. Even with just a little effort, the AIP rewards you with a wealth of knowledge and experiences. I have found that the more I contribute, that the return on my investment has been exponential.