December 13, 2018

Denver Zoo Celebrates Advanced Inquiry Program Graduation

Denver Zoo's Advanced Inquiry Program Offers a Unique Opportunity for Working Professionals to Earn a Master's Degree While Studying in the Zoo's Conservation Setting

By Molly Maloy, Graduate Programs Manager

On Sunday, December 2nd, Denver Zoo witnessed some very special birds leaving the nest. No, these weren’t actual birds, but they were just as important to us. These “birds” were the latest graduating class of the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP), a Master’s program that Denver Zoo offers with our partner, Miami University of Ohio.

Denver Zoo hosted a graduation ceremony and celebration to commemorate the achievements of the 25 graduate students that were a part of this program. Their work has inspired community engagement in nature play, ocean conservation, pollinators, and climate change. Through their leadership they are building the capacity of communities to connect to the outdoors and science, inspiring lifelong advocates for the environment. Some of them have even changed their careers and gone as far as creating their own mission-based non-profits. Individually, they all should be so proud of their personal accomplishments, but if you look at it from a collective impact, all of their work is making a profound difference in this world--forever. These adults are truly exemplify Denver Zoo's mission.

Regardless of how these adults focused their work throughout this program, they are all different today than when they started the program 2.5 years ago. They are more confident in their knowledge about conservation research, education best practices, and how to engage communities in dialogue about serious issues. Their attitude about how conservation is defined is more complex and they are able to see and understand all sides of the conservation story. They care more now because they have a stronger purpose as to what their place is in the conservation story and where they can make an impact in our world.

Denver Zoo is also different as a result of these students who completed this program. They are living our mission and helping to share our work and efforts with new audiences and communities. We don’t see them as leaving this program and leaving Denver Zoo--they are forever a part of us. They are a part of an elite group of adults that not only changed their own lives, but changed the lives of their students, coworkers, neighborhoods, and communities and that includes our zoo community. We know they will continue to produce amazing work on behalf of wildlife.  This isn’t goodbye, this is just… what’s next?

About the AIP Program

Denver Zoo has joined an extraordinary national partnership to offer this unique academic opportunity for working professionals to earn a Master's degree from Miami University while studying in the zoo's conservation setting. AIP is based on the principle that education should extend beyond the classroom, and that students should make a difference--not just after graduation, but now, as a basic function of education itself. AIP Master's students practice the skills of investigation, critical reflection, leadership, and collaboration required to effectively address vital issues. AIP Master's candidates use inquiry and the power of investigation not only as a tool for integrated learning, but as a powerful agent for student achievement, public engagement in science, and ecological stewardship.

Applications are open to apply for the 2019 AIP enrollment. Learn more and apply for this life-changing program today!


Be among the first to hear the latest animal updates, important stories and details about all the fun happening around Denver Zoo.


  • April 15, 2024

    Good Luck, Chuck!

    Good Luck, Chuck! Beloved Bachelor Relocating as Part of Asian Elephant Species Survival Plan In a heartfelt and collaborative…

  • April 15, 2024

    African Impact

    African Impact Two New African Field Conservation ProgramsAim to Protect Gorillas + Grey Crowned Cranes We're honored to provide…

  • March 1, 2024

    Last Place(s) on Earth

    Last Place(s) on Earth New Asian Field Conservation Programs Protect Asian Elephants, Sumatran Orangutans + more Indonesia's Leuser Ecosystem…