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The Phoenix Zoo is excited to host its Teen Career Conference once again, an opportunity for teens to explore many different careers in animal science.

Through specially selected speaker panels, attendees will hear from experts in Zoology, Conservation, and Animal Husbandry working both within the Zoo and in the field. The speakers will offer insights into their career paths and advice on breaking into their respective fields.

Representatives from the Zoo and other scientific and educational institutions from around the Valley will be on hand to offer information about their programs and opportunities for teens to begin working toward their careers right now. Volunteer opportunities, camps and other programs will also be highlighted.

Also included this year are two professional skill-building workshops designed to offer participants an opportunity to begin building skills that will benefit their professional knowledge and personal growth.

Event Details


March 26, 2022




9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.




9 a.m.   |   Virtual visit with a Phoenix Zoo ambassador animal 

9:10 a.m.   |   Welcome 

9:20 a.m.   |   First speaker panel  

10:30 a.m.   |   BREAK  

10:40 a.m.   |   Second speaker panel  

11:45 a.m.   |   BREAK  

11:55 a.m.   |   Special visit with a Zoo animal  

12:05 p.m.   |   Virtual exhibit hall (bring your lunch!) 

1:05 p.m.   |   Skill-building Workshops: Job search skills clinic 

2:10 p.m.   |   Virtual Zoo tour and closing remarks 

2:30 p.m.   |   Event concludes 

 *You do not need to participate in the entire conference. You may come in and out of the Zoom meeting, attending whatever portions you wish to.

Exhibit Hall Participants

ASU College of Global Futures

Liberty Wildlife


Arizona Center for Nature Conservation – Phoenix Zoo

Arizona Game and Fish Department – Wildlife Center

Arizona State Parks


Speaker Panelists

Marisa Boyd

Marisa’s passion for birds spans over 20 years.  Her career has taken her all over the country and across the globe. She has a diverse background of experiences, including working as a field biologist, museum scientist and an academic researcher. 

She is currently a keeper with the Phoenix Zoo’s Bird Team and is involved with Asian hornbill conservation projects in Malaysia. 

Zaara Kidwai

Zaara is a Wildlife biologist and conservation ecologist by education and training. Originally from India, she has more than 12 years of professional experience in the field of Biodiversity management and conservation in three continents – Asia (India), Africa (South Africa) and North America with different Government and Non Government Organizations. She is currently working as the Landowner Relations Program Specialist in Yuma with Arizona Game and Fish Department and Pheasants Forever Inc. Zaara has a Master’s degree in Wildlife Science from India and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Environment Sciences with University of South Africa. Beyond her professional life, she’s an avid traveler and foodie and she likes country music and watching movies.

Randy Fulford

Randy Fulford is a high school science teacher in the Tolleson Union High School District whose interests include conservation and science education. Born and raised in Arizona, he spent most of his childhood visiting zoos and aquariums where he developed a fascination with animals and passion for conservation. These experiences persuaded him to attend Arizona State University and earn a degree in Conservation Biology & Ecology.  Having worked since as a high school teacher has allowed him to share those passions and to host environmental clubs and trips for his students. 

Kinley Ragan 

Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, I am a proud Phoenician who loves our wildlife community! I graduated from ASU with a BS in Conservation Biology & Ecology in 2019 and with a MS in Biology in 2020. My undergraduate thesis explored human-wildlife conflict management at 6 major national parks worldwide while my master’s thesis aimed to better understand wildlife habitat use of washes in the US-Mexico borderlands. I use camera traps and acoustic recorders to safely observe animals like mountain lion, bears, bobcat, bats, and more in their native habitat. I now work at the Phoenix Zoo as a Field Conservation Research Technician and study wildlife communities like jaguars in Arizona and Costa Rica. 

Mary Haddad

Bachelors of Science in Conservation Biology and Ecology and Bachelors of Arts in Earth, & Environmental Studies – In Progress 

Mary Haddad is an aspiring conservation biologist and ecologist with a passion for uplifting minority voices and facilitating unique and meaningful nature experiences for underrepresented youth. She works to develop outreach programming and facilitate events at the ASU Biodiversity Knowledge Integration Center, and is also a Wildlife Research Fellow with the Field Conservation Department at the Phoenix Zoo. Mary is currently working on completing majors in both Earth and Environmental Studies as well as Conservation Biology and Ecology, with the eventual goal to be involved in conservation-minded environmental research as well as diversity and inclusion outreach. 

Luis Guitierrez 

Luis Gutierrez is a PhD student at Arizona State University pursuing a degree in Biology and Society. Currently, his research focuses on the global decline in coral species and its intersection with socio-economic impacts for human populations. He is a first-generation student and has lived in the Phoenix area his entire life. Prior to graduate school, he worked at Sea Life Arizona in the education department. Additionally, he conducted research on the lack of minority student representation in environmental programs as part of his undergraduate thesis. After completing his PhD, he plans to continue researching coral to inform management and conservation efforts around the globe.