Contacts -- people who can help you with your career goals -- serve as references, gatekeepers to jobs, and even mentors. Contacts are important in every career field, and primatology is no exception. They can provide direction, introduce you to important people, and serve as references. Contacts can provide a wealth of assistance when looking for undergraduate and graduate schools, internships, and full-time jobs.
Your first step in making contacts in the field should involve the resources -- the individuals and organizations -- immediately available to you. For example, if you have not finished high school yet, you can talk to your school's guidance counselors or science teachers and ask them for help in exploring your interest in primatology. They might be able to connect you with other individuals -- ideally professionals in the field -- who could meet with you and answer questions you might have.
If you are in college, a great place to obtain contacts is through your educational institution. Professors, teaching assistants, and other researchers in the field are great people to help you. Take the initiative to get to know these people. You do not need to take a class from these individuals; open office hours might provide an opportunity to make contact. If you are unable to identify appropriate individuals at your institution, consult your advisor or other officials who could help you locate potential contacts.
If you are no longer a student on any level, you may have to become creative in making contacts. Look for organizations in your area which work with primates. Make inquiries as to the availability of someone to meet with you and answer questions.
No matter where you are on your career path, keep in mind that professional people are also very busy with work, teaching, class, and research. Be respectful of their time, and they will respect you. When you meet them explain your interests in their field. Don't be afraid to ask them questions about the future routes you should take in reaching your goals. Above all, you should consider your efforts the first steps into a professional field where professional conduct and behavior is expected.
Not all contacts you make will develop into ongoing relationships. Some professionals may simply not have the time or motivation to help you. Once you have established contacts with individuals, try to keep in touch with them to keep them informed as to what you are doing and where your goals are heading. This way they will remain familiar with you and your career goals. If contacts are used as references, you should always inform them of what interviews you have and for what positions. This way, your contacts can provide meaningful and prepared feedback to any interested persons.
Two tools developed by the Wisconsin Primate Research Center can be useful for you in exploring the field of primatology -- for providing contact information, program goals, and identifying professionals in a career field that might interest you. These are the International Directory of Primatology and the World Directory of Primatologists. Use these Internet tools to explore career options and for establishing contacts.
To further your career you should also consider joining one of the national primate societies, such as the American Society of Primatologists, or the International Primatological Society. These societies are open to student members and to people who are considering a career change. Contact information for these societies are provided below. Attending a society meeting will give you an idea of the range of subjects primatologists study, a sense of excitement about the commitment of members to understanding and conserving endangered primates, and an opportunity to meet people who could be helpful to you in your career.
Internet Services Coordinator
WRPRC Library and Information Service
Wisconsin Primate Research Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Submit a question about Careers in Primatology
Maintained by the WRPRC Library.
Supported by NCRR Grants RR00167 and RR15311.
Last updated: May 2, 2002.
Return to Careers in Primatology
Return to PIN Home Page