Leever grew up within the Detroit space and from a younger age knew what profession path she wished to take.
“Since I can first bear in mind, I have been utterly obsessive about our oceans and their aquatic inhabitants. Almost all my time was spent watching Animal Planet and rewatching my Blue Planet: Seas of Life VHS tapes. That’s once I wasn’t roaming round an precise aquarium utterly enamored with each single creature I noticed. From day one, I knew this was the sphere I wished to be part of, and I labored arduous to make sure I might spend my life doing work I used to be keen about,” Leever mentioned.
Leever acquired her bachelor’s diploma in Alabama majoring in biology, specializing in evolution, nevertheless, she then returned to Michigan for graduate college.
“My scholar fantasy was to go to a college in an attractive and distant space of the state with a program and group I might fall in love with, and that is the place NMU got here in. After my go to to the attractive campus by the lake and assembly all of the fantastic individuals within the biology division, I knew that NMU was the proper place for me,” Leever mentioned.
Leever graduated in the summertime of 2021 from NMU with a Grasp’s of science and is now at the moment residing out her childhood dream as a biologist on the Golden Nugget On line casino and Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“I began this job a mere two weeks after formally graduating from NMU after looking out on-line for jobs within the marine aquarium trade. I found that a number of resorts in Vegas housed massive aquariums, and was completely amazed by the Golden Nugget’s amenities. Particularly after seeing movies of individuals taking place the waterslide that passes by means of the within of their shark tank, which you’ll wade proper as much as of their pool,” Leever mentioned.
Not too many roles require you to swim day by day amongst sharks. Leever’s does.
“We begin our work routine early within the morning by checking in on all our aquatic inhabitants to make sure everyone seems to be their ordinary comfortable and wholesome selves. After that the employees divides and conquers to do in depth water testing of every tank, getting ready scrumptious meals for the animals, and sustaining all our life assist methods,” Leever defined. “Most of our day is spent within the water cleansing the enclosures, finishing exhibit upkeep, feeding and observing the animals, and fascinating in behavioral coaching workouts with sure animals. Whereas some duties are day by day staples, now we have to be prepared for fixed and sudden adjustments.”
Leever works with over 90 species represented between their shark tank and tropical reef tank totaling over 600 particular person animals
“The species of sharks embrace sand tiger sharks, blacktip reef sharks, the zebra shark, a nurse shark, and three southern rays (cousins of sharks). These species all coexist within the bigger tank with a number of species of enormous fish, corresponding to the large trevally and crevalle jack, each of that are most well-known for being big-game sport fish. The one exception is Jett, considered one of our rays. She lives within the tropical reef tank with the lots of of smaller tropical fish and our inexperienced moray eel. Jett spends most of her time being her loopy energetic self her, actively swimming across the tank like she’s one of many fish. She could be fairly sassy at supper time; typically after we give her one thing she would not desire, she’ll swim straight up over us and spit out her meals again in our lap! Equally to deal with pets, studying the personalities and meals preferences of our animals is a part of constructing a relationship with them and sustaining correct care.”
For security, Leever wears chainmail sleeves over her wetsuit together with typical scuba gear to enter the water with the sharks.
“Nobody has ever been bitten, and nobody is apprehensive about it both, however it’s all the time greatest to be protected! The tooth of sand tiger sharks are partially exterior of their mouths, so as a result of we work in such shut proximity it is essential to ensure you’d be protected in case one by chance ran into you, “ Leever mentioned.
Leever mentioned probably the most rewarding a part of her job is unquestionably seeing the fruits of their analysis and labor mirrored within the wholesome and enriched lives of the animals.
“I’ve come to study all of the totally different personalities of our sharks, rays, and fish alike, and seeing them work together with their tank mates and with the employees is all the time thrilling. One other extremely rewarding facet of this job is seeing the amazement and pleasure of our visitors as they observe our animals, gaining new views and appreciation for creatures they could by no means have in any other case been capable of expertise up shut. I hear on a regular basis from each visitors and workers in different departments about how shocked they’re seeing us diving within the tank and spending time amongst these species. What’s rewarding is listening to about the way it makes them second guess what they’d considered shark habits, since everyone knows sharks have gotten some unfairly unhealthy PR over time.”
Leever defined that most individuals will not be conscious of how the aquarium is concerned in conservation.
“Golden Nugget Las Vegas, specifically, is taking part in analysis for species survival plans. For instance, our feminine zebra shark is a part of an ongoing initiative to revive wild populations which might be at a susceptible degree of their native vary. All the worthwhile data that may be recorded when you’ve got animals in wonderful human care can contribute to scientific breakthroughs, which might in any other case be curbed by the issue of accumulating such particular knowledge in huge oceans. Not solely are aquariums an essential instructional asset for the general public, however they’re simply as a lot of an academic asset to scientific analysis, in conservation and past,” Lever acknowledged.
Being a lady in a STEM profession, Leever is a big cheerleader for extra women to comply with in her footsteps.
“The variety of younger ladies getting into the STEM workforce will get larger yearly, which I completely like to see. My greatest recommendation to children who need to discover their place within the aggressive science world is to get expertise wherever you could find it. Having a fantastic training is tremendous essential in STEM, however expertise could be equally essential and probably set you forward of the pack. I like to recommend taking part in each analysis alternative you come throughout and discovering organizations or occasions the place you possibly can volunteer. Combining my training within the sciences and my expertise amassed by volunteering in analysis and training, I used to be capable of get a job I had dreamed about for many years right here on the Golden Nugget.”