Melanie Bracco ‘15

MelBracco1Melanie Bracco studied telecommunications at Bowling Green State University, but today she is an animal welfare specialist at Coral World Ocean Park in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The public speaking, problem-solving and community service skills she learned while at BGSU helped her navigate her career path. 

Bracco came to BGSU because “it felt like home as soon as I got there,” she said.

She was co-host of the radio show “The Afternoon Run” and received a radio talent scholarship, which helped boost her confidence as well as provide financial support. When she received the scholarship, it “meant the world to her”, she said, especially as she had struggled academically in high school.

Bracco also started volunteering at the Wood County Humane Society and worked with them to create an internship focusing on social media and photography to help get animals adopted. She started working in a more hands-on capacity, which inspired her to think about how she could combine her love of animals with her media skills. This led to her job as a dolphin and sea lion photographer at the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys after graduation.

She has been at the Coral World Ocean Park for four years, first as an intern and now as an animal welfare specialist caring for five South American sea lions. She is the primary staff working with Rose, a 19-year-old sea lion who had traveled the country in fairs and retired at Coral World, and also works with sea lions Fred, Remo, Romulo and Omar, some of whom were rescued from being culled in Uruguay.

Bracco’s work includes feeding and caring for the animals, as well as leading animal encounter programs.

“I feel really fortunate that I get to talk about ocean conservation every day,” she said.

Bracco uses skills she learned at BGSU, including collaboration, public speaking and communication.

She’s not as far from Bowling Green as one would think by looking at a map – she’s worked with six interns from BGSU during her four years at Coral World. She visited campus last summer and said, “It still felt like home.”

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Updated: 11/22/2022 01:54PM