Meet Future Trainer, Elijah Ozbat!
Hi, guys! Kyle here! I receive dozens of e-mails a day from people aspiring to become marine mammal trainers. Elijah e-mailed me and made an impression. Not only was his writing and grammar impeccable, but I could tell this guy was smart! He agreed to share the findings and research from his school project on marine mammal training and care. You guys, you need to read his stuff. It is good. If he wants to, this guy will work with marine mammals one day!
Introduction and Explanation
My name is Elijah Ozbat, and like the rest of you viewers, I am an aspiring marine animal trainer. I am 14 years old and I am a freshman in high school. Recently I contacted Kyle via email and he asked me if I wanted to write articles pertaining to marine animal training. I was very excited by this and I said yes. The type of articles I will be doing will involve an in-depth look at operant conditioning (a very important aspect of marine animal training), my opinions about SeaWorld/ Blackfish, and other topics. But before I start with that, I need to explain how I got to this point.
The year was 2000. Ok, I’m not going back that far. I had always been a science geek, and I always will be. I was interested in topics like volcanology, meteorology, and astronomy. I wanted to do something related to those topics, and these were my biggest interests in grades 6-9. When I was in fourth grade, I was able to do a project on whatever topic I wanted to do it on. I chose another lasting interest of mine: aviation. It was after that that I thought I had discovered what my occupation would be: an aeronautical engineer (one who designs and constructs aircraft). I was looking forward to my future.
The spring of 2012 was the most tragic period of my life. My brother, CPT Jesse Ozbat was serving in the U.S. Army. In late 2011 he was deployed to Afghanistan, a very dangerous place to be deployed as a soldier. On the fateful day of May 20, 2012, he and another soldier in his unit were leaving an Afghan camp, and they were KIA by a suicide bomber. Nothing tore up my family like that event. We had to deal with the painful loss. I had to miss a week of school so I could grieve with my family. We had to plan for his funeral. My mom and dad were so bitter with each other that they were on the verge of divorce. Luckily, they stuck with it, and so did I. For some reason, I never let my grades get affected or my dreams get affected. I never entered depression. I was able to focus on continuing on with my life, while always holding my brother in memory.
The summer of 2013 was what turned the course of my life. My family and I went to Atlanta, Georgia for our vacation. We went to Georgia Aquarium, and it was cool to see all of the exotic animals they had. However, it was the dolphin show that changed my life. I wasn’t as focused on the theatrical display as I was on how the trainers were interacting with the dolphins. It intrigued me, and I felt a warmth in my heart that I never felt before. I think that for that one moment, I was experiencing true happiness and content. I didn’t immediately realize that I wanted to be a marine animal trainer, but after a few weeks, I decided that would be my ultimate goal, and I haven’t looked back since.
The purpose of my articles will be to explain various aspects of marine animal training and to teach you the knowledge you will need to know to become a marine animal trainer. How did I get here? Well, this year I am taking a class called Independent Study. It is a special class that allows you to research a topic of your choice and do a project to present your information. I decided to do aquariums and marine animal training. One of the unique aspects of this class is that you get to have a mentor in your field of interest. One isn’t just handed to you though. You must put yourself out there and find a mentor yourself. That is why I contacted Kyle; so I could get advice from a former trainer on how to get a current trainer to be my mentor (I am still currently in the process of searching for one). I sent an email explaining myself to him. In his response, he asked me if I wanted to write articles for this site. I agreed to it and here I am. I hope to teach you guys a lot of things with my articles, and I am joyful that I can help and identify with aspiring marine animal trainers like me. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and click the link below to view my very first article explaining operant conditioning!