Jeremy Brodt ’01 turned a youthful fascination with penguins into a 20-year career at the New England Aquarium in Boston.

Brodt, a Lebanon Valley College Biology alumnus, accepted an internship working with the penguins at the aquarium after completing his master’s program at the University of Delaware.

After his internship, Brodt transitioned into a full-time, temporary position that became permanent. Now, as the Manager of Permanent Galleries, Brodt’s responsibilities are varied and include observing animal behaviors, the caring for and feeding animals, maintaining the plumbing and filters of the exhibits, acquiring animals, as well as overseeing a team of aquarists.

“Growing up, I was always enthralled with animals, nature, and the environment,” said Brodt. “I wanted to do something in biology with that kind of focus, but I never knew what that was going to look like. I looked at smaller schools with a strong biology program. LVC was a great fit, having small classes, getting to know my professors, and being rigorous.”

Brodt built upon his strong biology base from LVC and pursued a graduate program in biology with a concentration in ecology and evolution where he focused more on animal behavior. As he began his master’s degree, he appreciated the lessons learned from an independent study completed with Dr. Paul Wolf, LVC Professor Emeritus of Biology.

“Working with another student, gathering data, and running the analysis—and overall, my whole LVC experience—prepared me well for the intensity of grad school,” Brodt said. “I honestly found grad school to be fairly easy. I felt good about managing my time, asking questions, and developing relationships with my professors.”

“Another way it prepared me was for my requirement of teaching biology labs for non-majors. Because at LVC where my professors actually taught the labs, I wanted to give that type of experience to these students and make biology fun,” he added.

As Brodt’s career at the aquarium advanced, twice received grants to travel abroad to observe animal behaviors in their native habitat and connect with other researchers. His first trip to Australia in 2009, focused on the sea dragon, helped him become an expert on leafy and weedy sea dragons. He has delivered numerous conference presentations. He also visited Curacao in 2019 to study deep-reef fish (between 300–1000 feet) that included observation from a technologically advanced mini submersible.

The intern program that first brought Brodt to the aquarium still exists, and Brodt enjoys mentoring students. “Knowing my path was pretty indirect and crooked, in terms of not really knowing what I wanted to do, I tell them, it’s ok to try different things. You can try something, and if you don’t like it, you can try something else. Be open to opportunities because you don’t know where they’re going to lead.”


Photo credit: New England Aquarium