Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Scientist Spotlight: Juan Rodriguez, Curator and Biologist


Meet Juan Rodriguez, a curator and supervisory biologist of carnivores of Asia and South America at the Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute. In this video, Juan shares what he loves about his job, including being able to help save species from extinction. He describes how he got into this career by accident: He started off as a technician at a veterinary hospital, but then volunteered at the National Zoo and took advantage of opportunities there. His advice for students: Explore what interests you and find a volunteer program or internship in that area. Don’t be a specialist like the giant panda, which only eats one type of food. Keep several options on your career menu.

  • This video is an extension activity for the museum's Animal Adaptations school program for Grades K-2.
  • Learn more about Juan Rodriguez and some of the animals he works with in the "Smithsonian Science How" video, Clouded Leopard Virtual Tour.

About Scientist Spotlight

The videos in this series highlight personal stories of science experts at the museum, including how they became interested in science and what challenges they have overcome. The experts also offer advice for students who may be interested in pursuing a science career.

These videos aim to:

  • Help students build more personal connections to science careers
  • Help students build positive attitudes in science
  • Help students experience the topic as meaningful

See all Scientist Spotlight videos.

Resource Type
Videos and Webcasts
Grade Level
K-2, 3-5
Careers, Life Science