The Class of 2013

In addition to the thousands of animals that pass through the Wildlife Center’s doors each year, the Wildlife Center also welcomes dozens of wildlife rehabilitation externship students. These students come from all over the world to complete an eight- to twelve-week volunteer externship at the Center. The Wildlife Center gains many sets of hands — energetic, enthusiastic students who assist with the hundreds of patients that are being treated at the Center at any given time. The externs gain in-depth, hands-on experience in the field of wildlife rehabilitation — and a chance to “test run” a career in the field.

A large amount of the students’ time is spent hand-feeding a wide variety of orphaned animals and monitoring their progress. Other duties include learning about animal husbandry, nutrition, capture and restraint methods for various species, wildlife laws, and release criteria. This year, many are getting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rehabilitate bear cubs!

By the time the summer is over, 20 externship students will have passed through the doors for the season. These students' start dates are typically staggered every two weeks. While some students have just finished their eight weeks with us, others are only beginning their externship, or have yet to start! Check back later this summer for information on future students and links to blog posts by the students.


Name: Anton 
Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC
College: University of North Carolina Greensboro
Degree in: Biology, concentration in Environmental Biology
Favorite Task: Capture and restraint of raptors
Most Excited to learn: Methods of Wildlife Rehabilitation to contribute to the ecology and conservation of the environment.
Favorite Experience: "Having the opportunity to handle a Snapping Turtle. It felt like I was hugging a Dinosaur."
Read Anton's blog post here.



Name: Amy
Hometown:  Cambridge, Ontario
College: University of Guelph
Degree in:  Honours Biological Science
Known for: Being a "fawn whisperer"; Being a Canadian and saying "eh" a lot
Read Amy's blog post here



Name:Caroline Driscoll
Hometown: Newberry, FL
College: University of South Carolina
Degree in: Biological Science
Favorite animals to work with: Black Bear cubs, Eastern Screech Owls, Jaz, and Buttercup
Read Caroline's blog post here.


Name: Casey Gill
Hometown: Cranberry Township, PA
College: Virginia Tech
Degree in: Biological Science
Best Experience: Releasing Eastern Screech-Owl 2545 in Blacksburg!
Read Casey's blog post here.




Name: Corey
Hometown: Manassas Park, VA
College: James Madison University
Studying: Biology
Favorite animal to work with:  Bald Eagles
Other WCV work:  Outreach docent/tour leader volunteer



Name: Danika Vargo
Hometown: Marine City, MI
College:Grand Valley State University 
Studying: Biology
Favorite Task: Raptor handling and going beyond my comfort level working with some of the larger raptors. Any fear was soon replaced by excitement of holding such powerful animals.
Read Danika's blog post here. 


Name: Elisha
Hometown: Auburn, AL
College: Howard University
Degree in: BS in Biology, second-year student at the Tuskegee College of Veterinary Medicine
Favorite task:  Catching raptors
Read Elisha's blog post here.


Name: Emily
Hometown: Charlottesville, VA
College: Virginia Tech
Studying: Biological Sciences and Animal & Poultry Sciences
Favorite task: Feeding the bears!
Read Emily's blog post here.

Name: Emily S.
Hometown: Penn Laird, VA
College: James Madison University
Degree in: Biology, concentration in Ecology and Environmental Biology
Favorite animal: Screech Owls
Favorite task: Feeding young songbirds
Read Emily's blog post here.


Name:  Gabi 
Hometown:  Lynchburg, Virginia
College: James Madison University
Studying: Geographic Science, minor in Environmental Conservation, Sustainability, and Development
Favorite animal to work with at the Center:  Screech-owls
Read Gabi's blog post here.


Name: Halia
Hometown: Fontana, CA
College: Diablo Valley College
Degree in: Environmental Science
Most excited to learn: Everything about the species native to the East Coast!
Read Halia's blog post here.


Name: Jennifer C.
Hometown: Mechanicsville, MD
College: University of Maryland
Degree in: Environmental Science & Policy, concentration in Wildlife Ecology and Management
Favorite Task: Cleaning the bear pens. "I look forward to watching them play in the stream of water from the hose as I fill up their water tub; and also discovering the fresh molasses and peanut butter placed throughout their enclosure. The cubs are so charismatic. Being able to watch them grow has been truly amazing."
Read Jen C's blog post here.


Name: Jennifer R.
Hometown: Grimstead, VA
College: James Madison University
Degree in: Biology
Favorite task: Feeding baby squirrels. It's an art!
Read Jennifer's blog post here.


Name:  Jessica
Hometown: Batavia, NY
College: SUNY Oswego
Degree in: Zoology,  minor in Public Justice
Claim to fame: Catching a Turkey Vulture, on camera, without getting thrown up on!
Read Jessica's blog post here. 



Name: Jessie Kemper
Hometown: Royersford, PA
Collage: Ursinus College
Degree: Environmental Studies, minor in Sociology
Favorite Task:  Raptor exercise
Read Jessie's blog post here.


Name: Jon Honchul
Hometown: Ketchikan, AK
College: Lees-McRae College
Degree: Biology, concentration in Wildlife Rehabilitation 
Favorite Animal: Jaz, the education American Crow


Name:  Jordan
Hometown: Weyers Cave, VA
College: Virginia Tech
Studying: Natural Resource Conservation, minors in Forestry & Urban Forestry
Favorite task: Anything do to do with the black bear cubs -- "I just love being around them, even if they're hard to handle!"
Read Jordan's blog post here.

Name:  Katie
Hometown:  Weyers Cave, VA
College: Bridgewater College
Degree in: Biology, minor in Psychology 
Favorite task: Working with the young mammals in ICU (opossums, cottontails)
Read Katie's blog post here


Name: Maggie Chaing
Hometown: Alexandria, VA
College: University of Virginia
Degree: Biology
Favorite Task: Hand feeding hungry baby squirrels and capturing and restraining raptors.
Read Maggie's blog post here.



Name: Maggie Lind
Hometown: Moscow, ID
College: Western Washington University
Degree: Biology
Read Maggie's blog post here.


Name:  Molly 
Hometown: Waynesboro, VA
College: College of William and Mary
Degree in: Chemistry 
Favorite animal to work with: Barn Owls
Favorite task: Exercising the raptors
Read Molly's blog post here.


Name: Monica
Hometown: Arlington, VA
College:  Virginia Tech
Degree/Studying:  BS in Biology, currently a first-year vet student at VMRCVM
Most excited to learn:  Capture and restraint techniques
Read Monica's blog post here.


Name:  Piero
Hometown: Madison, NJ
College: University of Rhode Island
Degree in: Marine Biology
Favorite task: Giving subcutaneous fluids to patients -- "definitely the most difficult/pain-staking task, but a very useful skill to master"
Known as: "Bear Master" (Piero has starred in most of our GoPro bear videos)
Read Piero's blog post here.

Name:  Rebecca
Hometown: Madison, AL
College: Auburn University
Studying: Wildlife Ecology and Management
Favorite animal to work with: opossums
Read Becca's blog post here.


Name: Suzanne 
Hometown: Newport News, VA
College: Virginia Tech
Degree in: Biology
Favorite Task: “Pick-up and exercise" of raptors. "It was amazing to see all of the progress made by the patient raptors to get to the point of being able to exercise which was the final step of the healing process! Of all of the raptors at the facility, the barn owls were the greatest to exercise because they had the ability to hover."
Read Susie's blog post here.

Name: Tawni 
Hometown: Waukesha, WI
College: University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Degree in: Biology, minor in Neuroscience
Favorite animal to work with: Red-Tailed Hawk
Favorite experience: Talking with the community and seeing how eager they are to learn just as I am!
Read Tawni's blog post here.


Interested in being in the Class of 2014? Please visit our rehabilitation training page