The Class of 2014

In addition to the thousands of animals that pass through the Wildlife Center’s doors each year, the Wildlife Center also welcomes dozens of externship students. These students come from all over the world to complete an eight- to twelve-week volunteer externship at the Center, focusing in one of two areas: wildlife rehabilitation or education outreach.

The Wildlife Center gains many sets of hands — energetic, enthusiastic students who assist with the endless daily work of a busy wildlife teaching hospital. The externs gain in-depth, hands-on experience in the field of wildlife rehabilitation and outreach — and a chance to “test run” a career in the field.

A large amount of the rehabilitation 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.

The outreach externs spend their time learning how to present programs, assisting with written patient and education animal updates, and focusing on some of the outreach technology the Center uses.

By the time 2014 is over, almost three dozen externship students will have passed through the Center’s doors. Check back throughout the year for information on the students and links to their blog posts.

Name: Jon
Area:  Rehabilitation 

Hometown: Ketchikan, AK
College: Lees-McRae College
Degree in: Biology, Wildlife Rehabilitation concentration
Favorite education animals:  Jaz and Buttercup  
Read Jon's blog post here. 


Name: Lori
Area: Rehabilitation 
Hometown: Salina, KS
College: Kansas State University
Degree in:  Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology
Favorite animals: Raptors, especially the Great Horned Owls and the Red-tailed Hawks.
Read Lori's blog post here.


Name: Erica
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Blackstone, VA
College: Longwood University
Degree in: Biology, concentration in Health and Biomedical Science
Proudest moment: My earned friendship with Jaz! When I started at WCV she absolutely hated me. Now she's decided that I'm not so bad after all!
Read Erica's blog post here.


Name: Brittney
Area: Outreach
Hometown: Oswego, NY
College: SUNY Oswego
Degree in: Zoology 
Favorite task: I've really enjoyed giving tours and sharing some of my knowledge and the things that I have learned with everybody.
Read Brittney's blog posts here:  A New Beginning,  My Experience So Far, and Lessons Learned.


Name: Sean
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Evanston, IL
College: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Degree in: Psychology and Biological Aspects of Conservation 
Favorite tasks: All things related to the raptors --  exercising, capture, & restraint
Read Sean's blog post here.


Name: Alice
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Orlando, FL
College: University of Florida
Degree in: Animal Science 
Favorite task: Working with the turtles and hand-feeding bats.
Read Alice's blog post here.


Name:  Katie
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Mariposa, CA
College: California Polytechnic State University 
Degree in: Earth Science
Read Katie's blog post here


Name:  Emily 
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Dayton, VA
College: James Madison University
Degree in: Biology
Favorite animals at the Center:  Foxes
Read Emily's blog post here.


Name:  Kendra
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Blacksburg, VA
College: Virginia Tech
Degree in: Biochemistry
Favorite animal at the Center:  Fawns -- they're just so cute!
Read Kendra's blog post here.


Name:  Elise
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Brookfield, WI
College: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Degree in: Zoology and Biological Aspects of Conservation
Favorite task: Pick-up and exercise for the raptor birds
Read Elise's blog post here.



Name:  Jimena ["JJ"]
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown:  Lima, Peru
College: Scientific University of the South
Studying:  Veterinary Medicine
Favorite task: I've really enjoyed the time working with mammals at ICU and exercising GHO owl, it's really rewarding to see their development after all the effort that everyone does. As for birds I realize that they have personalities, and the way they stare at you, so curious, blinking very slow -- that's my favorite part because it makes it look so human.
Read JJ's blog post here. 

Name:  Leigh 
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: King William, VA
College: James Madison University
Studying:  Biology and Health Sciences, Minors in Anthropology and Human Sciences
Favorite animals: I love the Eastern Screech-owls! They're just so tiny!
Read Leigh's blog post here.

Name:  Jessica H.
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Churchville, VA
College: University of Virginia
Studying: Environmental Science
Favorite Experience: Capture and restraint of Bald Eagles! Handling these raptors gives you a whole new appreciation of their size and strength.
Read Jess's blog post here.


Name:  Jackie
Area: Outreach
Hometown: Crozet, VA
College: Virginia Tech
Studying: Communications
Read Jackie's blog posts: As One Door Closes, Another Opens, Step by Step, Expect the Unexpected


Name: Karina
Area: Rehabilitation 
Hometown: Evington, VA
College: University of Virginia
Studying: Biology
Favorite animals:  Baby Blue Jays and baby opossums
Read Karina's blog post here.


Name: Kristina
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Falls Church, VA
College: George Washington University
Degree in: Psychology
Favorite animal:  Bats
Read Kristina's blog post here. 


Name: Nikki
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Leesburg, VA
College: University of Mary Washington
Degree In: Biology 
Favorite Tasks: Restraining/exercising the raptors, releasing our patients back into the wild, and enrichment
Read Nikki's blog post here.


Name: Jessica J.
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA
College: Stephens College; Hunter College
Working toward: Master of Science in Animal Behavior and Conservation
Favorite task: Outdoor rounds for feet and feather checks on Mondays!
Read Jess's blog post here.


Name: Sarah
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Lynchburg, VA
College: Montana State University
Degree In: Fish and Wildlife Management
Favorite animals: Eastern Screech-Owls and opossums
Read Sarah's blog post here. 

Name: Patti
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Pickney, MI
College: Aquinas College
Degree In: Biology
Favorite tasks: feeding the squirrels and feeding the fawns
Read Patti's blog post here.


Name: Mandi
Area: Rehabilitation 
Hometown:  Apache Junction, AZ
College: Central Arizona College
Major: Science
Best part of externship: Working so closely with these amazing animals and having incredible experiences. For example, I have always known that owls fly silently but it was incredible to experience firsthand having an owl fly right next to you and not be able to hear them.
Read Mandi's blog post here. 

Name: Kimberly
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Los Alamos, NM
College: University of California Santa Cruz
Degree in: Linguistics
Favorite task: Feeding all the little critters in the ICU--I love watching them grow up and become the wild animals they're meant to be. 
Read Kim's blog post here.

Name: Brittany
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Staunton, VA
College: Blue Ridge Community College
Degree in: Veterinary Technology
Goal: To become a licensed rehabilitator


Name: Thomas
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Athens, GA
College: University of North Georgia
Studying: Biological Sciences and Theatre. 
Fun fact: Tom has rescued and transported more than 150 raptors that needed to come into rehab!
Read Thomas's blog post here.

Name:  Isabelle
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: Boyce, VA
College: James Madison University
Degree in:  Biology
Favorite moment: I really like seeing the baby squirrels grow up and turn into normal crazy squirrels.
Read Isabelle's blog post here.


Name: Michelle
Area: Outreach
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario
College: Bishop's University
Degree in: Biology
Read Michelle's blog posts: Show Me Your Ways , An Owl on my Wrist and Butterflies in My Stomach, and Package of Motivation.


Name: Simon
Area: Rehabilitation
Hometown: West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
College: University of Leuven
Degree in: Biology
Most excited about: the sheer awesomeness of seeing all those magnificent animals up close.
Read Simon's blog post here.

Interested in being in the Class of 2015? Please visit our training opportunities page.