Through this blog, we will spotlight Otterbein students who are engaging in internships and professional experiences in a variety of industries and geographic locations. We will also share tips and advice on searching for internships and making the most of internship experiences.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Rachel Dalton '16 -The Wilds

Name: Rachel Dalton
Class Year: 2016
Major: Zoo and Conservation Science
Hometown: Columbus, OH
Internship: The Wilds
Location: Cumberland, OH

Internship Responsibilities:
This past summer I had the incredible opportunity to spend 10 weeks as a Conservation Science Research Intern at the Wilds, a 10,000 acre safari park and conservation research facility (the largest in the country!) in Cumberland, OH. My primary responsibilities were related to the research project I was assigned, which involved examining the potential applications of a species distribution monitoring technique known as eDNA monitoring with the Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis). The Wilds is often described by the research staff as a living laboratory; I had the opportunity to interact with this "laboratory" not only through the field work and molecular work involved with my research, but also in contributing to other studies involving the distribution of bobcats on Wilds property, developing alternate browse sources for giraffes, and assessing what environmental factors may influence terrestrial salamander populations. I also had the opportunity to assist with the Wilds' reintroduction initiative for the largest salamander species in North America-- the endangered Eastern hellbender.

What I Learned: 
I received mentoring from professionals in the zoological and conservation research fields. As someone who aspires to one day contribute to these fields as well through zoo and wildlife veterinary medicine and research, I cannot begin to express how much their investment in my fellow interns and I meant to me. I truly believe that my time under the tutelage of these experts and the opportunities I had to conduct meaningful research of value to conservation at the Wilds made me a better researcher and future zoological professional.

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