This fall, we welcomed 10 interns from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. In addition to learning about turtle care and husbandry, the students practiced their communication skills by teaching the public about sea turtles, and completed a project. One such project - a video entitled "A Day in the Life of an Intern" appears above.
In their own words, here is an introduction to the KBSTRRC Fall, 2021 student interns.
AMBER: Hello, my name is Amber and I am from Asheville NC! I am currently finishing up my last semester as a student at UNC Wilmington studying Marine Biology. I’ve always had a love for animals and grew up working with dogs, horses, and farm animals. As I got older I discovered my passion for marine life and now hope to work in shark conservation in the future. This is my first experience working with sea turtles but I am learning a lot about conservation and rehabilitation and love sharing this new knowledge with the community!
ANDRA: Hello, my name is Andra and I am currently a Senior at UNCW majoring in Marine Biology with a concentration in Conservation and minoring in Oceanography. I have a love for all animals, but I wanted to intern at Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation hospital to learn the husbandry side of caring for sea turtles. I have grown up with pets ranging from dogs, cats, fishes, and a rabbit so I have developed a love for all animals. This has developed my future interest to obtain my Veterinary Assistant certification that I hope to use first gaining experience working at a domestic veterinary facility and then moving to either a Zoo or Aquarium to work with wild animals. I also hope to become scuba certified and one day explore the ocean in various regions of the world.
BRANDON: Hey, my name is Brandon and I am currently a junior at UNCW. I am majoring in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. I have grown up around animals in the wild and caring for them on farms. I have a passion for preserving the natural environment and threatened species. I have lived on the coastline my entire life, which has allowed me the chance to interact with many marine species of fish and mammals. I have seen first-hand the impact of human presence on wildlife. I have made it my mission to help these animals in any capacity available to me. This internship is a great opportunity for providing hands-on care for marine reptiles and applying the knowledge I have learned during my studies at UNCW.
CAITLYN: My background is in library science but when I decided to go back to college there was no doubt that I would major in Marine Biology. I’m from Atlantic Beach, NC, and have always been fascinated by the life and complexity in our oceans that we are still barely beginning to understand. Growing up on the coast, sea turtles had an almost mythical status: everyone talked about them but few people had witnessed one in the wild. Being allowed to work with them now has been very special. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to contribute to the mission at KBSTRRC and am hoping to apply the practical knowledge I’ve gained here in future research on evolutionary biology and how organisms adapt to different environmental conditions and survive in niche habitats across the globe.
CODY: My name is Cody Parrish, I'm born and raised in North Carolina. I'm currently a senior at the University of North Carolina - Wilmington majoring in Marine Biology with a Conservation concentration. I always hoped for the opportunity to help animals like sea turtles and becoming an intern at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital allowed me to do that. I thankful that I was able to take part in the KBSTRRC internship experience. This experience has help me become more confident in myself, given me new knowledge regarding sea turtles, allowed me to work in a new environment, and allowed me to work with fantastic individuals. Hopefully, I will get to continue to help sea turtles to give them a brighter tomorrow.
DEEDRA: My name is Deedra I’m from Arizona and am currently in my senior year at UNC-Wilmington. I am majoring in marine biology with a focus in marine conservation. Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a marine biologist, and being an intern at the Karen Beasley Sea turtle hospital has continued to fuel that fire. It has helped solidify my goal to have a career in marine animal conservation. I am beyond grateful to be an intern at KBSTRRC. It has so far broadened my knowledge in, adjusting to a new environment, adapting to change, and working with new people and turtles. I hope to work with turtles in the future!
MILLY: My name is Milly! I am a senior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington majoring in Marine Biology. I grew up in Albemarle, North Carolina, but last year, my family relocated to Shallotte, NC. I was thrilled to be able to intern at the KBSTRRC. I grew up spending lots of summers at the beach, especially with my grandmother in Georgia. She began taking me to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center when I was young which instantly spiked my interest in sea turtles. During high school, I spent as much time as I could near the water and stayed up late in hopes of seeing a sea turtle nest hatch. In addition, one summer, I was able to job shadow Mark Dodd, the Georgia Sea Turtle Program Coordinator for the GADNR. From watching hatchlings crawl to the ocean to seeing my first stranding, I knew sea turtle conservation was where I wanted to be. After graduating in May 2022, I plan to begin my career in sea turtle conservation.
PAYTON: Hi my name is Payton and I am a senior at UNC-Wilmington studying Marine Biology with a concentration in Conservation with a minor in Leadership Studies. I have been passionate about working with animals since I was a kid helping my mom in the veterinary office where she worked. I found my place with marine animals later from the movie Dolphin Tale and realized that my goal, outside of college, is to work at a Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release center for marine animals. This is my first exposure to the animal hospital lifestyle and I am excited for everything I will learn through this experience.
SAMMY: Hiya, my name is Sammy and I am a senior at UNCW studying marine biology and Spanish. I grew up on the Jersey shore so my life evolves around the ocean and all of the animals that live within it. I studied abroad in the Galápagos Islands last year where I fell in love with sea turtles and for that reason I am so excited to be interning at the KBSTRRC this semester. In the future, I hope to focus my career on conservation based research projects and continue working hands on with marine life!