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Students travel to Canada for conservation internship

by Penn State Berks

May 28, 2019

WYOMISSING, Pa. — This summer, three Penn State Berks students will develop and broaden their knowledge and skills in wildlife management through the Berks International Conservation Internship Program in Canada. 

Junior Emily Case, a Biology major, and sophomores Alexis Albu, Biology major, and Austin Hanssen, Environmental Resource Management major, will embark on the summer internship, undertaking conservation work in an immersive international setting: Presqu’ile Provincial Park, Ontario. Research and conservation activities include work with a range of avian species, reptiles and amphibians as well as various native and invasive plant species. Students will also conduct educational outreach activities for the park’s 200,000 annual visitors. 

The summer internship program, along with the college’s full-year conservation internship–which takes students to a local saw-whet owl banding station through the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art–are competitive programs and students are selected on merit through a rigorous application and interview process, according to internship coordinator Dr. Jennifer Arnold, Professor of Biology at Penn State Berks. She adds that both programs have been instrumental in the successful academic careers of several Penn State Berks alumni. 

Two alumni who completed both the summer and the full-year conservation internships are bypassing earning a master’s degree and entering a doctoral program this fall. Jenna Diehl ’18 has recently been accepted to a Ph.D. program in Biology at Monash University in Australia, where she will study behavior and physiology of fairy wrens. Meanwhile, Amy Rutter ’15 is entering a Ph.D. program at Brown University in Ecological and Evolutionary Biology.   

According to Arnold, “Going directly from an undergraduate to a Ph.D. program is uncommon in this field and is a testament to the type of academic training and other experiences we provide at Penn State Berks.”

Pictured are Penn State Berks conservation interns (left to right) Emily Case, Alexia Albu and Austin Hanssen.

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