This past summer, I had the amazing opportunity to intern at the National Marine Life Center (NMLC) in Bourne, Massachusetts. My internship position could be labeled as an Animal Care and Husbandry Intern as well as an Education Intern. The opportunities I was able to experience were amazing and it was a summer I will never forget.
For the animal care portion of my internship, my responsibilities included caring for our in-house patients, Northern Red Bellied Cooters. These freshwater turtles are endangered in Massachusetts. We had several turtles that had severe shell deformities due to lack of correct enclosure lighting and food source, as well as other turtles suffering from different diseases and injuries. As an intern I was responsible for husbandry and tank care, as well as assisting in treatments, such as calcium supplements and tube feeding. The interns participated in rounds with the veterinarian and maintained the public critter tank.
As for the educational portion of my internship, I helped in leading two types of programs for kids. The NMLC has two programs that the interns were responsible for: Little Flippers Club, and Marine Medical Mystery. Little Flippers Club is for younger children, in which children learn about a group of animals through a story, arts and crafts, and presenting artifacts. In Marine Medical Mystery, the interns presented information to older groups of kids. We took a specific animal and pretended to treat that animal as if it were in the center. These education programs were good opportunities for us to present our knowledge.
As the final portion of my internship, I completed a project that consisted of creating a craft binder with instructions and samples for each craft. I also refurbished a harbor seal skeleton, creating bones out of clay that were missing, creating a new base, and new wiring.
The experience I have gained from this internship will definitely benefit me in any future endeavors. But in order to participate in this internship, I needed professional experience that I gained through the University of Connecticut’s Honors Program. As an Honors student, I was able to participate in the Facilitator and Peer Mentoring class. This role gave me experience in leading in a classroom setting, which definitely benefited me in the education portion of my internship. I also gained one-on-one experience from UConn’s Peer Allies Through Honors (PATH) program. This benefited me in working with the other interns as well as the other staff at the NMLC.
Honors students may participate in a variety of leadership opportunities offered through the Honors Program and UConn as a whole. These involvements provide them with invaluable experiences that contribute to their personal and professional development, often leading to further opportunities at UConn and beyond.