From left to right: Penn State Berks students Emily Case, Alexis Albu and Austin Hanssen this summer will develop and broaden their knowledge and skills in wildlife management through the Berks International Conservation Internship Program in Canada.

Image: Penn State Berks

Berks students travel to Canada for conservation internship

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; sophomore Alexis Albu, a biology major; and Austin Hanssen, an 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 will include work with a range of avian species, reptiles and amphibians as well as various native and invasive plant species. The students also will 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 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, class of 2018, has recently been accepted to a doctoral program in biology at Monash University in Australia, where she will study behavior and physiology of fairy wrens. Meanwhile, Amy Rutter, class of 2015, is entering a doctoral 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.”