Emily Chesterton '25

A summer spent rehabilitating wildlife
UNH student Emily Chesterton '25

Emily Chesterton ’25 is interning at the Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, Massachusetts, and she shares the details of her experience in the Q&A below.

The wildlife and conservation biology major received support this summer from COLSA’s SOAR Fund, which, she says, allowed her to accept the internship without worrying about financial hardship. The fund supports undergraduate students  by providing stipends that may be used to supplement unpaid internships or pay for transportation to interviews and career events. The SOAR Fund accepts applications year-round. While all COLSA students are invited to apply, applicants with financial need are strongly encouraged.

COLSA: Tell us about your internship.

Emily Chesterton: I am completing my internship with the Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, Mass. They are a non-profit wildlife center dedicated to not only treatment and rehabilitation of wildlife species on and off Cape Cod, but also to the connection of the public and the natural world. Their mission is conservation through education. My responsibilities include participating in feeding and care of the wildlife species on site, as well as supporting general up keeping and cleanliness of areas of the site and providing clean and enriching areas for animal patients to recover in.

COLSA: What attracted you to the position?

Emily: I was looking for an organization to work with specifically on Cape Cod due to my connection with that area and my love for the wildlife and nature areas that exist here. I wanted to be able to directly support an area that I have received so much enjoyment and happiness from growing up. The goals of the Cape Wildlife Center directly correlated with what I was hoping to achieve through my internship, and I knew that I would gain great hands-on experience from their staff.

COLSA: Looking back on what you accomplished as an intern, what are you most proud of?

Emily: Seeing an animal that we have cared for a long period of time get to be released back into the wild is always the most rewarding, especially if they arrived in a very rough state. Watching them gradually gain more energy and get to transition to one of our outside spaces and then to be released is so incredible to watch.

COLSA: What was the most valuable thing you learned?

Emily: The most valuable thing I have learned up to this point has been attention to detail. Coming from a basis of no medical training before this internship, I have learned so much in a short period of time about what it means to work in wildlife veterinary medicine and how important it is to work hard and stay focused. I have learned so much more than I thought I could in just a few weeks which has been so rewarding.

COLSA: How has this experience impacted you?

Emily: This experience has given me so much insight into the different directions that I could go within my career. Staff at this organization are from all different paths similar to my major and they have worked in different jobs getting to the point that they are at now. It has been so fascinating to hear their stories and to hear about all the different directions I could go within my major. I have also really enjoyed working with animals that I never thought I would get to see that closely in my life. It has been so great to get an up-close look at where my career could take me in the future.

COLSA: Any advice for students looking for an internship?

Emily: I would advise that you apply to a wide variety of internships in different places. You may find that something you're unsure of could be a great opportunity for you to grow.

COLSA: Tell us something you love about UNH.

Emily: I don't know if I could find something I don't love about UNH. Durham has felt like home to me for the last two years, and I already miss it having been home for only a month and half. I guess something that has really stuck out to me over the last couple of years is that UNH has such great resources for anything that a student could be having trouble with, and those resources are always so accessible. From academic help and tutoring to mental health services being included in tuition, there is always somebody waiting to help you at UNH.