Kaylee Galvin '24

Finding Her Fit in the Field of Animal Rehabilitation
UNH student Kaylee Galvin cares for an animal during her internship at The Wildlife Center

Kaylee Galvin ’24 is a double major in zoology and neuroscience with a minor in marine biology. She is from Dudley, Mass. Thanks in part to a stipend from COLSA’s SOAR fund, Kaylee was able to accept a summer internship as a wildlife care intern at the Center for Wildlife in York, Maine.

The SOAR Fund supports undergraduate students by providing stipends that can 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.

Kaylee Galvin: I am a wildlife care intern at the Center for Wildlife. My main responsibilities include caring for patients in our care along with general facilities upkeep. When caring for the patients, I aid in feeding them, cleaning their cages, and enriching them.

COLSA: How did you find out about the internship?

Kaylee: In my freshman year ZOOL 400 class, the Center for Wildlife talked to us about their mission, explained how they rehabilitate animals, and showed us some of their ambassador (non-releasable) animals. I immediately knew I wanted to go into rehabilitation after learning about it. I followed the Center on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with what they were doing and attended events they
held to learn more about them. I also got in touch with one of the education outreach team members, who taught me more about the internship position, what it would entail, and how it would aid me in future.

COLSA: What attracted you to the position?

Kaylee: I've always known that I wanted to work with animals, but not in a clinical sense. When reading the intern position description, I saw that this was perfect for that. Other internships I saw were very clinic based, whereas this one was still hands on, but I wouldn't need to work with the animals medically, I would simply be caring for the animals.

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

Kaylee: Since this was my first time working with wild animals, I'm proud of how I've learned to identify behaviors between so many different species.

COLSA: What was the most valuable thing you learned?

Kaylee: Learning how to properly handle and read so many different species was incredibly beneficial. I feel like wherever I end up, I will at least have a basic understanding of the animals I will work with, since I got experience with so many different species.

COLSA: In what way(s) has this experience impacted you?

Kaylee: This internship shed some light on the reality of rehabilitation. rehabilitation centers receive animals almost every day of the year. Sometimes you know what to expect (i.e., expecting many baby squirrels during breeding season), but sometimes you have no way of preparing. it can be overwhelming and sad at times, knowing that a lot patients you receive won't make it. I was lucky enough to learn alongside staff, apprentices, other interns, and volunteers, so we always had enough hands and a good environment where we were all learning together. While talking to other team members, I learned how other centers struggle with only a few staff members and depend on volunteers. I always hear teasing about my career choice, hearing how I'm "going to school just to be a zookeeper," but this internship made me realize that I made the right choice.

Animals need our help more than we'd like to admit, a lot of the time needing help due to a human caused issue. I can confidently say that this internship altered my view on rehabilitation centers for the better, and I feel proud knowing I am going into this field.

COLSA: Any advice for students looking for an internship?

Kaylee: Ask questions! don't be afraid to reach out to the organization and ask more about what the position entails. It will help so much knowing what you're going into before committing. it will also give you the opportunity to learn whether or not that position suits you. sometimes a position looks great on paper, but then you learn more about it and realize it's not as good of a fit as you thought. It can be frustrating trying to find a good internship, but in the end it will be worth it.

COLSA: Tell us something you love about UNH.

Kaylee: The community! My advisor encouraged me to take this internship, and offered countless times to set me up with the Center. Outside of just this internship, my advisor has been incredibly supportive of every decision I set my heart on. It has made my time here so much more enjoyable knowing that she has my back if I need it.