Meet Wildlife in the West 2018

By ANDREA DININO

 
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Bridget Duba is from Grand Rapids, Michigan and attends the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment, where she studies Animal Sciences on a pre-veterinary track, with minors in Biology and Wildlife Biology and Management.

Why she was interested in Wildlife in the West:

“I really want to become a wildlife veterinarian and work with the NPS, etc on research and conservation projects, and this program is giving me the opportunity to experience some of that type of work out West (where I hope to move someday).”

She’s most excited to learn about the collaborative work being done and the current policy in place to conserve the awesome species found in the Swan.

Bridget hopes that what she learns in WiW will translate to her future studies and eventually career. She hopes to be able to work with organizations such as SVC as a veterinarian and help complete more research on key species in areas such as the Swan.

Fun fact about Bridget:  I am a huge swimmer! I have been on swim teams since I was 7 years old and continue to swim in college on UK’s Club Swim team!

 
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Gabrielle Gittens is from St. Clair, Michigan. She attends Saginaw Valley State University where she’s studying Biology.

Why she was interested in Wildlife in the West:

“I was attracted to the rugged, hands-on learning in the field and the unique course topics that you can’t find anywhere else.”

Gabrielle is most excited to interact with the different people and organizations to better understand what makes Montana so successful in conservation. She’s also hoping to grow more as a naturalist in hopes of passing her knowledge and passion on to others.

She intends to apply what she learns here to her dream job of working as an interpretive park ranger for the National Park Service, and any of the steps it takes along the way. Because of the nature of the program, she will have experienced the things others only learn about in the classroom.

Fun fact about Gabrielle: Coming to Montana for this program offered me my first visit to the Rocky Mountains and my first time crossing the Mississippi River!

 
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Britney Weaver is from Grayling, Michigan and studies Fisheries and Wildlife Management at Lake Superior State University.

What attracted her to Wildlife in the West:

“I’ve always liked the west, and I thought this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

She’s most excited to learn about grizzly bears as well as the other species that live in the Swan, and she hopes to apply this experience to her future career. Britney feels this program will give her insight on how to interact with people in a rural community, and it will also help her understand certain animals a little bit better.

Fun fact about Britney: I have a hamster named Casserole.

 
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Meghan Murphy goes to the University of Vermont where she majors in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology with a Veterinary Sciences minor.  She’s originally from Saugerties, NY in the Hudson Valley region.

Why she was interested in Wildlife in the West:

“I was attracted to the program by the fieldwork we would be doing with the four case study species and by the emphasis on the importance of community involvement in conservation efforts.”

Meghan is most excited about learning different methods of communicating with people about controversial predatory species. She hopes to do field conservation work with large carnivores, especially big cats, and she’s particularly interested in community conservation efforts with these animals.

She feels that the practical field skills she’ll learn here will be refined throughout her professional career, and the experiences she has working with community members will provide valuable lessons about how to handle the experience professionally.

Fun fact about Meghan: I have visited Iceland with my high school Science Club.  

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Hannah Weber is from Waukesha, WI and attends the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where she majors in Environmental Studies with a science emphasis.

What attracted her to Wildlife in the West:

“I was fortunate enough to hear about SVC from my program director. He told me how amazing the opportunity was, and how I could earn extra credits. He then connected me with students who attended Wildlife in the West in the past. Talking to these students convinced me that this program was something I really wanted to experience for myself.”

Hannah is most excited to learn about how all of the main species we focus on have connections among each other, humans, and other non-humans. In the future she hopes to be able to look back on this experience and identify different skills used throughout. She will be able to apply communications skills that were expanded upon, and also be able to look at signs and come up with a reasonable explanation.

Fun fact about Hannah: I have a twin sister who is fraternal but looks identical.