The Residential Internship Program
Our residential intern program will be going into its seventh year this summer. We will again be pairing a vet student with a pre-vet student so both can gain the hands-on experience. It also lets the pre-vet learn more advanced skills from the vet student. Thus, the role of the vet student will be not only to learn, but to share knowledge and experience on what it is like to be in vet school.
Summer interns would be expected to take part in the twice-daily feeding rounds to learn the individual care required for all the different resident species. We have a wide variety of rehab animals in and out (nene, pueo, Io, hoary bats, seabirds etc.) that require care and treatment. Any wildlife calls to the Sanctuary would be part of the day along with treatment of the animal rescued. This means you may do a great deal of basic animal care.
However, this is not the internship for someone who seeks only clinical experience.
You must be willing to feed the animals and clean their enclosures, daily. A successful intern should be able to get along and work with others, since vet students and pre-vets are paired to share experience in a positive way. It is all about learning and gaining unique hands-on experience.
In addition to work at the Sanctuary, you will be working two days/week at the Kona Humane Society in the Spay and Neuter program. This will allow you to gain a great deal of hands-on clinical experience in surgery and, depending on your level of training, you will not only be assisting but may get to perform surgery. You will also be assisting their veterinarian as she evaluates and treats the shelter residents.
Behavioral enrichment and animal environments are of primary concern to us here at the Sanctuary. Interns will pick, or be assigned, an area or animal resident to focus on. You will then revamp or construct a new or modified environment for that animal. Constant expansion and change of enrichment, even by the simple action of a new shelter or planting, makes a huge difference in the quality of life for a captive animal. The goal of enrichment is to lower stress and allow or encourage more natural behavior for the animal.
All interns will be expected to take information from our records or from some event and write it up in such a way that it can be used to share knowledge in a veterinary publication or rehab journal. This would be a co-authored article and I will work with you in data collection and to provide the history and the background on the animal, along with photos and or other records. You will do the historical research and find the appropriative publication or wildlife rehab journal to submit the final paper to.
- information about our blended flamingo diet that is now copied by several zoos
- behavioral enrichment article of oryx published in SWAVA
- obtaining free high-tech human medical products for veterinary use (pending publication in the Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation).
There are quite a few that other topics we would like to write up, too. One example is our unusual treatment protocol for a box turtle's shell repair using human skin care products. Another is a comparative outcomes study on rehabilitation of head injured raptors with and without steroids.
Housing for the program would be here at the Sanctuary in our guest apartment. We also have an "intern mobile" (Ford Taurus, automatic transmission) available for you to drive. You would be responsible for getting to Kona. You are also responsible for your food expenses, though you will likely join us, as our guests, most evenings.
In the past, some UC Davis Vet School externs were partially reimbursed. for out-of-pocket expenses For ALL students we recommend checking with your intership adviser to see if your school will also do this.
You are essentially part of our family for the few weeks that you are here, sharing the guest apartment which is our home . Our home is in a private, gated community overlooking the town of Kona, has a pool and is about 5-10 minutes from the beach. On the weekends you can stay here or take off and explore. You can ride the horses or walk in the little town of Kona. We also have great hiking through the rainforest to the 6000' crater of nearby Hualalai volcano.
We typically run two sessions for 3 weeks each. One vet student paired with one pre-vet. Dates will depend on the dates of everyone's classes getting out. Usually, one program will run in June or July and one in August.
To apply you need to send me a brief bio and two letters of reference. One from a veterinarian and another more personal reference from a professional or teacher who can explain why you would be the best candidate for this selective program.
Applications will be accepted annually from Dec 1st through Feb 15th for our summer programs. If you send anything in early you will need to re-contact me in January to confirm that you still want to attend. We typically notify those who have been accepted no later than March 1st.
Good luck!Ann Goody, Curator