With encouragement from her adviser Associate Professor of Biology Jason Kilgore, Ph.D., and training from Professor of Biology Candy DeBerry’s “Prep for Research Internship” Jay-Term course, Julia found an opportunity to intern at Duquesne University in Jan Janecka’s, Ph.D., lab studying how different subspecies of snow leopards are adapted to live at diverse elevations with different levels of oxygen. The lab is analyzing the big cat’s genes to help aid in conservation of the threatened species.
“I knew [a career as a wildlife veterinarian] would combine my love for wildlife, the environment, science and traveling, but I was always debating if instead I wanted to attend graduate school and work in wildlife conservation, so I knew a research experience exactly like this was essential for me to figure out what I wanted to do. I love the research I am doing and the people I have been meeting. It amazes me how many aspects of conservation there are and how I am directly helping those efforts. Without the extra push from W&J, I would not have prioritized an internship as highly as I did. This allowed me to step outside my comfort zone and have great experiences. I know I’m working toward what I want to do,” Julia said.