Weston Henley ’20 takes walk on The Wilds side with zoo internship

Created: July 22, 2019  |  Last Updated: December 3, 2019  |  Category:   |  Tagged: ,

WASHINGTON, PA (July 22, 2019)—Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) senior Weston Henley ’20 is getting a wild internship experience this summer, thanks to support from W&J.

With a recommendation from Professor of Biology Candy DeBerry, Ph.D., Weston pursued a position as a wildlife ecology apprentice with The Wilds, a conservation center associated with Jack Hanna’s Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

At The Wilds, Weston is working on an independent research project about how pH levels in water can affect the development of amphibians. He also helps with the care and maintenance of the endangered populations of hellbender salamanders and American burying beetles being raised on site with the goal of reintroducing them into their natural habitats.

The conservation center hosts Safari tours through the facility. At times, the W&J biology major encountered people on the safaris and had the opportunity to share his knowledge with the visitors.

“So many people ask me questions about the animals that are kept here because of my uniform,” he said. “It’s really cool how interested people are in the exotic animals here.”

Courses at W&J, outside-the-classroom experiences such as studying biodiversity throughout Costa Rica for his Magellan Project last summer, and funding from W&J’s Franklin Internship Award have been vital for Weston’s success.

“All of the science courses I have taken so far have given me more laboratory experience than some of my fellow interns,” he said. “I also believe that my Magellan to Costa Rica last summer helped me get my internship. My boss also happened to be in Costa Rica, and we found we had a mutual connection to an expert working there.”

Weston plans to attend veterinary school with an exotic animal program following graduation. If the opportunities he’s had through The Wilds and W&J are any indication, his time at veterinary school will be a roaring success.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.