Nicole Jute was our 2019 college summer intern, she is currently a Senior at East Carolina University. She is a business administration major with a concentration in marketing and supply chain management and a minor in composite natural sciences. Corresponding with her love of animals and tenacious passion for animal welfare, Nicole wishes to become a veterinarian. While completing her undergraduate career, Nicole works at a small animal veterinary hospital as a veterinary assistant. She also enjoys volunteering her time at several, local animal shelters. Nicole also has experience in the equine field of veterinary medicine. During her time as the OIBSTPO summer intern, Nicole gained valuable knowledge and skills about marine life. Asked what she’d tell future interns, she said “Not only will you learn about all things sea turtles, but you will also join an incredible group of caring individuals who all work tirelessly to preserve our precious marine life. I seriously cannot give enough positive feedback and highly encourage others to apply. You’re in for the opportunity of a lifetime!”. As of January 6, 2021, Nicole has received acceptance letters from Louisiana State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine and St. Matthews University School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also awaiting feedback from several other veterinary schools nearby. Nicole is absolutely thrilled to continue her knowledge of animal welfare and cannot wait to apply the lessons she has learned from OIBSTPO as a future veterinarian.
My name is Kristen Small, I interned with OIBSTPO summer 2014, I was the first OIBSTPO intern. I had SO many wonderful experiences that summer. My days started early, patrolling the beach for turtle crawls and picking up trash/junk along the way(you know keep the wildlife safe & our oceans clean!). I am not a morning person so getting up while it was still dark outside wasn’t easy but man were those Ocean Isle sunrises worth it. Interning with a small organization versus a large provides so many more opportunities for being involved. Sadly that summer was one of the slowest nesting seasons OIB had seen(remember the summer is fleeting and turtles, like the weather are unpredictable). My most exciting memory was being called one night at probably 2am that visitors had spotted hatchlings near a nest, myself and the other volunteers looked everywhere for hatchlings that may of traveled towards homes/businesses, after not much luck we went home til sunrise and returned the next morning to walk the streets, beaches, driveways, carports, & anywhere you could imagine looking for hatchlings. Some were found in peoples driveways (porch/street lights are the devil), some had made it beyond the dunes and towards homes; they would of most likely died had we not found them. By the end of the morning we were wet from the rain(sand and rain is a fun mix) and all laughing/delirious. I didn’t just gain professional experience, I truly felt like part of a family, there is so much teamwork and devotion that goes into this organization and helping these defenseless animals.
I went to school at Davidson County Community College in Lexington, NC. I was apart of the Zoo and Aquarium Science Program and one of six in the first Aquarium Science graduating class. After completing my internship I continued my courses at DCCC and began another internship at the North Carolina Zoo with Rocky Coast birds, working with Puffins, Auklets, Murres, Hawks, and Vultures! Animals that I never thought I would have an interest in stole my heart, I have a new found respect for Black Vultures. My point is don’t close your mind to particular internships because they don’t have your favorite animal…odds are by the time you graduate you will have a passion for many different species. I graduated in summer 2015 and have worked at mostly veterinary hospitals since, currently I am at Asheboro Animal Hospital where I assist with examinations, x-rays, treatments, pharmacy and surgeries. At the end of the day animals are my passion and as long as I am working with them in some capacity I am happy. I hit a few bumps in the road applying for zoo keeping jobs because I don’t have a bachelors degree. I will say almost every animal related job I’ve interviewed with has been eager to discuss my internship experience! Hands on experience will always outweigh your degree, many positions expect both! In January 2020 I enrolled at Grand Canyon University to complete my bachelors in Psychology(beneficial degree when working with animals or children…my two passions). I should graduate in fall 2021 and will see where that path leads me. I’m hoping an extension job on a farm or a marine mammal job on a boat!
My advice to you as an intern applicant is to be present, put yourself out there! During my internship I felt homesick and “home” for me was 3 hours away, central NC, unfortunately I missed a couple BIG experiences by visiting home one night. Some summers that might not be such a big deal but for that season our experiences were limited. Your time as an intern is so short in the big picture of it all, soak it all in, be present, get your hands dirty, volunteer and get involved in everything that you can! Save money so you can enjoy interning and not have to work/work very little. I worked some while living in OIB but just made sure it wasn’t early mornings or evening hours, I also interned at the local museum(unsure if that is still an option) but I also learned so much there and made friends/connections I’ll never forget. College/internships will be some of the best times of your life, enjoy it, take pictures, take notes, truly learn from your experiences! Networking goes a long way, the people you meet during internships can turn into lifelong friends and colleagues. I found a rental where I could bring my dog, she helped keep me company while away from family/friends. I also spent a lot of time with others involved with OIBSTPO, they became my family at the coast!