Make The Connection

November 10, 2021 | By Cole Hatcher

Future Veterinarian

Ohio Wesleyan Senior Completes Internship at Wildlife Rescue Center in Florida

Chase Reinert ’22 learns to safely restrain a variety of species including hawks during her summer internship.

Name: Chase Reinert ’22
: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Major: Pre-Professional Zoology
OWU Connection Experience: Internship at South Florida Wildlife Center

Reinert earned an OWU Connection Theory-to-Practice Grant to support a summer rotational internship at the South Florida Wildlife Center in Fort Lauderdale. The nonprofit center works 365 days a year to save wildlife through rescue and veterinary treatment. Shala Hankison, Ph.D., associate professor of Zoology, oversaw Reinert’s internship.

She previously was selected to shadow staff at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, where she met and worked with Terri, Bindi, and Robert Irwin, stars of the TV series, “Crikey! It’s the Irwins.”

Chase Reinert ’22 helps to hand-feed a barn owl while working at the Fort Lauderdale-based wildlife center.

My Florida Experience

“I visited the center when I was a junior in high school, and I was amazed by the scale of wildlife rehabilitation at the center compared to other wildlife centers I had visited. In addition, this particular internship is intended for pre-veterinary students because it involves many hands-on experiences with the wildlife veterinarian at the center. Due to my interest in wildlife medicine, this internship intrigued me.”

An injured pigeon lands on Ohio Wesleyan student Chase Reinert’s head during an evaluation of its flight while Reinert ’22 interned at the South Florida Wildlife Center.

My Favorite Moment

“It’s hard to choose just one moment as my favorite because every day presented a new amazing experience. One experience that stands out is when I had the opportunity to hand feed a barn owl. Being able to be so close to a bird of prey was amazing.”

Chase Reinert ’22 helps to raise baby squirrels, feeding them every two hours, during her internship.

Lessons Learned

“Many of the things I learned in animal behavior were applicable during the internship because monitoring the attitude of animals in treatment is essential to their future release. In addition, tasks like looking at microscope slides for parasites and performing necropsies related to other biology classes I have taken at OWU.”

Chase Reinert ’22 holds an orphaned bobcat brought in for a veterinary check.

Preparing for the Future

“Experiences like this matter because they give me a perspective into my future career. Hands-on experiences are essential in developing my concrete career goals.

“I learned the challenges of wildlife rehabilitation, which are relevant to my career goals. Initially, I thought working with wildlife would eliminate issues caused by the animals’ owners because there are no owners. However, there are some very passionate people who care about wildlife that you have to interact with in wildlife rehabilitation.”

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan

“I chose Ohio Wesleyan due to its robust Zoology Department with many opportunities to participate in meaningful internships. I was also intrigued by the opportunity to receive a Theory-to-Practice grant and travel the world. Unfortunately, I was unable to travel during my time at OWU due to COVID.”

My Plans After Graduation

“I plan to attend veterinary school. I have applied to five schools this cycle. My longtime goal is to be a wildlife veterinarian, specifically in Australia.”