NORTON, Mass. - Eighteen Wheaton College student-athletes have earned fellowships this summer through the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services that will enrich their academic experiences.
The Davis International and Porter Cleveland fellowships are just a few examples of the Wheaton Edge – a promise that every single student will receive financial support for an internship, research position or other experiential learning opportunity by the time they graduate.
Throughout the summer, the athletics department will feature the student-athletes taking part in these fellowships, including a forward from the women's lacrosse team Nicole Lussier '20.
A biology major from Providence, Lussier interned at the West Place Animal Sanctuary in Tiverton, R.I.
Wheaton Athletics: Tell me a little bit about your fellowship.
Nicole Lussier: West Place Animal Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that specializes in the care for neglected animals as well as wildlife rehabilitation. It is a sanctuary for animals mostly from cruelty cases where they can live out their days grazing beautiful fields and getting the best care possible. It also is a place where injured or abandoned wildlife go to become rehabilitated and then released back into the wild. During my time at West Place, I focus mainly on animal care. I handle all kinds of critters, such as infant and young wildlife, adult wildlife, exotic animals, large animals and farm animals. I have learned how to handle them, feed them, and have even got to witness some medical procedures. Since West Place is non-profit, their income is mainly around fundraisers and events such as farmers markets, and I have volunteered my time helping out with such events as well.
WA: What interested you in the fellowship?
NL: At first, I was really interested in the medicinal work and veterinary experience I would gain from this internship. However, as I grow more familiar with the animals, I have come to learn I have fallen in love with animal care and rehabilitation.
WA: What experiences are you hoping to gain from your fellowship?
NL: I had hoped to gain more experience handling and caring for animals, and already I feel so much more comfortable doing so. Handling animals is a daily task for me ranging for infant ducks to full grown horses, so I am becoming more and more comfortable with all kinds of animals.
WA: What are your career aspirations and how will this help you achieve them?
NL: I hope to one day own my own animal sanctuary and rehabilitation center, however with exotic animals rather than local wildlife. I would love to follow in the footsteps of my mentor as well, however, as she is involved in so many other organizations in addition to West Place such as the ASPCA and the Audubon Society.
This internship is the perfect opportunity for me to get hands-on experience in the field that I love and is not only expanding my knowledge on the field but making me fall in love with it even more.
WA: How will this experience make you a better leader at Wheaton and on your team?
NL: This experience is helping me grow as an individual and actually break out of my comfort zone, helping me to gain confidence in things I would normally be nervous about. This can help me in all aspects of life, and especially on my team and in my classrooms.
WA: Finally, why do you think these opportunities are beneficial to Wheaton students?
NL: The Fellowship opportunity gives Wheaton students chance to gain experience in the field that they love without having the financial burden of needing to work throughout the summer at a job that would not benefit their careers. These opportunities are great for students who want to get involved with non-profit organizations or internships that do not offer money in return.