|Second-year student Hillary Wolfe provides surgical assistance to remove a hook, line and sinker from a turtle’s GI tract. (Photos courtesy of Gulf World Marine Park photography center.)|
A summer vacation at home doesn’t necessarily sound exotic, but second-year student Hillary Wolfe can throw water all over that notion. That’s because she spent summer on an eight-week internship at the Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach, Fl.
“I grew up in Florida so I've always had an interest in sea life, but it wasn't until I interned at Sea World in 2009 that I decided to pursue aquatic animal medicine,” Hillary said. “I've been hooked ever since.”
After an internship last summer for the Navy's Marine Mammal Program in San Diego, she learned about the internship opportunity at the marine park in Florida.
“I'm learning all the basics of medical care of bottlenose and rough toothed dolphins, California sea lions, birds and many species of reptiles,” Hillary said. “Recently I was involved in the rehabilitation of an endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle named Captain Hook. I was able to assist in a very delicate surgery led by Dr. Lydia Staggs to remove a hook, line and sinker from the GI tract of the turtle. Being involved in the recovery of Captain Hook has been such a rewarding experience that I will never forget.”
Ultimately, Hillary hopes to make the most of this experience as she continues her education at K-State.
“My career goal is to work as a marine mammal veterinarian for the Navy,” she said. “I also have a special interest in researching kidney stones and respiratory disease in marine mammals. I look forward to applying what I learn during my second year to what I learned through my internship about marine mammals, especially the disease processes. I also plan to pursue continuing education courses next summer, such as SeaVet.”