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Mason Science graduate to work as conservation educator

Gwendolyne spent summer 2022 interning at the Cheetah Conservation Fund located outside the town of Otjiwarongo in Namibia. Photo provided
During the summer of 2022, Gwendolyne Fields interned at the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia. Photo provided.

The College of Science congratulates Gwendolyne Martha Emma Fields who will graduate this May with a BS in Biology and minor in chemistry and conservation. Get to know Gwendolyne before she leaves Mason for an internship at Walt Disney World to serve as a conservation educator.

Why did you choose your field of study?
Growing up outside the United States in unique, wildlife rich countries exposed me to a multicultural background and interests in nature and wildlife, which eventually developed into my undergraduate academic interests in biology, chemistry and conservation.

What have you learned (inside or outside the classroom) that really surprised you?
I am most surprised by how supportive the professors are, especially within my biology classes. I have connected with multiple professors, and they have always gone above and beyond to guide me and help me both inside and outside the classroom. Through these connections, I felt well prepared not only in my biology classes but also for the outside world.

What is your most memorable Mason moment?
My most memorable Mason moment would be taking advantage of joining the clubs and connecting with diverse groups of people who eventually stayed by my side through my college career. I learned so much from different individuals, while getting involved in the Mason community. From Latin dancing, to acapella singing and swim club, I have made so many great memories that make up a big portion of my Mason experience and I am so grateful.

What are your plans after graduation?
I accepted an internship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida as a Conservation Education Presenter for eight months. The internship starts in early June. I am still unsure about my path afterwards, but I can see myself going to Veterinary School, becoming an animal keeper at a wildlife care center or zoo, as well as continuing research on endangered species in different countries and continents. Graduate school or getting a PhD is also a possibility in the future related to biology and conservation. Overall, I know I would like to help with animal conservation, whether that be directly or indirectly helping wildlife.

How has the College of Science prepared you for those plans?
Throughout my electives, I took classes geared towards my interests such as Animal Behavior and Animal Physiology. On top of that, my general classes taught me how to conduct research, write scientifically, and convey information. As mentioned previously, my professors have been outstanding in guiding me on my journey throughout and after college.

Please share any internships, job, or volunteer experiences.
From May through August 2021, I worked at the U.S. Embassy in Antananarivo, Madagascar in the USAID office. In June 2021, I also interned at Centre Val Bio in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar to help field technicians study infant behavior of Sifaka lemurs. I have been working as a veterinary assistant at Vienna Animal Hospital since August 2022. In October 2022, I secured a position at Smithsonian’s National Zoo as an Asian Elephant Barn Intern, where I continue to work on-site once a week, aiding animal keepers. In 2022, I spent my summer in Namibia at the Cheetah Conservation Fund as a cheetah husbandry intern, aiding with animal keeping of cheetahs on-site and focusing on a research project about cub growth rates through OSCAR (Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research).

Discover more about Fields and her experience at Mason