Farmington junior Kyle Kansman has known for a while that he’s wanted to pursue a career in animal rehabilitation — and his Alma Venture experience working with sea turtles cemented it.
“My internship was in Sarasota, Florida, at a place called Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium,” says Kansman, a pre-veterinary major.
“I would do food prep, water quality, salinity and temperature as well as give medication or take them out and assist the vets if they needed to give injections,” he says.
His grandparents have a summer home in Florida, so he had visited Mote Marine before.
“I fell in love with it, so I knew I wanted to acquire some type of internship there,” he says.
His favorite part of the internship was going on four or five release trips to return the turtles to the wild.
Sarasota is on the west side of the state, and because the turtles had to be returned to where they were found, some of these trips took them to the east side of the state. The long drives gave him ample opportunity to chat with the staff about their schooling and career paths and what he could do to further his own career.
“It was really helpful to see what they could teach me,” he says. “Working with the turtles, seeing how the staff members benefitted from their experiences and being a part of these animals’ lives — that showed me that I really did want to do this.”
He used the full $2,500 for which he was eligible through the Alma Venture grant. The funding covered his plane ticket, housing, food and transportation.
“I was just really thankful to get that grant,” says Kansman. “Without that grant, I wouldn’t have had that experience.”
The internship has given him an added advantage in his career preparation. He’s been focusing on the small details in school and is trying to get as much experience as possible. He’s hoping that this drive to gain an edge will help him get his name out there and set him apart from other vet school applicants.
“The only thing I can say about my passion is that the internship made it even stronger,” he says. “I never had any doubt going into the internship — I wanted to work with animals, I wanted to be in wildlife rehab — but now it just shows me that I want to do this so bad. And it’s kind of just like a race now to see how quick I can get to it.”