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Undergraduate Student

Kenneth Erwin

Senior, Wildlife Science

  • Minor: Biology

Originally from Chesterfield, Va., I moved to Powhatan when I was going into first grade. As a kid, I loved being outside, either playing sports, riding my bike with kids down the street from me, or roaming around the woods turning over logs or tree stumps looking for salamanders or snakes. My mother worked at a pet store when I was younger, and my stepmother ended up owning a pet store at one point, so I had various animals and pets growing up as a child, including sugar gliders that I was a foster parent to, various snakes, turtles, bearded dragons, iguanas, and birds, to name a few. During that time I developed a love for animals.

For my career, I want to work with animals in a captive setting, either at a zoo or a rehabilitation center. I really enjoy hands-on experience with animals. I was never big into fish because I never felt like they could show emotion or affection, but then again neither do reptiles (or at least not in any way that people typically receive affection).

For two summers I worked at Maymont Park in Richmond, where I received hands-on experience working with captive animals. At Maymont, I learned a lot about caring for animals in a petting-zoo/farm. I love the place and am thankful that it was able to provide me a solid foundation for my career. This summer I interned at the Bronx Zoo in New York. I worked closely with the mammalogists, caring for, cleaning, enriching, and training the animals, and learning about the history of the animals and the zoo as well. I also conducted a research project assessing the visibility of animals in their respective exhibits throughout the park. This study allows the Bronx Zoo staff to assess the visibility from a visitor’s standpoint and adjust various items throughout the habitats to increase visibility without compromising animal welfare.

Recreationally, I love playing all sports, specifically basketball, football, and softball/baseball, but any sport outside suits me just fine. Since middle school, I have been a runner. Since high school, I have been a long-distance runner, so I love to go out on 45-60 minute runs a few times per week. This year I may start running road races again. The marathon thought has crossed my mind once or twice, but I don’t see much satisfaction in running for 3+ hours straight!

Honors and Awards

  • Ann Warrick Lacy Scholarship Recipient 2010
  • Robert G. Engel Internship (Bronx Zoo) 2010
  • Dean’s List (Fall 2007, Spring 2010)

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