Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture

Hicks Scholarship Recipients to Intern Overseas

Published Date: Jun 15, 2016 12:00:00 PM

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Three College of Agriculture students will spend their summers overseas thanks to the Jim Hicks International Scholarship program.

Animal science junior Haley Wilson will gain medical experience during an internship at a South Africa game reserve, while fourth-year animal health science major Karen Azurin and Michelle Moran, a first-year animal science student, will travel to Thailand.

“I am interested in wildlife and exotic animal medicine – fieldwork specifically – and hope that I can gear my experiences toward this as time goes on,” Wilson says.”

Growing up, Wilson bred and showed English bulldogs, took horse riding lessons, and kept parrots and other animals. She shared her love for animals with her late father.

“It was our passion for animals that was the glue for our more-than-rocky relationship,” she says. “Animals serve as my connection to my dad.”

Wilson hopes to become a wildlife veterinarian after graduation and then join the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps.

Azurin will stay in the Thai city of Chiang Mai, where she will intern at the ARK Animal Rescue Kingdom dog shelter and at the Elephant Nature Park.

“I decided to go to Thailand because I have always been captivated by the beautiful culture,” she says. “As someone who loves adventure and travel, I decided that Thailand would be the perfect place to practice what I’ve learned in school and to immerse myself in an entirely different world with species of animals that we wouldn’t normally find here in the U.S.”

Azurin, who aspires to become a veterinary technologist and specialize in animal nutrition, will learn and practice veterinary techniques for small animals as well as elephants.

“Not only will I be applying what I’ve learned here at Cal Poly Pomona to real-life situations, I will also be able to identify what techniques are common in the veterinary field across the world,” she says. “I also hope to gain exposure to different kinds of medical conditions that we wouldn’t normally see in the U.S.”

A friend encouraged Moran to apply with International Student Volunteers to study abroad while practicing responsible tourism that supports sustainable development and conservation initiatives. She will be working at the Elephant Conservation Center in Thailand.

“I always have had a love for elephants, and to have the opportunity to work with them is my dream,” she says.

The internship is the first time traveling abroad for Moran, who hopes to become a veterinarian and work overseas at similar conservation centers.

“I know that Thailand is a very cultural place, and I’m looking forward to the people and friendships I will make,” she says.

The Hicks International Scholarship program was funded last year by businessman Jim Hicks, a longtime supporter of agricultural education. In its first year, it supported two students who traveled to India and conducted plant research.

The College of Agriculture named Hicks as the first recipient of its Agricultural Achievement Award last year. The award was subsequently named in his honor.