Biology major and environmental studies minor Tommy Apostolopoulos ’20 (Asheville, North Carolina) interned this summer for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife (KDFWR).
Apostolopoulos had the opportunity to work with Centre alumnus John Hast ’06 while serving with several programs within the department.
“This summer, I’ve worked with GPS collaring black bears and elk in Southeastern Kentucky, conducted an occupancy study for black bears, banded Canadian geese and doves, and helped with feral hog eradication efforts,” he explained.
Apostolopoulos said he’s always been interested in wildlife and wildlife conservation, and this internship was the perfect opportunity for him.
“I am looking to pursue a career in conservation biology, so being able to experience conservation practices first-hand at such an early stage in my education was one of the main reasons I looked for an internship like this,” he said.
Having grown up as a sportsman in the mountains of North Carolina, Apostolopoulos was already exposed to what he would be doing this summer.
“Relating experiences I had coming in to the projects prepared me for this field in ways I can’t put into words,” he said. “The environmental studies intro class I took this past spring also left me with a background that I was able to build on during my time with KDFWR.”
Throughout the internship, Apostolopoulos was able to take away more than he ever thought possible.
“The legislative and political side of conservation biology was not something I had really ever thought about before this opportunity,” he added. “Sitting in on a commissioners meeting gave me the opportunity to observe the nitty-gritty politics that come with trying to change a law for the betterment of wildlife and the environment.”
Apostolopoulos said this opportunity would not have been possible without the connections that Centre has allowed him to make during his time on campus.
“Working under a Centre graduate in the field has showed me that, even though a ‘wildlife biology’ or ‘wildlife management’ degree is not available at Centre, the education I am receiving in Danville will be more than suitable to the field in which I am pursuing a career,” he said.
“This experience, in my opinion, has given me a jumpstart on a career search post-Centre,” he concluded. “It has opened doors and given me opportunities to narrow my future field from the broad ‘wildlife management’ or ‘wildlife conservation’ categories into more detailed fields that will allow me to choose a career path more suited to my desires.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
August 2, 2018