Allison Stoiser, sophomore Wildlife and Fisheries Biology major, attained an internship with Fauna Forever working in Peru last summer. Read more below about her experience!
How did you choose your major?
I chose my major because I love being outside and learning about the intricate ecological relationships that exist in nature. I know that working for conservation of Earth’s biodiversity is a noble cause that I want to be a part of.
How did you attain the internship you had?
I learned about the internship with Fauna Forever through another student’s poster at the Calhoun Honors College’s Educational Enrichment Travel Grant (EETG) poster forum. Going to the rainforest has been a dream of mine since high school. I got the student’s contact information and met up with her at Starbucks to discuss her experience. I applied online and soon after and was emailed an internship offer.
What is the biggest lesson you took away from your internship?
I learned to distinguish between what truly matters and what I do not need. I did not have access to WiFi, AC, or hot showers. I slept on a platform with seven other people, hand washed my clothes, and had little contact with the outside world. I know now not to take things for granted because we truly are lucky in the United States. It is wonderful to have an instant way to contact friends and family through social media, but I learned to live without it and instead immerse myself further in the work that I was doing.
What is your dream job?
My dream job would be working with butterfly conservation efforts in the tropics. I would love to discover a new species and figure out butterfly and host plant relationships that are still unknown. I do hope to return to Peru after I graduate and coordinate an insect team to set up butterfly nets and do just that. Hopefully after taking entomology courses at Clemson, I will be on my way to becoming a tropical lepidopterist!
Who in your field do you look up to?
E.O. Wilson’s book, “The Diversity of Life,” was one of the biggest inspirations for me to get out and do something in regards to conserving biodiversity on our planet. His appreciation and knowledge of the natural world are great, and he still remains a very humble man. Someone who has done so much in life and still remains humble is certainly a person to be looked up to.
What is something you enjoy outside of the classroom?
I love creating art. I am currently illustrating a children’s book for a Creative Inquiry and I am excited to push myself to create more imaginative and marketable art. It is very different from my usual nature illustrations, but I am up for the challenge!
Any advice to current or prospective students?
I would say that finding internships is very important, even early on in your college career. Sometimes you may not be able to find a paid internship, but the experience can reward you personally more than any money can. And, the experience can land you a paying job later on!
This has been edited for length and clarity.