Gannon University Environmental Science Student Completes Internship with Reindeer
Posted: December 20, 2017
Gannon University students are encouraged to seek out and
complete internships to obtain real-world experience, to advance
their skills and knowledge, and, in the process, build their
resumes while gaining a competitive edge for graduate school and
Environmental science major Matt Hackathorn took full advantage
of this opportunity and a new collaboration between Gannon and a
partner institution to create one unforgettable internship
experience. Hackathorn completed a seven week, paid internship at
the University of Alaska - Fairbanks, studying animal husbandry and
reindeer management with the Reindeer Research Program (RRP).
During the course of the two-month internship, Hackathorn
experienced a reindeer necropsy, during which he was able to apply
skills and knowledge he learned in a biology class in identifying
the animal's anatomy. He also completed a project examining
different Alaska-grown nutrition for deer as an efficient
alternative to the high cost of importing food to their
While on location, Hackathorn was able to travel and explore
various parts of Alaska. He expressed that this type of immersive
internship experience is great for biology majors, especially
pre-veterinarian students, as well as environmental science majors
"The internship with the University of Alaska - Fairbanks was a
unique internship opportunity to travel to and within Alaska, and
also to learn animal husbandry and reindeer research techniques,"
said Michelle Homan, Ph.D., associate professor and chairperson of
environmental science and engineering.
"Matt Hackathorn was a great candidate for the position and the
feedback from the University of Alaska researchers on his efforts
was extremely positive."
The internship was created by Walter Iwanenko, Ph.D., vice
president of academic affairs at Gannon, and established a new
collaboration between the two universities, allowing for easier
access to research opportunities for students at both campuses.
Additional collaboration between the two institutions are being
considered for future internship and exchange opportunities.