As a Media and Communication major, I have interviewed a lot of people inside the community of Delaware Valley University. Some of the interviews have been very interesting, some have been life-changing, but this particular interview was very new to me. Last semester, I had the pleasure of interviewing Billie-Jo Dowling, a recent DelVal graduate, who majored in Small Animal Science. Billie-Jo said a big draw for her coming to DelVal was the E360 experiential learning program, which prepares students to solve problems by integrating classroom knowledge with real world experience. This program helps you explore your interests to figure out the best career path for you.
During the interview, I asked Billie-Jo how E360 benefited her. She said the program has changed her for the better and she gained so many new experiences while working. She learned a lot of new skills and was able to improve the skills she already had. The beauty of this program is that it helps students to enhance their skills before they even start their career. By challenging students to try different things in E360, they get better insight on their goals and interests.
While interviewing Billie-Jo, we got personal about how working with animals has impacted her life. She said that animals have always been a part of her life and that she has loved them since she was a little kid. Billie-Jo said that the biggest challenge she has dealt with is the unpredictable nature of each animal, though that adds a lot of fun to it because you get to learn new things about what animals don’t like. Sometimes it can be frustrating when working with animals that don’t want to cooperate or are being aggressive but that’s something you must learn to adapt to. Animals behave differently for different people so you have to remain calm and patient so you can earn the animals’ trust.
When I asked what the best experience E360 program was, she said if she had to choose one it would be giving a baby opossum a bath after feeding it.
“They just wrap their little paws around your thumbs and don’t mind the water hitting on them,” she said. “It’s probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Cute animals aside, Billie-Jo said going through the E360 process was overwhelming at times, but once everything was set and she started her internships she was super excited to learn and gain additional experience.
***Career update: Billie-Jo was just hired by Charles River Laboratories where she will be a Research Technician beginning in mid-October. She also continues to volunteer at the Barn Nature Center where she completed her E360 experience!
Written By: Tom Godwin