Oregon State University
Skip navigation

Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Professor Beechler Takes Students To Africa

January 25th, 2019

In December, Brianna Beechler (Class of 2008), Assistant Professor of Biomedical Research, led a team of OSU undergraduates on a trip to Kruger National Park in South Africa. Their objective was to learn about wildlife conservation and community relations through a sustainable development program Beechler runs with Dr. Maarten Schrama from Leiden University. “They learned about the link between conservation, human health, and animal health through field work, lab work, and lectures.” says. “They also did a mini research project.”

Heaven Rodriques is an Animal Science major interested in wildlife conservation. She signed up for the trip because it gave her hands-on experience, in addition to learning about topics like poaching and elephant management. “I saw this program as a stepping stone on the path to a future career,” she says.

Camryn Flint, an Animal Science major with a pre-vet option, was especially interested in learning about the veterinarian’s role in conservation and disease management. “The link between biodiversity and disease transmission is really interesting. I learned how disease transfers between wildlife and livestock,” she says.

Upon arriving in Kruger Park, the students first class was a history of conservation in the area. They also had opportunities to experience local village life. This was part of the broad-perspective approach of the program. “We delved into the human side of animal-centric issues, such as the sociological effect conservation has on communities,” says Flint.

Student Kristiana Gutierrez has wanted to visit Africa since she was a little girl watching safari programs on television, and calls this trip “the most amazing experience I have had in my whole life.” Like the other students, she made memories that will last forever. “I got to go bushwalking by the Sabie River, pet a white rhino, see herds of wild elephants and giraffes, and be so close to lions I could have reached out and touched them.” Although surprised and concerned by the magnitude of poaching in the area, Gutierrez also appreciated the challenges faced by the local population. “It was interesting to learn about it from the community point of view,” she says. “They have a different relationship with animals and it shined a whole new light on these serious issues.”

The trip was sponsored by OSU-Go, a faculty-led, study abroad program. The students received three credit-hours for the trip.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.

Recent posts


January 2019
  • Categories

  • Popular Tags