My Animal Behavior Internship at Saco River Wildlife Center, Limington, Maine

A guest post by Ryann O’Carroll about her PSY 495 internship

After ‘completing’ my internship at Saco River Wildlife Center (SRWC), I reflected back on the “Student Learning Contract” I made at the beginning of the semester. The goals I outlined for myself focused on the job duties, expectations, what I hoped to gain, and how I would accomplish these goals throughout my internship. The following is what I conducted at my internship:

This position allowed for me to explore areas that concern wildlife and wildlife rehabilitation. I also had the opportunity to learn more about various scientific fields, including wildlife biology, animal behavior, wildlife ecology, animal husbandry, and veterinary science. I gained more experience in these fields by handling and coming in close proximity with wildlife species, such as raccoons, opossums, foxes, bats, squirrels, and much more. I also gained more knowledge about the various species’ diets, habitats, and conservation needs. Daily duties included hand-feeding baby mammals, monitoring animal conditions, habitat maintenance, administering medications (if needed), preparing food, laundry, and cleaning.

Reflecting back on this, this internship allowed me to handle (most species) and work in close proximity with raccoons, skunks, porcupines, opossums, woodchucks, fisher cats, foxes, coyotes, bats, squirrels, chipmunks, etc. It also allowed me to explore the field of wildlife rehabilitation much more closely. I found that as I progressed through my internship and I made more connections with the people working there, such as my supervisors – Beth Brown and Kevin Peterson – and two other volunteers, I was able to gain more knowledge in different fields, such as the behavioral aspects of the species I am working with, the ecological backgrounds of each species, how to care for each of these species individually, and how release techniques work for each species (I have not helped release an animal yet). While at the internship I was able to learn more about each species individual diet and the appropriate nutrition they need, how to clean each enclosure, clean dishes, do laundry, and monitor the species’ conditions.

This is what I was fully expecting to do at the beginning of this internship, and I was very pleased with how much hands-on experience I got to have at this internship as well with the various species we had. I also expected to gain more knowledge and experience within the field of wildlife rehabilitation, and this is exactly what my internship did for me. From this internship, my goal was to gain more experience and knowledge as I have just stated previously, and to work hands-on with different species to expand my experience even more.  I was able to accomplish these goals by being responsible, reliable, efficient, passionate, and dedicated to going to my internship each week, excited to learn and work more each time I went. This internship provided me with an opportunity I will never forget, something I will carry with me as I continue working towards my career goals and aspirations.

Skills I had hoped to learn at this internship were assessing incoming animals for injury, diseases, and dietary needs based off their age, properly cleaning and sterilizing equipment, toys, laundry, and dishes, feeding animals based off of their dietary needs, cleaning both inside and outside enclosures, providing enrichment for animals to aid in their release, and using proper PPE and safety equipment for my own, other’s, and the animal’s safety. These skills are all ones I have gained and worked on effectively throughout my time at my internship, being able to work closely with each species and giving them specific nourishment, enrichment, and care. Some of these skills are ones I already had due to working with so many different animals since being in high school, and others are ones I was able to easily pick up on. The skills I brought to this internship were sticking with a task until it’s done (persistence), thinking before I act, listening with understanding and empathy, thinking flexibly, good communication skills, working well and thoroughly with others and individually, being determined and motivated to accomplish the job asked of me, being responsible and accountable, and being able to apply my past experiences and knowledge to strengthen my passion, desire, and expertise for this field. With the skills I brought to this internship, along with the ones I had learned, I feel these skills were all accomplished and what made this internship such a great experience for me. Working in an environment that is always busy and has a variety of people coming in is a lot to walk into, especially when you do not know anyone else. Despite this, I was able to use these skills and learn others as I went along to accomplish what was asked of me at this internship and to make connections with others while working there.

I had planned to work at SRWC for the whole spring semester. Due to COVID-19, my internship was cut short. SRWC was a place I found to be de-stressing, relaxing, and enjoyable for me to go to as it is doing something I love and am passionate about. Once COVID-19 is over with, I am hoping to go and visit at SRWC because of the great connections and experiences I received from there. All in all, I would say the Student Learning Contract I created at the beginning of this internship was thoroughly fulfilled by meeting the goals, skills, and timeline I had addressed in it.

Having done this internship, I am going to continue with my future career goals and aspirations by starting a new internship at Maine Wildlife Park for the summer of 2020, which will focus on me developing novel enrichment techniques for the species at the park. I will also get to work in close proximity and have some hands-on experience with species there as well, which will in turn enhance my experience and expertise in the field of wildlife rehabilitation and conservation. I am hoping to discuss a possible job position with the supervisor at Maine Wildlife Park as I have a good connection with them as well from interning at SRWC; both of supervisors have brought animals needing rehabilitation to and from one another and have known one another for years. This internship turned into something much more than just an internship. SRWC is a place I was able to learn and gain more experience, enhance my expertise in the field, form strong connections and relationships with people there, and broaden my horizons to new work or internship opportunities I had not thought about before.

Our thanks to Ryann for sharing her experience with us. All Animal Behavior majors complete at least one internship, PSY 495, as part of their degree and work closely with a faculty supervisor as part of the experience. For more information about the animal behavior major at UNE, please visit:

Vienna Canright (ANB ‘ 22) receives Goldwater Scholarship

The Psychology Department faculty and staff are proud to announce that Vienna Canright, Animal Behavior major (class of ’22), has been selected to receive a 2020 Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

Vienna is interested in wildlife conservation and consistent with this, has been conducting research with Dr. Zach Olson, Associate Professor of Psychology and core faculty member in the Animal Behavior program. In one of her projects Vienna and Dr. Olson developed an experiment to test if a novel method of detecting bats using environmental DNA (eDNA) would work. In another project, Vienna and Dr. Olson explored eDNA detection of Northern bog lemmings. These collaborative projects has already been presented at a professional meeting and publications are in progress. Vienna has also previously conducted field work on seabirds on the west coast.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Goldwater Scholarship, here’s a brief description from their website:

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

By providing scholarships to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering, the Goldwater Foundation is helping ensure that the U.S. is producing the number of highly-qualified professionals the Nation needs in these critical fields. Over its 30-year history, Goldwater Scholarships have been awarded to thousands of undergraduates, many of whom have gone on to win other prestigious awards like the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship, Rhodes Scholarship, Churchill Scholarship and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship that support our Scholars’ graduate school work. Today, Goldwater alumni can be found conducting research that is helping defend the Nation, finding cures for catastrophic diseases and teaching future generations of scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

Only 396 college students from the United States were selected for Goldwater Scholarships this year, putting Vienna in very good company.

Dr. Olson nominated Vienna for the award and shared the following thoughts about her and her work:

Vienna came to the [research] work with ideas, a fantastic ability to organize and trouble shoot, and most importantly had the drive to see the work through. … I have been impressed by her poise, focus, and clear professionalism when it comes to both her classes and certainly her research. …. Vienna has an inquisitive nature, and my conversations with her have revealed a deep passion for wildlife conservation.

personal communication from Z. Olson

We congratulate Vienna for this amazing accomplishment and look forward to her work over the next two years here at UNE!

For more information about the Animal Behavior major and the research projects that faculty and students within our department are conducting, please visit

Why You should study Animal Behavior, Neuroscience, and Psychology at UNE!

Are you thinking about starting college soon? Trying to decide whether UNE might be the right home for you? Are you interested in Animal Behavior, Neuroscience, or Psychology?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you’re in the right place. We have three videos for you to learn from our current students about what they love about UNE and our majors. Watch just one or all three and learn about what make UNE an amazing place to be!

Animal Behavior Major

Watch Animal Behavior students and Dr. Zach Olson talk about their major here:

Neuroscience Major

Watch Neuroscience students and Dr. Glenn Stevenson talk about their major here:

Psychology Major

Watch Psychology students and Dr. Jennifer Steigler-Balfour talk about their major here:


Want to learn more about Psychology, Neuroscience, or Animal Behavior at UNE? Be sure to read more on our blog or visit our webpages:

Students in ANB, NEU, PSY, Art Therapy, and MHR sweep the awards!

On April 28, 2020, at the 2019-2020 University of New England Biddeford Campus Awards Ceremony, the winners of a number of university distinctions were announced. The faculty and staff of the Psychology Department are pleased to report that majors and minors from Animal Behavior, Neuroscience, Psychology, Art Therapy, and Mental Health Rehabilitation received 17 (yes seventeen!!) awards. In addition, 23 students were recognized for their induction into PSI CHI, the national honors’ society in Psychology.

I’d encourage you to watch the recorded Awards Ceremony to hear about the amazing accomplishments of these very talented students!

Here I’ll simply acknowledge each of the award winners and extend the congratulations of all the faculty and staff affiliated with the Psychology, Neuroscience, Animal Behavior, Art Therapy, and Mental Health Rehabilitation programs [awardees are listed in the order they were acknowledged in the award ceremony so you can skip ahead in the video if you’d like to hear the accolades for specific students].

Twenty-three students were recognized for their induction into PSI CHI, the national honors’ society in Psychology
Victoria Fitzpatrick, an Art Therapy minor, received the Outstanding Student Award for Art
Olivia Scott, an Art Therapy minor, received the Outstanding Student Award for Biological Sciences
No you aren’t seeing double! Olivia was also selected for the Outstanding Student Award for Environmental Science
Katy Lowe, a Neuroscience major, received the Outstanding Student Award for Biophysics
Grace Farrington, Psychology major and Mental Health minor, received the Outstanding Student Award for Philosophy
Hannah Christian, Psychology major and Mental Heath minor, received the Outstanding Student Award for Psychology
Cassie Trask, Neuroscience major and Mental Health minor, received the Outstanding Student Award for Neuroscience
Elissa Cady, Animal Behavior major, received the Outstanding Student Award for Animal Behavior
Another double winner! Grace Farrington, Psychology major and Mental Health minor, received the Outstanding Student Award for Women’s and Gender Studies
For the second year in a row, Tarryn Nutt, Animal Behavior major, received the Jessica Cox Henderson 1886 Award for Activism from the Women’s and Gender Studies Program
Meagan Accardi, Art Therapy minor, received the Senior Scholar-Athlete Award
Courtney Dumont, Animal Behavior minor, received the Global Education Award
Kylee Harrington, Neuroscience major, received the Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Award for Medicine and Public Health
WOW – our third double winner! Hannah Christian, Psychology major and Mental Health minor, received the Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Award for Social Sciences
Nicole Martin, Psychology major and Neuroscience minor, received the Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Award for Social Sciences
Aubrey Sahouria, Neuroscience, received the Sophomore Award for Academic Excellence
Mariah Berchulski, Neuroscience major, received the Junior Award for Academic Excellence

Congratulations to all of these winners and the many other students from our programs who were nominated for the awards this year!

To learn more about the Animal Behavior, Neuroscience, Psychology, Art Therapy, and Mental Health Rehabilitation programs, please visit our website at:

My internship at Huntington Commons, Kennebunk, ME

A guest post by Rebecca Sanda about her PSY 300 internship

In Spring 2019 I completed my internship at Huntington Commons in Kennebunk. This is a senior community of the company Sunrise Senior Living. Their main focus is allowing individuals to “age in place,” which allows residents to make the one time move into a senior community rather than jumping from facility to facility to accommodate their needs.  I worked in the Assisted Living facility. The residents in Assisted Living vary in care needs. Some are relatively independent while others depend on staff for most things (i.e., dressing, toileting, showering, grooming, walking, transferring from chair to bed, as well as eating).  My position at Bradford was called a Care Manager. Care Managers are either PSS or CNA certified. During my internship I worked on obtaining my PSS which the company pays for.  A typical shift for me was from 2:00pm until 10pm and mainly involved bedtime care.

Though this job was both mentally and physically demanding, I formed some really great bonds with a lot of the residents. This has been the most valuable and most rewarding aspect for me. I got really close with one resident in particular who was a school psychologist in the area. She, like many other residents, shared many parts of her life with me. During one of my shifts, this resident told me I was the best caretaker she had ever had and that I was very special to her. This was so rewarding to hear.

The most difficult part of this position was the population I worked with. Because the residents are at end of life, most are already on Hospice care. The goal of their care  is more about making them comfortable and caring for their needs rather than rehabilitating. On one hand, I learned so much about caring for people and made meaningful connections but on the other hand I had to say goodbye to them too. One motivating factor to work in this population would be to increase the quality of care elderly in our country get. It seems pretty apparent to me that the elderly are not necessarily seen as adults anymore and do not always receive the best care.            

Working in this environment has enabled me to make connections between concepts learned throughout the psychology program here at UNE and real-world experiences. One major concept I have thought back on a lot has been Erikson’s stages of development. Having the background knowledge of the different stages in life has better equipped me to handle certain situations with residents at my internship. This position requires the practice of empathy and I have seen how much of a difference this can make. Just listening to and validating someone’s feelings has worked in every instance I have used it here. Lastly, I have reflected a lot on material from the Theories of Counseling course I took with Dr. Morrison. In this class we devoted each week to a different school of therapy. With these concepts in mind, I have done my best to interact with each resident in meaningful ways that validate their struggles as a member of this community and population. This internship has definitely had its challenging moments, however I am grateful to have met so many wonderful individuals and I feel as though I am learning so much about helping others.

Our thanks to Rebecca for sharing her experience with us. All Psychology majors complete at least one internship, PSY 300, as part of their degree and work closely with a faculty supervisor as part of the experience.

Congrats to Mackenzie Deveau (PSY, ’19) and Dr. Peterson

Be sure to check out the amazing work that Mackenzie Deveau and Dr. Julie Peterson, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Women and Gender Studies Program, have been conducting!

To learn more about the research experiences in which students in the Psychology, Animal Behavior, and Neuroscience program can get involved, check out our faculty descriptions:

The Importance of Self Care in College Students

A guest post by Ashley Moore, Visiting Assistant Lecturer, Department of Psychology, UNE

Professor Ashley Moore is a full-time, visiting lecturer here at UNE as well as a mental health clinician.  Prof.  Moore’s clinical specialization is in Behavioral Medicine by training, but by practice she has carved out a niche working with emerging adults and college students.  College students are a joy to work with, as they are often filled with hope, motivation, and incredible insight.  However, they also face some unique challenges.

Survey data from universities and colleges across the United States suggest that mental health issues in college students appear to be on the rise, and have been for the past ten years (Oswalt et al., 2018).  Why, you ask?  Well it isn’t hard to guess.  Ask any college student you know what their schedule is like, and they will likely present you with a mini-monologue that includes classes, work schedules (for sometimes more than one job), internships, research labs, and club/organization meetings. Not to mention they’re also trying to maintain some sort of a social life!  When it comes down to it, college students have some pretty packed schedules, and they are experiencing burn out because of it.

“Burn out” is a very real phenomenon that occurs when someone’s job or lifestyle leaves them feeling physically and/or emotionally exhausted.  Someone experiencing burn out likely will not have the sort of reserves that others will have for coping with stressors, and this leads to increased risk for many different mental health concerns.  How do we cope with burn out and exhaustion due to busy schedules? Professor Moore believes that self- care is one of the most important strategies we have.  Self-care does not need to look like bubble baths, Netflix binging, and pints of ice cream (although appropriate portions of ice cream are never a bad thing…) Self-care can be split into two major categories; the first containing actions such as going to the gym, eating healthy foods, and seeing a therapist, and the second containing actions that are meant to sooth, nurture, and “fill one’s cup.” 

Try this exercise to create your own self-care plan, and remember the most important part:  self-care is most effective when it is practiced BEFORE we feel exhausted, burnt out, and as though we are struggling. Self-care is prevention, and it is absolutely necessary.

Self-Care Exercise:

  1. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. 
  2. On one side of the line, list all the strategies you know that are important for your physical and mental well-being.
    1. EG: going to the gym, going for an annual physical, eating healthy foods, etc.
  3. One the other side of the line, list (healthy) things that you like to do that bring you joy.
    1. EG: going out to dinner with friends, coloring or painting, watching a favorite show on Netflix.
  4. Now make your personal self-care plan! Choose 2-4 things from each side that feel manageable and most important to you, and list them on a new piece of paper.  Remember, you don’t want to list so many things that self-care feels like a chore! 
  5. Commit to practicing one self-care strategy from your list each day for one week. When your practice your self-care strategy, try to really focus on the fact that you are doing something just for YOU.  Because you deserve care and nurturing too!
  6. Post your self-care plan somewhere you can see it, and pay attention to how you feel over the next week.  Remember, you can always change or adjust your self-care plan.  This is all about taking care of yourself, in whatever way works best for you.


Oswalt, S. B., Lederer, A. M., Chestnut-Steich, K., Day, C., Halbriter, A., & Ortiz, D. (2018). Trends in college students’ mental health diagnoses and utilization of services, 2009-2015.      Journal of American College Health.

My internship at Seeds of Hope, Biddeford, ME

A guest post by Mark Stubbs about the work he completed as part of PSY 300, Internship

For my internship in the Spring 2019 semester I chose to work at a center that provides a meal, career services, and compassion to the Southern Maine community. Seeds of Hope is a nonprofit organization located in Biddeford, ME. Seeds of Hope has a mission statement “It all begins with a meal,” which guides the directors and volunteers. Individuals cannot properly live without food and, as basic as this might seem, it definitely serves as a great reminder to those who have been privileged enough to never have had to worry about eating. Seeds of Hope primarily works to provide continental breakfast/lunch meals to those who are food insecure. For 4 hours every day of the business week, Seeds of Hope is open for public use. The individuals who utilize these services are commonly in poverty, struggle with homelessness, or are simply in a tight spot in life.

Seeds of Hope does not only offer meal services, they also offer supplies needed by this population. They offer clothing, personal hygiene items, sleep items, as well as miscellaneous items, which all come to the site as donations. Seeds of Hope houses these donations and either gives them away to groups of individuals or hands them out to individuals through personal request. Another large part of what Seeds of Hope offers is career services. The site has a career services center for those who are looking for employment, need to learn how to construct a resume, or need to use a computer for any other reason. Seeds of Hope helps individuals stabilize their own situations through offering unconditional positive regard as well as resources they cannot easily find elsewhere.

I chose this internship because of the population it aims to assist. The homeless and food insecure population in Southern Maine is growing, and there aren’t many solutions being offered. While Seeds of Hope doesn’t completely solve the problems of these individuals, it does offer immediate relief through breaking bread, interacting socially, and reloading on needed supplies. I respect how personable the site is. Seeds of Hope does not pretend to be something it isn’t — it is a small site that offers basic resources. However, the manner in which these resources are delivered is incredibly social and done with dignity.

Everyone that enters the establishment is treated with respect and has their needs met to the best of the staff’s abilities. A lot of the individuals are regulars at the site and because of this many of them have become friends. They bond over similar life experiences and are able to do so successfully in the common room of the site. Every day is a loud one, as there are many smiles and laughs booming throughout the site. For many of these people, Seeds of Hope is the only location where they receive social interaction of any kind, which is why it’s so incredible to witness, as well as be a part of, the day-to-day operations of the site. I am lucky enough to see people express pure joy and thankfulness, as well as a sense of togetherness. I have never been a part of any organization that has shown me something like this before. There is such a deep level of connection among everyone; it is almost tangible. I think this was perhaps my favorite aspect of interning here. Even if it was for just a few hours, I was able to see people genuinely happy. I got to assist in giving back to a community of individuals who really needed it.

For me, the most obvious psychological principle to relate my internship experience to is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s hierarchy says that we have to meet certain internal requirements in order to survive, function, and progress through life. At the bottom of the hierarchy are our physiological needs, such as food and shelter. Virtually all of the individuals who come to Seeds of Hope struggle with the maintenance of this first stage. Because of this struggle, they are unable to focus on other areas of life. One cannot worry about interpersonal relationships or career opportunities while also being food insecure. We have to have a reliable presence of food and shelter before we can concern ourselves with other stages of the hierarchy. This first stage is important to be met because it prevents life progress, this is why programs like Seeds of Hope are so important, they help individuals with this exact stage.

While this internship experience (PSY 300) is focused mainly on volunteer work, there are definitely some career options that are related. I could work with VA, offering support to veterans who find themselves in life situations similar to the ones I’ve seen at Seeds of Hope. I could also become a counselor for those who are homeless and food insecure. I could help provide insight and guidance in order to assist in successful life changes. Lastly, I could also become an outreach worker, an individual who works for the promotion of programs. These programs would be offered to the homeless, and it would be my job to spread awareness of these programs/services as well as recruit business from individuals. Most jobs in this field are voluntary; they do not offer any kind of monetary payment. However, there are some occupations such as these that allow for the same type of work but indeed for payment. The skills I’ve learned in my internship will allow me to become a stronger candidate for these positions. I can continue working with these populations in order to fight the big battle against Southern Maine homelessness.

Thanks to Mark for sharing his experience as part of PSY 300. All psychology majors complete at least one internship as part of their major and work closely with a faculty member throughout the experience.

My internship at Caring Unlimited, Sanford, ME

A guest post by Emily Mott about her internship as part of PSY 300.

In Spring 2019 I interned at Caring Unlimited (CU), which is a domestic violence service organization based out of Sanford, Maine. CU offers many services to the community such as: direct service programs, a 24-hr hotline, outreach services/support groups, legal assistance and court advocacy, emergency shelter, transitional housing and services, along with parent support services. My internship was a mix of many of these things. I spent time working with the Hotline and Volunteer Services Coordinator, working on their online system, organizing a volunteer appreciation event, and putting together training materials and informational packets. I also participated in a week-long training to be certified in Maine to work on any domestic violence hotline. I picked up many skills from this training to use when staffing the hotline. I also spent time each week in “kidcare” which is when we spend time with the kids of the people who are taking advantage of a support group that is offered so that they won’t have to worry about getting childcare during that time.

My focus, and the main reason I pursued interning at Caring Unlimited, is to be a child advocacy lawyer, and I am interested in working with domestic violence survivors. Betsy, my supervisor, worked to create a legal intern position for me, which is exciting. This experience provided me with hands on experience in the court of law, even before applying to law school. I had the chance to work with court advocates, mostly on protection from abuse orders, but also on other family, or domestic violence matters. This internship allowed me to make connections in the field and helped me gain valuable experience and skills relevant to my life.

Our thanks to Emily for sharing her thoughts on her internship. All psychology majors complete at least one internship, PSY 300, as part of their degree.

Prof Perazio spends time with humpback whales in the Gulf of Tribugá

A guest post by Professor Christina Perazio, Assistant Lecturer

When I’m not teaching students about killer whale ecotypes, tool use in animals, or how to design a valid research study, you can find me recording and analyzing the acoustic behavior of humpback whales. This past 2019 summer field season marked the 7th and final year of data collection towards my dissertation investigating long-term and global changes in humpback whale song.

Through collaborations with Macuáticos Colombia and the PHySIC Project (Ports, Humpbacks, y Sound in Colombia), I have been recording humpback whales since 2013 in their breeding grounds along the Pacific coast of Colombia. This distinct population segment (DPS) of humpback wales migrates north from Antarctica and southern Chile to breed in waters off the coast of Colombia and Panama. Song has long been suggested to be a complex vocal display used by males to increase mating success, although many specific hypotheses have been proposed and debated in the literature. Along with my colleagues, our team has been the first to publish on the song of stock G in the Colombian Pacific using over-the-side and bottom-mounted hydrophones (underwater microphones used to record vocalizations of both whales and dolphins).

The Gulf of Tribugá is one of the remaining pristine marine habitats for humpback whales and has recently been listed as a Hope Spot by Mission Blue due to its biodiversity. With the proposed construction of a marine port in the locality of Tribugá by the Colombian government, this habitat is being threatened. Along with my colleagues I am trying to better understand how humpback whales might be able to flexibly change their acoustic behavior in response to inevitable changes in their environment by understanding the role that song plays in their lives.

Check out @physicolombia or @macuaticos for more information!

You can learn more about whales, other marine mammals, and other animals in general as part of the Animal Behavior major and minor. Check out our webpages at