UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Gillian Warner, a rising junior in community, environment, and development, is passionate about animals, food security and learning. She found a place for all these interests -- and more -- in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
“I wanted to get a broad range of experiences and keep all of my options open," said Warner, who also is minoring in international agriculture.
"Penn State has given me so many opportunities. I’ve explored a range of career choices, worked at internships in a variety of fields and had some really encouraging instructors. The College of Ag Sciences has been so supportive when it comes to international opportunities, too, whether that’s through scholarships, travel experiences or even courses offered at University Park.”
On the animal science side, Warner, of State College, is a lifelong horsewoman and a member of the small and exotic animals club at the University.
“When I found that club, it turned out to be a great opportunity to meet other students with similar interests in learning about and working with animals,” she said. Warner is working with a professional rider this summer to train horses and compete in different events.
Last summer, Warner completed a volunteer program at Penn State's Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. The position lasted into the spring, and as a “townie,” she said it was a dream getting to work at the center. “I grew up going to Shaver’s Creek summer camps and being able to go back and volunteer felt like bringing the experience full circle.”
Warner and other volunteers worked with the center’s birds of prey, taking care of birds that are unable to return to the wild due to injury. As volunteers move through the training program, they are given more responsibilities and work more closely with the birds. This includes feeding and training the birds through positive reinforcement.
“There are all kinds of birds, from vultures to hawks to owls,” she said. “Having the opportunity to work with a such a varied group made the experience even more incredible.”