Summertime Standouts: College of Agricultural Sciences

Kevin Abeyta, animal science

Abeyta feeds the only girl bear cub, Finn.Feeding the bears – oh my.

When Kevin Abeyta, a senior majoring in animal science, began his summer internship at Yellowstone Bear World, stepping into bear enclosures was not something he did every day. Now, he does that and much more six days a week, working 12 hour days feeding bears, ensuring that fences are safe and stable, helping park guests bottle feed bear cubs and giving tours of the grounds.

“We do a lot make sure the bears are comfortable, safe and well-fed,” said Abeyta. “Obviously our safety and the safety of the bears and other animals are a primary concern. These are still wild animals but each bear has his or her own personality and character. It has been great to get to know them all.”

Work isn’t always glamorous at the drive-thru wildlife park located in Rexburg, Idaho. Bear cubs can make quite a mess and cleaning their enclosure is a daily, early morning activity. Abeyta and his colleagues also carry with them bear spray and other deterrents should the bears become threatening to them or visitors. Abeyta said the spray is only carried when the staff is on patrol and would only be used as last resort. The spray has never been needed while he has been at the park. “What is amazing is that the bears can learn words such as ‘no’ and ‘leave it,’ ” said Abeyta. “I would say that we have a mutual respect for each other and that we learn to interact with them on their terms. Ultimately, this is their world – we are just guests.”

Not only has the internship helped Abeyta learn more about the inner-workings of a wildlife park, he has also learned a great deal about animal behavior. Interacting with a number of animals, identifying queues that suggest animals are in distress, and assisting veterinarians with animal care are just a few of the other skills that Abeyta has gained from his time working, and living, at the park.

In addition to both grizzly bears and black bears, the park is also host to a number of other animals including Rocky Mountain elk, bison, white-tail deer, mule deer, Rocky Mountain goats, moose and gray wolves.

The park hires many of its interns for full-time positions, a possibility for Abeyta as his looks forward to his May 2017 graduation. “Being hands-on with the animals has been an incredible experience,” said Abeyta. “My hope is to go on to vet school and work with either large animals, such as bears, or livestock.”

Abeyta said he could go on for hours about this incredible experience and how much he has learned about bear personalities – but the bear cubs need their bottles.

For more information on Yellowstone Bear World, visit their website.

Magdalena Arbes, equine sciences

Magdalena ArbesInternational marketing intern sounds like a pretty cool title. Assigned to help leverage the global influence of the American Quarter Horse Association, equine sciences senior Magdalena Arbes worked on surveys, published blogs, and developed special media during her internship in Amarillo, TX throughout the summer of 2016.

“It was an incredible experience to be part of an association such as AQHA,” said Arbes. “Not only do I say this because I love the American Quarter Horse and all it represents, but mainly because AQHA symbolizes love and passion for its mission of maintaining the integrity of the breed.”

Arbes’s main project was to create an international AQHA membership survey. The answers will help AQHA’s leadership assess how the organization is doing in meeting the needs of its international members. The survey is intended to produce a valuable composite profile of AQHA’s international members, their attitudes, shopping habits and preferences.

In addition to her survey work, Arbes also wrote blogs and press releases, took over social media accounts, designed apparel, photographed events, was published in AQHA’s magazine, America’s Horse, and helped with the planning and management of large events such as the Youth Excellence Seminar as well as the National Day of the Cowboy. She also spent 10 days at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show in Oklahoma City and was in charge of the Live Break/Webcast Videos, as well as helped with a variety of tasks at the event.

“I have always known that the education outside the classroom is just as (if not more) important as the education we receive inside the lecture halls,” said Arbes. “Out in the ‘real’ world is where we grow. Out there is where we find if we are on the right track. Out there is where we learn to love what we have been studying for all along.”

Arbes came to Colorado State University from Munich, Germany. Her love for horses and CSU’s top-rated equine sciences program drew her to Colorado. When she graduates in December 2016, she hopes to attend graduate school and receive her masters of science in equine business and leadership. Arbes would like to pursue a career in the equine industry, focusing on international relations and communications.

About the American Quarter Horse Association

The American Quarter Horse Association is the world’s largest equine breed registry and membership organization. AQHA members share a passion for the American Quarter Horse and the vast lifestyle created by the world’s most popular horse. For more information, visit their website.