Jordan Wolfkill at the Big Valley Animal Hospital

Pet Project

Jordan Wolfkill shares experiences from his internship at Big Valley Animal Hospital.

Biology Internship Spotlight

Jordan Wolfkill
Biology major, chemistry minor
Big Valley Animal Hospital summer internship, Reedsville, PA

I was able to do an internship at Big Valley Animal Hospital in my hometown, Reedsville, Pennsylvania. I want to attend veterinary school, so this was a perfect opportunity for me.

I assisted with things like trimming nails, administering vaccines, drawing blood, and running blood tests. At times, I was able to be in the exam rooms with doctors and could see how they interacted with patients and their owners. I went on some farm visits and watched the vets work with cows. I hadn’t had any prior experience in that area, so it was interesting to see that side of veterinary medicine. I was also able to observe a few surgeries in the hospital and watch an emergency c-section. A family brought in a dog that had already given birth to two puppies but another one was stuck. I was able to be a part of the process from start to finish, right down to drying one of the newborn puppies off.

The internship was well rounded and very eye opening for me. Before working at Big Valley, I had this idealistic view of what being a vet is. But I learned that the job entails so much more than I originally thought. I am up for the challenge ahead, though, and the internship affirmed that this really is what I want to do with my life. I love working with animals and all of the science that goes along with that work.

By working closely with the veterinarians, I learned how to be professional and conduct myself in some very tough situations. When people have health problems, there is usually insurance to help pay for treatment. But with animals, a deciding factor for whether someone will get their pet treatment is often money. Sometimes you may not agree with an owner’s decision, but you have to respect their wishes.

My classes here at Penn State Altoona definitely prepared me for my internship by giving me a foundation of knowledge that I could then put to use at the hospital through hands-on work. I plan to apply to graduate school at Virginia Tech and Ohio State, and having this experience on my resume could impact whether I’m accepted.

Students should absolutely look for and accept internships. The opportunities they will get and what they will learn are things not found in a book or a class. I never dreaded getting up and going to work, and I took away more from my internship than I ever thought possible. In fact, because of my internship, the hospital hired me full-time this summer, which is very exciting for me. I will get paid, but I will also be able to do more as an employee and gain more experience. 


To learn more about internships, please contact Tom Shaffer, academic internship coordinator, at tls24@psu.edu or 814-949-5789.