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Wildlife Externship

Wildlife Externship

The California Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center offer a four-week externship in Wildlife Medicine to senior veterinary students.


What is involved with this externship?
You will work side-by-side with CDFW and WHC leading wildlife veterinarians and pathologists. You will rotate primarily between CDFW's Wildlife Investigations Lab (WIL) in Rancho Cordova and different WHC partner organizations (such as wildlife rehabilitation centers), with variable time spent at the WHC and other CDFW facilities participating in ongoing field research projects and/or oil spill response. .

What is the focus of this externship?
This externship is focused solely on free-ranging wildlife health (veterinary medicine, research, and biology), with a particular emphasis on those activities undertaken by State and university wildlife veterinarians  As such, students interested more in the zoo/aquarium fields are encouraged to explore other opportunities.

What kind of experiences will I find in this externship?
Depending upon ongoing activities at the various facilities, you can expect to gain practical experience in wildlife immobilization and transport, captive care, and disease investigation and management. You will have the opportunity to work with a variety of species, such as hoofstock, carnivores, marine mammals and seabirds.

Will I do any research during the externship?
Externs are strongly encouraged to complete a research or laboratory project during the externship under the mentorship of a CDFW wildlife veterinarian.

What is the ideal participation window?
The best time to participate in wildlife capture opportunities is between October and February. 

Who covers the costs of participating?
A travel stipend of $2,000 - $2,500 (depending on number of externs accepted in the year) will be available for travel-related expenses during the externship (housing, airfare/mileage, meals), including expenses incurred during field captures (hotels, etc.). You will be responsible for organizing your own accommodations and transportation, and receipts will need to be submitted at the end of the externship for reimbursement.

What are the application requirements?
Please submit a letter of intent, a curriculum vitae, and two letters of reference. Letters should be from individuals who know you well and can speak to your experience, personality, and future capacity to/interest in being successful as a free-ranging wildlife veterinarian.

How many externs are selected yearly?
Typically, 2-4 students (out of 30-40 applications) are selected yearly.

When is my application due?
Applications are due September 1 of a student's third year (for placement in an externship in the student's fourth year). Please submit a letter of intent, a curriculum vitae and 2 letters of reference to Dr. Jamie Sherman or by mail to the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Dr. Sherman.

Previous Wildlife Health Veterinary Externs: 

  • Lynae Shubin
  • Kristen Tobin
  • Logan Weyand