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b2ap3_thumbnail_5-19-Narasimhan-1.jpgI’ve been at the sanctuary for a few days now, and I am already immersed in the several projects going on here. I am learning so much. While the babies are adorable and fun to play with, I am falling in love with the capuchins. 

Their intelligence is so obvious when you spend even a small amount of time with them. Every time I enter their enclosure, they embrace me quickly and then search my pockets for hidden almonds I may have brought for them. After that, we settle down for a grooming session. I usually groom Angie while Ace sits on my shoulder and grooms me. It is easy to forget, however, that these are wild animals and not pets.

I’ve been trained in how to read their body language and facial expressions. For example, when upset, caps will bare their teeth in a way that almost looks like they are smiling. This is similar to their play face, so when working with them, you have to always be aware of how they are feeling and behaving.

Because they have to live in an enclosure while they are being rehabilitated, it is easy for these intelligent creatures to become bored. We try to provide as much enrichment for them as possible, and part of everyday is dedicated to that. We often rearrange their enclosure, so branches are in different positions than they were before and new ones are added. We also hide their food in interesting places and design fun toys for them. Some favorites of theirs are colored paper or egg cartons with yummy peanut butter.

We also have to watch for stereotypic behaviors they might exhibit. These are behaviors that are common in animals in captivity, and are usually a sign of distress or boredom. Lately Ace has been doing a quick head roll, almost like a twitch. This is a common behavior in capuchins in captivity, but it isn’t clear what it means or how to prevent it.

Another cool thing with capuchins is their territorial behavior. When trying to ward off enemies or demonstrating dominance, caps will break and shake branches. It’s actually quite terrifying to be on the receiving end of one of these encounters. We try to keep the wild caps away from the ones in our care, as they take their food and make Angie nervous, so part of the job is breaking and shaking branches at them in return. I’ve had a couple showdowns with some wild caps, and they are extremely intimidating.

I’m learning so much about animal behavior and husbandry, and loving every second of it!


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b2ap3_thumbnail_5-8-Narasimhan.jpgMeet Rachel Narasimhan, a senior biology major at Waynesburg University. This summer, she will be interning at the Aloutta Sanctuary in Panama. She plans to share her experiences right here on the Waynesburg blog.

Hi! My name is Rachel Narasimhan, and I am entering my senior year at Waynesburg University. I am a biology major with a psychology minor. I am extremely interested in animal behavior, especially that of primates. I am going to be spending one month here at Aloutta Sanctuary, located on the Chiriqui Penninsula of Panama. It is a rehabilitation center as well as a field research station. Its main focus is mantled howler monkeys. 

It is my second day at the sanctuary, and I am learning and experiencing so much. The sanctuary has been doing amazing work, and has rehabbed and released over a dozen animals back into the wild. 

Right now we are home to two capuchin monkeys, Angie and Ace, two Geoffroy’s Tamarins, Razorblade and Mr. T, and two baby howlers, Rugby and Stevie. I’ve gotten to work hands on with all of them, and they are a handful. The capuchins are so so so smart. Angie, who came to the sanctuary in February, was tied to a pole at a gas station for an estimated ten years. She is very friendly and sweet, but gets anxious quickly when other wild caps come around her enclosure. Ace is young and rambunctious, and is a good playmate for Angie.

The Geoffrey Tamarins do not get along, so they are housed separately. If you feed Mr. T before Razorblade, Razorblade will freak out. Alone, they are wonderful little creatures who will hop all over you when you greet them. The howlers, affectionately known here as the babies, are something else. They require the most attention and they certainly love every second of it. Stevie and her mother were electrocuted by a wire when she was very young, resulting in her mother’s death and the loss of her eyesight. I am amazed at how good of a monkey Stevie still is. She climbs fearlessly in and out of trees and keeps up with Rugby just fine.

The other interns and managers have been really welcoming and helpful with my transition, but it is a lot to handle. The bugs are biting all the time, and the heat is suffocating. My first day here, I had sort of a meltdown. I’m extremely homesick and the difficulty of living in the middle of the jungle got to me. I was on baby duty at the time. Stevie, sensing my fear and sadness, climbed into my lap and cupped my chin in her hands. We locked eyes, and I think she was trying to tell me to stick it out. I’ll never forget the look she gave me and how she made me feel so much better in that moment. I’m still having a hard time adjusting, but the monkeys make it worth it.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1538.jpgMeet Jerry Lawman, a junior international business major at Waynesburg University. This semester, he will be interning at Bosch in Germany and will share his experiences right here on the Waynesburg blog. 

I am a junior International Business major here at Waynesburg and I am currently interning in the Controlling Department for Bosch in Ludwigsburg, Germany. I knew from the beginning that this international internship was going to be a huge step out of my comfort zone, especially because I’ve never traveled outside of the U.S. 

It was my first flight overseas and I arrived in Stuttgart, Germany on January 28 with no plans on where to stay until I moved into my apartment February 1. I figured it would be a fun experience to figure everything out when I got there, and it was! I met so many helpful people. 

My first step was to get a German SIM card for my phone. From there, two men helped me book a hostel and helped me carry my luggage all the way there. I was shocked by how helpful they were. They said they have a saying in China, “If you are going to help someone, you help them all the way through.” 

After my jet lag wore off the next day, I started to explore the city of Stuttgart. It is one of the biggest cities I have ever been to. This is also the first time I have ever used public transportation, so the trains and buses took me a couple days to figure how everything worked. My stay at the hostel was a great experience, however. I met people from all over the world like Argentina, Jordan, Australia, India, Turkey and Germany as well. Many of them are now my friends on Facebook and we will probably stay in touch. 

I met many other people on the streets while exploring; because I was lost, people would help me get to where I needed to go and some of these people I am now friends with. It is just crazy how many people you meet when you go to a different country like this.  

I finally moved in to my apartment the day before I started work and my landlord was very helpful to me and helped me find out how to register at the town hall and even let me use some extra bedding because I could not pack my own bedding. It is a furnished six person shared apartment, however, and there will be all interns living here who will work for Porsche and Komet. 

They helped me find out my route for my first day of work and other things that would have been hard to do by myself. It takes me about 40 minutes to get to work and I arrive about 20 to 30 minutes early every day. I made sure to make a good first impression by wearing a suit my first day and wearing a nice shirt and tie every day after. 

I was introduced to everyone in the controlling department where I will work, and everyone speaks at least a little English so I can communicate with everyone. The first few days I started to learn some of my tasks and what I will be doing. A lot of my work will involve Excel, but the first few days I had to learn Excel in German so it was very difficult at first. 

I am trying to learn as much as I can from the two other interns, as they will be done with their internships in a couple weeks - then I will be the only intern in this department. Our main tasks include resources controlling, business planning, monthly business reporting and other controlling related activities. 

In my first week of work, I tried to show my willingness to learn and perform, as well as show them how I can be proactive and a strong team player. Being the only American in my department at Bosch is definitely a great experience to learn about cultures different from my own. 

About Bosch: Bosch home appliances is part of BSH, BSH Home Appliances Group, based in Munich, Germany. As part of the third largest appliance manufacturer in the world, Bosch has been selling high performance German-engineered major home appliances and cooking appliances in the United States since 1991. Known nationwide for raising the standards in appliance quietness, efficiency and integrated design, Bosch frequently receives top ratings in leading consumer publications and is the winner of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Energy Star® Sustained Excellence Award. With U.S. headquarters in Irvine, CA, the company operates an appliance park in New Bern, North Carolina, comprised of state-of-the-art factories for dishwashers, ranges, ovens and cooktops.


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Paul R. Stewart Museum

Did you know that Waynesburg University has its very own museum? The basement of Miller Hall is dedicated to the historic preservations of this University. After taking a stroll through the museum, I took a moment to ponder why I hadn’t gone to see it sooner in my college career! There are so many interesting artifacts like course catalogues from the 1800s, drawings from one of the first female graduates and an old football used to win the championship game decades ago. Even though current students weren’t a part of those times, we are still connected and folded into the purpose of this institution. It was fascinating to see how much the University has grown since 1849 and how the traditions from that era have remained steady and strong.

Read the syllabus AND keep it handy

Let me make this very clear. The syllabus is your best friend. Do not make the mistake of shoving it far into the bottom of your backpack on the first day of class and never looking at it again. Keep a syllabus for each class handy so you can refer back to it when necessary.

*True Story* - Recently, I had a professor who started handing out an exam immediately after walking into the classroom. Unfortunately, most of the class, including myself, did not remember there was an exam that day. The professor proceeded to explain that the *syllabus* has every exam clearly listed out for the entire semester. Don’t be the student to make this same mistake! Read the syllabus, highlight and mark down dates in your planner. Your future self will thank you.

Seniors, take your resume to Marie Coffman

If you’re like me and the sound of the word “resume” makes you shudder in despair, I suggest you take a trip to the third floor of Stover and knock on Marie Coffman’s door. She is the Director of Career Services and Placement and is an aid to any student who needs help with resumes, cover letters, references, etc. After speaking to several of my classmates, I felt strongly encouraged to seek her assistance with my future career planning. Waynesburg University has a plethora of people who are here to help students. Utilize these resources while you can!

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 “Why faith?” I heard some of my classmates ask towards the end of class. “Why not focus more on learning instead?”

I sat quietly in the corner of the room listening to the conversation between my classmates, and realized I had never really thought much about it before. Waynesburg University and faith had always gone hand-in-hand for me. It’s one of the many reasons I chose this school. But what is it that makes faith such an important element to a Christian campus like Waynesburg? That’s what my classmates wanted to know, and that was the question that kept drumming through my head for the rest of the day.

As my classmates began packing their things, quickly transitioning into various other conversations, I remained silent, thinking. Even as I exited the room, my thumbs hooked through the straps of my book bag, the question kept presenting itself to me. Why faith?

When I reflect back on my college career I remember weekly Chapel services, Sunday night student-led worship services, heart-to-hearts with professors—all things that have influenced my experience at Waynesburg. Everything I have learned throughout my four years here has somehow referenced back to my faith, causing me to grow in ways I never imagined I could.

So, why is faith so important? In my own words, this is what I came up with:

  • Faith is the foundation, not only to Waynesburg University, but also in many of our lives—it’s where things began. When we look back at our history, not only as a University, but also as a country, faith was the driving force that got us on our feet, something we proudly fought for and defended. With that foundation, even when the walls shake and crumble, there is always hope for restoration.
  • Faith is a source of joy, hope and love. I know how hard it is not to fall into the selfish, materialistic ways of society. What’s in it for me seems to be the mantra of the world today. Through my experience, this constant push to be perfect only leads to self-destruction, but when we focus our lives on faith instead, we realize just how perfect we are in God’s eyes. It’s not about what we wear, what we look like or how much money we have; it’s about finding ourselves lost in the beautiful, boundless love of Christ. Through faith, we can experience a joyful, hopeful, loving way of life, free of charge.
  • Faith pushes our boundaries. One of the things I have loved and hated most about my faith is that it challenges me to think beyond my reasoning and pushes me out of my comfort zone. Faith is not about being comfortable and it’s certainly not easy, but when we find ourselves wrapped up in it, the end result is nothing short of rewarding. When I find myself questioning anything, including my faith, I find myself learning. This is what makes the pairing of faith and learning together so endearing to me. A well-developed faith often comes through trial and error, much like learning a skill in the classroom. Sometimes we get it, sometimes we don’t, but just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean the answer isn’t out there. Often times it takes patience and a willingness to accept things through a fresh set of eyes.
  • Faith gives us something to look forward to both today and in the future to come. When everything else seems to fall apart, faith is the crutch we are given to help us stand. God wants us to come to Him with our problems. He wants us to know that through Him all things are possible. With Him, nothing can tear us a part. Through our faith, we know God has promised us a future, even as we step into the unknown. This gives me the strength to get out of bed each morning despite my racing anxieties of what the future holds. For, I am a child of God.


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