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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_5-15Ohio-Honors_Payne-Wissler.jpgWaynesburg University has selected Payne Wissler of Chillicothe, Ohio, as the recipient of the Jeffrey and Regina Taussig Ohio Honors Scholarship. 

The prestigious award is given to one Ohio high school student interested in a career in mathematics or one of the sciences, and pays the complete tuition, room and board for the student’s four years at Waynesburg University. Through this scholarship, more than $120,000 is awarded to each recipient over the course of his or her four years at Waynesburg.

In addition to being an Ohio resident, recipients must display extraordinary academic, service and leadership skills. The recipient must also major in one of the areas of math or science.

Wissler demonstrates the ways in which he parallels the University’s commitment to faith, learning and service through his involvement with a number of extra-curricular and volunteer activities including Fellowship of Christian Students; national honor society; orchestra; student council; athletics; 4-H; Young Life; and tutoring and mentoring students in high-risk, low-income neighborhoods, among many others. In addition, Wissler holds a 4.267 GPA, which includes a number of honors courses. 

An active member of Walnut Street United Methodist Church for more than 10 years and a Sunday school teacher and Vacation Bible School leader for more than six years, Wissler has proven his natural gift of leadership, his commitment to his faith and the importance he places as serving as a positive role model.

“He is loved by children, respected by adults, and looked up to by his peers,” said Lori Lossie, Lead Pastor at Walnut Street United Methodist Church.

For Wissler, being selected as the recipient has changed the way he views his undergraduate education, he said.

“Because the scholarship covers both room and board, I will be able to focus on advancing my education, my faith and my service to the community without many of the burdens that college students typically face,” he said.

Wissler calls the scholarship an “enormous blessing” and is inspired by donors Jeffrey and Regina Taussig.

“Their generosity is life changing and their belief in Waynesburg University is one of the many reasons I chose Waynesburg University,” he said. “I hope to one day be able to set up a scholarship for a student as a legacy like the Taussigs were generous enough to do for me and many others. The words ‘thank you’ cannot completely capture the gratitude I wish to express to the Taussigs, but through my hard work and dedication while at Waynesburg I will strive to honor their generous blessing.”

Wissler credits the university’s “state of the art science facilities, acclaimed faculty and staff, and authentic and friendly students,” as additional reasons for his choice and confidence in Waynesburg.

“I am so excited to begin this next chapter of life at Waynesburg University,” Wissler said. I look forward to spending the next four years diving into all that Waynesburg University has to offer.”

Upon graduation, Wissler plans to pursue a career in dentistry.

Wissler is the son of Eric and Vicki Wissler. 

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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During the spring semester, a Waynesburg University education student designed and implemented a hands-on, educational program for a local preschool class as a service project, providing students with an out-of-the-box learning experience. 

Abigail Standley, sophomore early childhood education major from Gahanna, Ohio, combined a former graduate student’s memorial and the support of the Department of Education to create a sustainable program for children in the Community Action Southwest preschool program at Jefferson-Morgan Elementary School. 

Standley designed and presented a supplemental gardening unit for her preschool classroom, during which the students planted flower seeds and took a field trip to a nearby greenhouse, where they learned about gardening and growing plants.

The project began with a conversation between Standley and Pam Abbe, tutor coordinator and director of the Knox Learning Center at Waynesburg. Abbe’s daughter, Leah Abbe Zwerver, passed away June 14, 2008, after completing graduate studies at the University. Abbe developed a fund in her daughter’s memory with the goal of providing support to Waynesburg University Student Services for one-on-one cultural and environmental experiences between University students and public school students.

Standley decided to honor the goals of this memorial fund with her service learning project at the preschool. She worked closely with Debra Clarke, chair of the Department of Education and assistant professor of education, to develop and carry out the idea. Clarke attests that the process, in addition to working toward an admirable cause, helped Standley grow immensely as a student and servant.

All education majors at the University receive field placements each semester in a local classroom, where they are expected to assist the classroom teacher and complete tasks assigned by the teacher. 

“The project was intended to provide a special experience for the children at the field placement and to honor the memory of a former Waynesburg University student and local community member,” said Clarke. “Many, many hours of service were dedicated to the project planning and implementation. Standley learned a lot as she worked on the special service project.”

While field placements for sophomore level education students only require 12 weeks of twice a week, two-hour sessions in their assigned classroom, Standley plans to continue her service project for the duration of her time at the University.

“My entire goal of this project for this semester was to start out small and grow big by the time I graduate in 2017,” said Standley. “My ultimate goal is to have this be a permanent service project on campus in which all University students can participate. This would consist of University students going into local school districts to give them out-of-the-box opportunities within their educational experience.”

According to Clarke, Standley has exemplified the goals of the Department of Education, which aims to reflect the University’s mission of faith, learning and service in all activities.

“The Department of Education’s mission is to prepare teachers who embrace learning and dedicate themselves to service and leadership in the profession,” said Clarke. “Standley certainly embraced learning and developed quality leadership skills as she dedicated her efforts to the service activity."

As Standley continues to strengthen the relationship between the University and local schools, Clarke foresees the benefits of the initiative both for Standley’s future and for the future of the Department of Education.

“Standley learned to persevere, to be flexible, and to be open to the ideas of others. Overall, she acquired numerous planning and preparation skills that she will use as she completes her final two years of study in the Department of Education and prepares to move into her own classroom,” said Clarke. “Her project will serve as a role model for future students as they work to maximize the learning and service opportunities provided through the Department of Education's field experience requirements.”

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

Tagged in: education news
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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_fire-dept.jpgOn May 6, Waynesburg University presented the Waynesburg-Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company with a $10,000 check, the third of five installments totaling $50,000, to offset the $417,000 cost of the company’s 2013 Sutphen Rescue Pumper fire engine. 

This donation, along with the previous two, was given in memory of Robert W. Fox, a member of the Waynesburg-Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company from 1948 to 2011, who died on May 15, 2012, at the age of 83.  Remarkably, Mr. Fox was still actively answering fire calls until 2009. Fox served in many leadership capacities within the fire company during his 62-year tenure including president for 28 years.  His father was a member of the company from 1941 to 1965, and Robert’s four sons and four of his grandsons are active members of the fire company.

Waynesburg University President Douglas G. Lee, along with Heidi Szuminsky, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement, presented the donation to Jeff Marshall, fire chief. 

This donation to the fire company from Waynesburg University continues the University’s long-standing support for fire safety in the community. Previously, the University had presented the company with $50,000 for the purchase of the Fire Simulation Training Trailer and $30,000 toward a new fire truck.  

The University also donated over $430,000 to the Waynesburg Borough for the purchase of new police cars, improvements to borough infrastructure, downtown beautification projects, contributions to the Borough Master Plan, recreational fields and parks maintenance and construction equipment.  

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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