ABEC Alumni Stories

ABEC alumni go on to careers working with companion animals, in zoos, in education, and in wildlife conservation. A number of our students also choose to continue their education through Master’s programs, Ph.D. programs, and even law school. The ABEC 217: Connecting ABEC to the World class introduces students to all of these careers through interviews with alumni and other professionals in the field. We also strongly recommend completing one or more internships to get hands-on experience. 

Picture of a student sitting on a wall overlooking a mountain

Alexia Marconi 

Alexia is currently a Master’s student in Biology at Eastern Kentucky University. 

She says: “I had an incredible experience at Canisius and I think it can be attributed to two main things: professors and opportunities. Every professor I had was so invested in their students. I am incredibly grateful for the relationships I formed with them and for the time and effort they put into their students. As far as opportunities go, I couldn't have chosen a better program. Through ABEC, I traveled to so many places and learned about research firsthand. Being able to execute projects and learn hands on was invaluable for me.”


A veterinarian holding a duck

Dr. Kelsey Trumpp

Kelsey went on to complete her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from Purdue University in 2019 and is currently a Zoological Medicine and Surgery Resident Veterinarian at the University of Georgia.

Kelsey's advice to future ABEC students is:  “Take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. Do research, take lots of ABEC classes, go on trips, and volunteer in the local community! The years you spend at Canisius will be some of the best of your whole life - make the most of them!”

A student standing behind a table with a green cloth that says Boulder

Jay Cooney

Jay is a Human Dimensions Research Technician for City of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks

Jay says:  “What I value most deeply from the ABEC program was my exposure to lessons from a wide variety of disciplines, spanning the natural sciences, social sciences, and moral philosophy. There were many college programs where I could study wildlife conservation. Yet only in ABEC would I be asked to consider the welfare of a wild animal being relocated, to debate the conservation value of trophy hunting, or to take a cross-cultural perspective of human-wildlife relationships."

A dog trainer walking a dog up a ramp

Courtney Baird

Courtney runs her own dog training business in South Carolina called H&G Dog Training. 

Courtney’s advice to future ABEC students is: “Take every class you can, do an internship or two, try to go on a trip! When I went to Canisius as a freshman the only thing I wanted was to be a Veterinarian... that changed within two weeks. After that I had no idea what was next, take every class even if you might think it's not for you, just do it! Be open. Internships give you the hint of what the job you may want is like! Go see if it’s really what you want."

A herpetologist with a snake wrapped around her head

Allison Kelley

Allison is a biologist for the United States Geological Survey working on the brown treesnake project in Guam.

When asked what experiences at Canisius were most important for her, she said: “The variety! I loved taking courses across the Biology/ABEC spectrum. And the relationship I had (and still have!) with the professors was crucial for me.”