Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, Winthrop University senior Arlene Haskins often watched the National Geographic and Animal Planet channels.
Fitting, then, that she plans to become a zoologist and currently interns at the Naturalist Center, part of the Museum of York County. The biology major completed her first day on the job a few weeks ago.
“A lot of museums, zoos, places around the world have zoologists,” she said. “Zoology is such a broad field. You can go anywhere and do anything.”
Her path had always led her to Winthrop. She said she had always heard about the school and its campus, so there was no doubt she would attend here.
Haskins had originally planned to become a veterinarian. However, she realized her passion was taking her in a different direction, especially after taking a veterbrate natural history course class with Professor of Biology Bill Rogers.
“We took a tour [of the Museum of York County], and I thought this place sounded cool,” she said. “I’m getting my foot in the door.”
At the museum, Haskins has two jobs: as an interpreter in the Nature Center, and as a “specimen preparator," which involves skinning the dead animals and sending them off to the taxidermist. Her first piece of work? A raccoon.
When she’s not making her rounds at the museum, Haskins is a member of the Winthrop STEM program and is active in the Tae Kwon Do Club. The latter she discovered while a freshman at Convocation; she’ll soon take the test for her black belt.
“I just enjoy it,” she said. “It makes me feel confident and like I can defend myself.”
Haskins has found Winthrop’s faculty to be a big help both in and outside of the classroom, whether it’s teaching a fascinating topic, helping them connect with experts in the field or pointing them in a new academic direction.
“Dr. Matthew Heard got me to the veterinarians I wanted to talk to,” she explained. “Zoology with Dr. Paula Mitchell…She was so passionate. It made the topic interesting and I was sad when the class was over.”
When asked where she sees herself in five years, Haskins grinned.
“In the field tracking some kind of animal—maybe in the desert or the Amazon,” she said.
Last updated 10/15/2015