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Blanding Student Awarded Scholarship


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Joel Charles
Joel Charles

Joel Charles, a student at Utah State University Blanding, has been awarded the Berryman Institute scholarship and will participate in the institute’s summer internship program this summer. The scholarship awards $11,000 toward the education of students studying wildlife ecology and management.

In addition to the $11,000 scholarship, USDA Wildlife Service will pay for student interns to travel to their summer work location and back, pay for salary and benefits during the summer work experience, and provide housing for the summer work experience.

Joel was born in Salt Lake City, but moved with his family to Chinle, Arizona, at the age of three. He spent his high school years in Farmington, New Mexico, attending Navajo Preparatory School. When the time came to make plans for college Joel decided to attend USU Blanding based on good things he had heard about USU from his mother. He recently completed his second year at the Blanding campus, and will be finishing his associate degree with the completion of his summer internship.

Once he completes his associate degree in Blanding, he plans on enrolling for classes at USU’s main campus in Logan, Utah this fall. His interest in wildlife ecology and management comes from his desire to study veterinary medicine, which is possible through USU in a partnership program with Washington State University. Students may complete the prerequisites and portions of veterinary school in Utah while paying in-state tuition before they transfer to WSU for the final portions of veterinary school.

“I’ve always been interested in becoming a veterinarian, but there weren’t a lot of opportunities where I grew up to learn about the science aspects of it.” Joel commented on his interest. “But there were a lot of opportunities to learn about wildlife and spend time outdoors enjoying the wildlife. That’s where it all started for me.”

The Berryman Institute is an international organization named after Jack H. Berryman, a prominent wildlife ecologist who passed away in 1998. The institute’s goals are dedicated to enhancing human-wildlife relationships by better managing human-wildlife conflicts through research, education, extension, and outreach.

Joel will be working with state wildlife management agencies in Georgia this summer and gaining hands on experience with management and ecology issues. Currently Georgia has projects including Canada goose capture and relocation, nuisance beaver removal along with beaver dam removal, feral swine trapping along with disease sample collection and processing, and nuisance vulture abatement and artificial effigy construction.

Dr. Terry Messmer is the director of the Berryman Institute at USU and works with campuses throughout the state to promote the institute’s initiatives, including the scholarship and internship programs. On the Blanding campus Joel was encouraged by Karen Wells, the director of student government and leadership, to apply for the program.