Rescuing Turtles and Realizing Dreams at the New England Aquarium

Sam McEwan ‘13, vet tech alumna knew that at Mount Ida College, she would have the opportunity to make a difference. And, she knew, that student internships would hold her key to success. This past semester, McEwan got one step closer to her ultimate goal of specializing in aquatics through landing an internship at New England Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehab Center in Quincy, Massachusetts.

A day in the life

On a typical weekday, McEwan entered a chaotic rescue center and immediately began providing medical treatment to stranded, injured, and diseased marine animals throughout New England. On even busier days, McEwan took calls from volunteers who were trying to save hypothermic sea turtles in areas of Cape Cod known as the “death-trap” because of the peninsula’s hook-shaped geography.

“We helped the turtles begin swimming again,” stated McEwan. “In many cases, sea turtles needed to be warmed up gradually. We started them in small kiddie pools and, once they were healthy, they were released back into the ocean toward warmer waters.”

Educating the public

In addition to saving endangered species, McEwan also had the chance to educate the public about normal marine life behaviors. When she received calls about ocean animals, she was able to share her knowledge on medical treatment. From this experience, she now knows that her future lies in clinical aquatics or a similar fast-paced environment, such as an emergency animal hospital.

“This was a new experience for me that combined all four years of my hands-on classroom learning,” said McEwan. “I enjoyed getting to work with new species from loggerheads to green sea turtles to Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, which are the most endangered. I hope that I can continue to treat serious injuries for animals, while nursing them back to health – it’s what I love most about vet tech.”