Volunteer work is more than just doing a good deed and being recognized for it. In fact, a lot of volunteer workers go unnoticed. What a lot of people fail to realize is that volunteering can help get one’s foot through the right door, which SUNY Oswego student Heather Laski takes into full consideration.
“I enjoy volunteering because it’s a good way to gain experience … especially with the kind of degree I am going for,” she says. “It would be hard for me to be successful in my profession without it on my resume.”
Laski majors in psychology and minors in zoology.
“I was torn between going to veterinary school or going into field research, but I figured working with animals and working in the zoo would be best for me.”
While taking on such a hard major and minor, she also works 20 hours during the week and is a Teacher’s Assistant (TA) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for a course on psychology. Laski is very dedicated to what she does. Even during school breaks, she sacrifices her free time and relaxation to give back to the world through volunteering.
Over the past winter break, while everyone is enjoying the company of loved ones and hot cocoa by warm fires, Laski was doing a field course in Costa Rica. She studied methods on how to observe primate behaviors in the wild, how to estimate populations of species and methods of conservation.
“My favorite part of it all was getting to experience the releasing of the baby sea turtles. It was so cute!”
The program, called DANTA Association for Conservation of the Tropics, offers a number of various field courses in tropical biology each year.
“It was very informative and it was an eye-opener to other cultures and made me realize how easy we have everything,” she says. “When I came back, I appreciated snow a lot more and even just a plain slice of pizza.”
The good deeds don’t stop there, though. Recently, Laski signed up for volunteer work in South Africa through an organization called ISV Impact Your World. She will be working with wild and captive cheetahs and other wildlife at a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center.
“I’m definitely excited about this trip.” she said. “I might not be able to get this opportunity again so I have to take it while I can.”
Laski is planning to go to South Africa during the summer after she graduates from SUNY Oswego. She is also currently putting together different fundraising strategies in order to make the volunteering opportunity possible. The passion she has for animals will drive her to succeed.
“I have always loved animals. I never had to think about it, I just knew that this is something I wanted to do.”
And Laski is most certainly doing it.