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“Oi mate! Doesn’t sound like you’re from around here…” by Katie Staats ’09, MBA ’11

Snags, vegemite, couscous, kangaroo, crocodile and

Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, cliff diving at Crystal

rissoles doesn’t sound much like American food. That’s

Cascades from two-story waterfalls, hiking in the rainforest,

because it’s not at all similar to what Americans eat on a

taking road trips through the outback and conducting

daily basis. Yet, this is what Lake Erie College 2011 alumna

research on wallabies were just a few of the unique oppor-

Victoria Fedor ate regularly on the year she spent studying

tunities Fedor experienced.

abroad in Australia.

“I had a six-month internship at Cairns Tropical Zoo

After 33 hours of travel, Fedor felt the adrenaline rush of

working as a zookeeper in the mammal, bird and reptile

knowing that she was arriving in the opposite side of the

departments,” said Fedor. “I learned how to handle koalas,

world, by herself, not knowing anyone.

and the proper nutrition and care for dingoes, Eastern

“The airline lost my luggage in New Zealand, so I was

Grey and Red Kangaroos and Napalese Red Pandas.”

living off one change of clothes, a camera and my lap

Like many other study-abroad students, physical and

top,” Fedor said. “My first and only thought was to

mental preparation is key to approaching such an

hit the ground running and start my adventures at the

expedition. Fedor was forced to think outside the box but

local shops!”

yet it was a challenge she accepted not because she had

In Australia, Fedor lived in an apartment at Cairns Student Lodge, which housed study-abroad students from all over the world. Her roommate, Lency, was a Torres Straight Islander, one of the two indigenous groups in Australia. She spoke “Pidgin,” a native language passed down through the family. It was Lency who introduced Fedor to the local community and indigenous festivals filled with traditional tribal dancing, singing and Australian cuisine. The next adventure led Fedor to take a class with worldleading invertebrate scientist and close friend of Steve Erwin, Dr. Jamie Seymour. The class, “Venomous Australian Animals,” was based on research of all Australia’s venomous creatures. Fedor participated in the first research and surgery ever conducted on Cane toads. The experiment involved using ECG machines to monitor heart rates of the toads after injecting them with different snake venoms to determine the best way to slow their heart beats. Fedor and her class then used this research to see if there is something that can be injected into humans after they are stung or bitten to regulate their heart beat. “I spent long hours in Dr. Seymour’s laboratory studying mortality rates on Irukandji jellyfish (one of the most deadly in the world),” Fedor said.

to, but because she was willing.

“A year abroad changed my life for the better. It allowed me to know and understand issues of the global community. I would recommend studying abroad to anyone considering it; an experience of a lifetime should never be overlooked,” Fedor said. Following her graduation from Lake Erie College in spring 2011 with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry, Fedor planned a trip to Arusha and Moshi, Tanzania. She hopes to engage in volunteer work for HIV/AIDs patients and orphanages through the non-profit organization Cross Cultural Solutions. Fedor is also enrolled in Cleveland State University’s graduate program and will earn a degree in public health. Her ultimate goal is to become a clinical epidemiologist and work for the Centers for Disease Control.

LAKE ERIE

| FALL ‘11

21

Fall 2011 Magazine  

Lake Erie College Magazine, Fall 2011 issue

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