In addition to courses and workshops, the Kerulos Center also offers volunteer and internship positions for students and other individuals seeking field experience and specialized study. For more information, please contact us.
Research Associates and Assistants
Michele Franko–Senior Research Associate
Michele Franko brings over thirty years experience in animal care and welfare including humane law enforcement and animal shelters, veterinary assistance, horse breeding, training, and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. For the past year and a half, Michele has held the position of elephant caregiver with The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in California, where she cares for rescues from zoos and circuses.
Her diverse roles as criminal investigator, rescuer, caregiver and advocate working with multiple species have catalyzed Michele's research and teaching about animal emotions, trauma recovery, and healing. Michele's greatest honor is an animal at ease in her presence, and her life purpose is to heal traumatized animals and inspire empathy in the indifferent, resulting in action and meaningful co-existence with non-human animals and their societies. She will be focusing her work at The Kerulos Center Being Sanctuary and Caring for the Caregiver programs to enhance and teach restorative approaches to animal healing.
Cherilyn Chin Jose–Research Assistant
Cherilyn earned her BA in Environmental Sciences with an emphasis in biology from the University of California at Berkeley, and her Veterinary Technology degree from Foothill College in Los Altos, California. Recently, she worked with the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance (APAOHA) to ensure the passage of California AB 376, a bill (now law) that bans the sale, distribution and possession of shark fins in California. At the Monterey Bay Aquarium she worked as a Marine Biologist, Water Quality Technician, and Sea Otter Rehabilitation Volunteer. She also worked as an aquarist at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.
Cherilyn is currently a stay-at-home mother, writer, photographer, and scuba diver. She teaches about ocean animals at her son's elementary school and heads a chapter of Jane Goodall's youth program, Roots and Shoots, which was honored with a Group of the Month award.
Lokesh Coomar–Research Assistant
Currently, Lokesh is a third year student pursuing an undergraduate degree in microbiology at the Honors College, University of South Florida and an intern at The Kerulos Center. He will be presenting a paper on the psychological role of human-elephant relationships and its influence on elephant wellbeing this summer at the 2012 International Society of Anthrozoology Conference, Cambridge University, UK.
A near lifetime passion for elephants and their well-being has brought him to conduct cross-cultural/cross-species studies with the understanding that human society can benefit from understanding elephant ethics and values. His interest focuses on the effects of elephant-human relationships as they pertain to captive elephant mental and emotional health. Upon completing his undergraduate career, he plans to attend medical school to study neurology and cross-species psychiatry.
Elizabeth Burton-Crow– Intern
is a doctoral student at Pacifica Graduate Institute with a double bachelor's in Environmental Sciences and Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her passion for parrots and trans-species psychology has brought her to The Kerulos Center where she will help develop the Yellow-naped Amazon Parrot Journey as part of the Sacred Bones curriculum.
As part of her community work, Elizabeth will also volunteer at a parrot rehabilitation center in Costa Rica and contribute to the development of an Aves Sagradas conservation program.
Thomas Goodwin– Intern
Thomas Goodwin is a professional dancer who performs with British and European dance companies. He has formal training in contemporary dance, somatic movement at the Laban Centre, London, and regularly teaches and leads workshops in various movement and somatic practices.
Thomas has held visiting teaching positions at institutions including the Sivananda Yoga Centre (London), Somatic Movement Program Department of Suncani Hvar Hotels (Hvar, Croatia), Greenwich Dance (London), Independent Dance (London), Laban Adult Education Program (London), Tamagawa University (Tokyo).
Thomas regularly visits Plum Village, a Zen Buddhist community in South-West France which is the home of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Over the past 5 years he has begun to integrate the practice of mindfulness into his professional activities. This has inspired him to engage in sanctuary internships through The Kerulos Center at Animal Aid, India, and Eden Farm Sanctuary, Ireland.
Anja Heister, MS–Research Intern (former)
Anja Heister, born and raised in Germany, holds a Masters in Biology (Human Genetics and Anthropology) from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt, where she was actively involved in a fur-free campaign, and was one of three leaders of a student activist group that advocated the use of non-animal study methods in science. As a result of her group's efforts, the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University became the first academic institution in Germany to offer a humane study method as an alternative to the traditional animal experiments in physiology.
Anja is currently enrolled in an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at the University of Montana in Missoula, where she is studying wildlife conservation, ethics and policy. Her planned dissertation topic "Making Conservation Work: An Ecological Framework of Scientific Inclusion and Care Model for North American Wildlife," develops a framework for conservation that is grounded in trans-species science and draws from the care model for wildlife conservation. Anja is co-founder and Executive Director of Footloose Montana, a nonprofit organization working to end recreational and commercial trapping on Montana's public lands. Anja directed the 2009-10 "Montana Trap-Free Public Lands" Initiative, which narrowly missed qualifying the 2010 ballot, but nevertheless resulted in nearly 31,000 signatures in support of the trap-free campaign. Anja has been a vegetarian for 25 years, a vegan for five years, and she shares her life with three beloved dogs and an equally loved partner, Dave Taylor.
Elizabeth Oriel, MS–Research Intern (former)
Elizabeth Oriel specializes in research into marine mammal well-being. A graduate of Wesleyan University, she received a master's degree in conservation biology from Antioch University New England. Her master's thesis investigated and clarified certain harbor seal characteristics that relate to well-being and that are disputed within the scientific literature, thus setting parameters for care practices in rehabilitation, in long-term captivity, and for management decisions that impact wild harbor seal populations. Working for The Kerulos Center provides an opportunity to continue exploring the themes of animal welfare, human/animal bonds, and scientific research that values observer subjectivity and relational models. Kerulos offers an organizational and conceptual framework for this work, bridging disciplinary divides, to learn about animals from the lens of psychology, cognition and brain sciences, philosophy (in concepts of mind, consciousness, and subject/object differentiation in research), anthropology (animal cultures), and conservation biology.
Elizabeth continues to study marine mammals, though now asking what pinnipeds in particular can teach humans about the nature of mammalian minds and consciousness, through studying their processes of social learning and strong emotional bonds. She consults on marine mammal well-being for organizations that monitor animal welfare and plans to extend this to assessments of wild populations. Few in the field of conservation biology directly address the emotional and mental needs of animals in the wild. Elizabeth's goals involve raising awareness of animal culture and psychology so that management and stewardship practices include these important aspects of preserving and supporting wild populations.
Robert Ellis Cochran–Student Intern (former)
Robert Ellis Cochran is a Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Scholar at Southern Oregon University. He is a senior scheduled to graduate cum laude in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in human communication along with minors in both philosophy and rhetoric and reasoning.
Since August 2004, Robert has worked over two thousand hours as a volunteer and intern at the Sacramento Zoo in Sacramento, California. Robert's appreciation for helping animals continuously grew while he later served as an animal caretaker at the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary in Folsom, California. Robert has proudly spent his entire adulthood attending to the daily needs of various animals. Now a Kerulos intern, he is interested in researching how animal organizations function in ways to build upon public understandings of animal welfare and enhance relationships between animals and supporters.
Robert will begin graduate school in Fall 2013, working toward a doctoral degree in rhetorical studies. After graduation, he plans to teach and work in animal protection issues with the goal of heightening awareness and increasing ethical responsibility toward other animals.
Eve D'Vincent–Student Intern (former)
Eve D’Vincent is a Kerulos Center intern studying trauma recovery in chimpanzees and orangutans. She graduated from Duke University in anthropology and is currently in graduate school in psychology, Florida Atlantic University. Eve has extensive experience in the field. At Duke and with the Nicholas School, under direction of Dr. Stuart Pimm, Eve studied endangered birds in the Amazonas, Brazil.
In alliance with the National Tropical Botanical Garden she repaired nesting habitat for endangered sea turtles, designed an amphibian study in Brazil, in collaboration with the Reserva Ecologica de Guapi Acu. and conducted a study on endangered primates also in Brazil, with Conervation Internatinal, and has assisted in humpback whale studies aboard Intersea Foundation research vessels in Alaska for over ten seasons. In addition to receiving scholarships from the Explorers Club of New York, Eve has authored multiple articles and is featured in the Discovery channel production “In Search of Big Mama”, which aired in seven countries. Eve is now interning with Chimps, Inc. and studying trauma recovery and treatment approaches.
Lauren Delapenha–Student Intern (former)
Lauren is a fourth year student at Lawrenceville School, New Jersey, the editor of The Lit. the campus magazine. Amidst her studies in writing, violin and theatre, she undertook a Kerulos internship to study the effects and experience of animals held in captivity. "I remember the first time I visited a jail. I was probably about eight years old. The whole family came. We paid our admission, bought cotton candy and a disposable camera, and embarked on our fun-filled and educational experience. I had a blast. When the day was over we bought a souvenir to commemorate our day at the Miami Jail.
Now I find it terribly ironic that the word ‘Jail’ is misspelled on the souvenir as ‘Zoo.’ Every so often a story comes up in the news about a usually friendly zoo animal or pet, such as Travis the chimpanzee, suddenly "losing it", attacking a human, and being killed as a result. The most recent one that comes to mind is the incident of the chimpanzee mauling his owner’s friend. These incidents have made me think about the ethical question of keeping wild animals contained, especially in the case of zoos. While I know this is not a new question, I feel that it is particularly important given the recent, highly publicized event that resulted in killing Travis, the chimpanzee, and my concern in animal welfare. What effect does such confinement have on the animals? At present, zoos seem like well-kept jails to me, but I am prepared to be proven wrong. Do zoos become havens given a species’ endangered status? And most importantly, how do these animals feel in a zoo environment? Is there any way to figure out how they feel? Unlike humans, they do not have a voice. Or maybe it’s just that we have not tried hard enough to listen."
Jessica Little–Student Intern (former)
Jessica is conducting research as part of the Kerulos Center's Aves Sagradas Sanctuary for Parrots in Costa Rica. She is bilingual in English and Spanish, and graduated May, 2012 (University of North Carolina) as an honors student with a double major in Global Health and Romance Languages, minor in chemistry. Her focus at Kerulos is in trans-cultural and trans-species psychiatry.
Jessica's previous volunteer experience includes working with hospitals clinics in Uruguay and Argentina where she was inspired to pursue medial school in 2013. Until then, Jessica will be continuing work in Latin America and helping us with our new conservation and parrot sanctuary program.
Celeste Lonsbery–Student Intern (former)
Celeste Lonsbery, a Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalureate Scholar, is a senior at Southern Oregon University and expects to graduate Magna Cum Laude June 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, and a minor in Human Communication. In conjunction with Southern Oregon University Professor Dr. Fraser Pierson, Celeste is working with the Kerulos Center conducting research on social and self identity as it relates to prolonged grief following the loss of a companion animal and the human-animal bond. "Dogs have always been a part of my life and each one has taught me something different. Last summer my beloved canine companion, Gypsy, passed away. Her passing was devastating for me and it was very much like having lost a child." As a result of this experience, Celeste is helping develop resources for those who have lost a beloved companion animal in Southern Oregon. She will be entering graduate school after which intends to to teach at the university level as well as assist those who have suffered trauma; human and animal.