LER Alumni

The Fanimals on this page were part of our Learn, Earn, & Return program.  We try to keep their bios current so that you can see what they are doing now!

Sarah Lynn Bowser

Sarah Lynn Bowser is a graduate from the University of Georgia where she earned her degree in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management along with a certificate in Environmental Education. She currently resides in Atlanta, GA, and works as an environmental educator. Her love of animals was first sparked by her favorite childhood program, Zaboomafoo. Ever since, she has always maintained an interest in wildlife conservation and animal advocacy. She places particular focus on native animals in the southeastern United States, helping to educate the public on the benefits of the wildlife who live in our own backyards.

Emily Carter

Emily is from Oklahoma and studies Environmental Science at Colby College in Maine. When she is not in the lab, she leads an animal rights club. She also paints cows and pigs in abstract forms. Her aspiration is to end animal exploitation by researching and advocating for alternatives to animal testing and animal consumption. She shares her residence with five roommates, two of which are cats, Gracie and Dandelion. Her habitat at home is the kitchen, where she experiments with vegan cuisine from various cultures. She also enjoys baking and sharing meals with people! 

Hannah Phillips

Hannah Phillips is a contributor of written work and idea generation for Fanimal. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management from Appalachian State University in the fall of 2018. Her love for animals became evident after continuously bringing home new pets for her family. She soon discovered her passion for animals and desire to contribute to animal welfare efforts while taking an Animals, Sustainability & Tourism class in college. During her free time, Hannah enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, volunteering, and watching animal rehabilitation videos. Her dream is to assist in saving the elephants and pursue a lifestyle filled with animals.

Samuel Phillips

Samuel is a college student at Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, NC.  He plans to major in Agriculture Business Management at North Carolina State University.  Samuel’s family has a history of agriculture and working alongside animals.  He hopes to continue this legacy and take it to a new level- sustainability.  With a background in journalism, Samuel is eager to spread awareness for animal welfare.  He plans to change the agriculture industry to use sustainable and humane living environments for animals all over the world.

Jenna Samsel

Jenna is a senior at Appalachian State University and will be graduating in December of 2019 with a BSBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Her love for animals began at a young age when she started volunteering with a dog rescue in Charlotte, North Carolina. More recently, Jenna enjoyed working with sea turtles and teaching educational programs to children at a state park nature center on the coast of South Carolina. She hopes to combine her passions of education, marine conservation, and tourism in her future career path.

Fynn van Westen

Fynn van Westen is a computer science student and contributing to the Fanimal project by written work. He has grown up with animals around and inevitably got to experience their truthful and loyal nature. That’s why even though his field of studies isn’t related to animals, he has a personal interest in the topic. He is looking forward to contribute to animal welfare and share the beautiful experiences with animals he encountered. In his free time Fynn enjoys hiking, doing sports, and discovering new places, activities and relations.

Sanne Welin

Sanne has known from a young age that she wanted to work with animals. She started off by training to work as a zookeeper, which she did both in her home country Sweden and as a volunteer in Namibia and South Africa. The month abroad inspired her to deepen her knowledge about conservation and she is currently in her final year of her MSc specialising in Ecology and Conservation. Sanne also works part time as an instructor at a high school specialising in training students to work in animal related professions. In the future she hopes to combine teaching with her love for animals and nature to inspire people to take care of the planet and all its inhabitants.

Berta Garrido Zabala

Berta Garrido Zabala is a Molecular Medicine Master student in Uppsala Universitet, Sweden. After finishing her bachelor in Biological Sciences in Madrid she packed her bags and went to her next adventure a little bit more up north. She has been raised surrounded by rescued animals that taught her what true love really is. Growing up with the amazing company of horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, birds… and even a giant African turtle was when she realized she will always want to know more about animals! Her dream is to be able to help big cats and elephants. Berta is an outdoors lover that enjoys hiking in the nature and practicing sports.

Paola Apestegui

Paola Apestegui is currently undertaking her master’s degree in Sustainable Development from Uppsala University in Sweden. Being born and bred in Costa Rica, an internationally recognized forefront in the area of environmental preservation, she has always assimilated the topic of sustainable development as a crucial part of her life and culture. Throughout her life, she has been able to interact with very different kinds of animals, from different settings. This gave her an opportunity to develop an interest and overall love for animals from a very early age. As a means of raising awareness, she has been involved as a volunteer in several programs, ranging from patrolling beaches to protect turtles from poachers, to developing community gardens. She is looking forward to returning to Costa Rica and further applying her knowledge to better protect animals.

Emily Smith

Emily Smith is a senior at Appalachian State University with a major in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Her love for animals started from a young age with the compassion she has for dogs. Animals bring her happiness like no other and she hopes to be able to give that joy and love back to them.