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JD Roesch '19

From winning honors on the football field to studying bats in a remote underground cave in western Cuba, JD Roesch ’19 made the most of his time at Illinois College.

JD at internship

The biology and environmental studies major excelled in the classroom and discovered many opportunities to apply his studies to hands-on learning around the world. He worked on a collaborative student-faculty research project with Dr. Bryan Arnold, assistant professor of biology, which included multiple trips to La Barca Cave in Guanahacabibes National Park in Cuba. The cave is home to thousands of bats, including one bat species not found anywhere else in the world. He prepared a poster for the 2018 Illinois State Academy of Science Annual Meeting and presented his work to fellow students, scholars and wildlife professionals. JD also continued bat research working with Dr. Arnold at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, where he gained more firsthand experience to better understand how wildlife biologists conduct research. Another internship with the Illinois Conservation Police helped him develop professional skills that directly relate to his future career.

Beyond academics, JD also stood out as a linebacker for Blueboys football. His athletic and academic efforts were recognized when he was named a semifinalist for the annual William V. Campbell Trophy by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame during his senior season. JD is currently training at the police academy at Macon County Law Enforcement Training Center to become a certified Conservation Police Officer. His experiences at IC prepared him well to launch his career in environmental conservation, and his internship gave him unique insight into his future.

“My research experiences at Illinois College prepared me for the work I will be doing. The internship opened my eyes to the field of conservation law enforcement. By talking with several officers, I learned what the conservation police officer job is like and what they look for in future candidates seeking this job.”