Alligator River/Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
P. O. Box 1969
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131

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News Release

September 21, 2009

Student Career Experience Program Trainee Joins Staff of Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

In early September, John Stark joined the staff of Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge as a part of the Student Career Experience Program of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Refuge Manager Mike Bryant welcomed Stark and lauded the SCEP program as an "excellent way of recruiting the best and brightest for employment with the Fish and Wildlife Service." Stark will work on the refuge a minimum of 640 hours as a trainee before he returns to school to finish the degree that will complete his qualifications for a permanent position with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Stark was born in Oahu, Hawaii where his father was serving in the Army in a medical laboratory. From there, he moved to Orlando Florida where he finished high school.

In 1999, he joined the Army as a light wheel mechanic. During his time in the Army, he also operated a M936A2 - a recovery vehicle. His duty station was in Germany. From there, was deployed to Kosovo in 2000 and Iraq in 2003. After completion of his time on active duty, he returned to Orlando, where he joined the Army reserves in Tampa Florida in a joint command airborne unit.

Since being in Florida, Stark has worked toward his bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Central Florida. His expected graduation date is at the end of the spring semester, 2010. In addition to the work he is performing on the refuge this fall, he has worked two summers of resident internship at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge (Florida) working with sea turtles. He also spent 43 days in the rain forest of Peru doing research on gymnotiform electric fishes during the summer of 2009.

John’s hobbies include traveling, organic farming, and "anything else that takes him outdoors". He has been to more than 20 countries on five continents.

John Stark pointing to a map of the area around Alligator River NWR
Student Career Experience Program employee, John Stark, began his U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Career at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge this fall. Visit for more information about the Student Career Experience Program. Photo Credit: USFWS, Bonnie Strawser.

The Student Career Experience Program was established to recruit and train degree-seeking students for professional, administrative and technical Fish and Wildlife Service positions.  Students are given the opportunity to work in field, such as fishery or wildlife biology, forestry, wildlife refuge management, law enforcement, or engineering.  Opportunities in administrative positions may also become available.  Students combine their studies with a variety of practical work experience in the regional office, national fish hatcheries, national wildlife refuges or ecological field stations.  The work experience is related closely to the student’s educational program to provide a career-related on-the-job experience.
To Be Eligible for the SCEP, Students Must Be:

Please visit for more information about the Student Career Experience Program in the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.