Biology student branches out

Chris Clement is ready for anything — fighting the zombie apocalypse, restraining an eagle or offering a definition of cryptorchidism in dogs, which is when the testes don't drop.

The honors student recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from UAF and is a renaissance man of the Last Frontier. 

As an undergraduate, he worked in the residence hall and joined the fencing club. He began the pre-vet club and started the wildly popular UAF versus Zombies game, where the goal is to stay alive (fencing swords aren't allowed).

When people need help, Clement jumps in. A statewide club called the 907 Gamers organized a 24-hour gaming marathon to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network in 2014, but they needed someone to rally the Fairbanks crowd. Clement answered the call and helped interest about 100 people in the cause. The club raised more than $11,000. 

Clement also helps animals. He will be part of the new veterinary medicine program, a partnership between UAF's College of Natural Science and Mathematics and Colorado State University. 

To gain experience, Clement took on three jobs in his hometown of Sitka last summer. Putting in 60-hour weeks, he worked at the Sitka Animal Hospital, helped veterinarian Bauder Burgess and volunteered at the Alaska Raptor Center, which rehabilitates sick and injured birds of prey. He learned about customer service, new diagnostic techniques and how to work with wild animals. 

While he would like to be a veterinarian who donates time to treating animals in rural parts of Alaska, Clement said he also wants a private practice to earn a little income. 

“I want to be an advocate of animals, ultimately,” he said.  “But I also want to raise a family.”

Clement didn’t get to see much of his existing family while he was interning in Sitka, given his full schedule.

“I did see my mom when she brought in our cat to the Sitka Animal Hospital,” he said laughing.

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