Tia Hildebrandt

Tia is originally from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and currently attends Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is a sophomore majoring in Psychology and Anthropology with a minor in Biology. She is the President of the Comparative Psychology Lab Club, Co-President of HER Campus, Officer of the Pottery Club, Hip Hop Instructor at the Fitness Center, and Classroom Assistant at Gulfport Elementary. Even with all those extra curricular activities, Tia still finds time to dance, which is her favorite hobby. She loves teaching dance as well and has been passing along her passion to others for 3 years at a local studio. She also loves reading and travel.

Tia aspires to be a primatologist. She hopes to one day conduct behavioral observations in the field and knows that she will be working with primates in some capacity in her future. Tia loves being a part of the PRC “family.” She lives in the PRC apartment on site and “feels like [she] lives in the jungle.” She gets to watch the chimpanzees from an observation window from her living area and has enjoyed getting to know each of the primates’ personalities. Tia’s favorite task is making enrichment for the primates. She makes frozen juice treats and enrichment shakers that they really enjoy, and she loves watching their reaction. This task brings out Tia’s creative side and she works to come up with new ideas to enrich the lives of our residents each day. Tia’s favorite primates are chimpanzees. She has fallen in love with our entire chimpanzee troop and “feels like a mom—[she] loves them all the same!”

Becky Barefield

Becky Barefield is originally from Houston, Texas and currently attends Centre College in Danville, KY. She is a rising junior majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience. She is the Chairwoman for the Student Activities Council, a TriDelta, and in the Student Senate. Becky enjoys many hobbies, including roller blading, reading American classics, watching movies, stargazing, antique shopping, babysitting, and baking sweet treats. Becky has also found a new hobby here at the PRC, where she enjoys spending time with our sanctuary dog Sarah and our pygmy goats.

Becky aspires to be a field researcher of chimpanzees and orangutans. She would “like to study social and environmental adaptation within family and bachelor groups or isolated males.” Becky really enjoys living in the PRC apartment surrounded by the PRC residents 24/7. Her favorite task is setting up the chimpanzees’ playroom area each day and watching the chimps enter the room to play or display with everything that she selected and strategically placed among the straw, paper, and other enrichment materials. Becky says that our chimpanzee “Pozna is my spirit animal—she does everything I would like to do with my day. She goes to sleep early with her stuffed animal, watches movies, stays out of the drama of social life, and generally stays chill and relaxed.” Becky has also developed a connection with our goofy chimpanzee Rodney as well.

Spencer Mattingly

Spencer Mattingly is originally from Berea, Kentucky and currently attends Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. He is a senior majoring in Pre-Veterinary Biology. Spencer has a full plate as he studies and prepares to apply to vet school in the coming year. He plans to become a wildlife or zoo veterinarian. However, he still finds some time to enjoy some of his hobbies, which include hiking, camping, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with his pets.

Spencer makes the long drive in several days each week for his internship shifts. He has really enjoyed his internship experience and loves meeting all the different animals that call the rescue center home. He loves grooming our sanctuary dogs Tigger and Sarah. He also really enjoys hiding hard-boiled eggs in the playroom for the chimps, which are one of their favorite treats. Spencer has made a special connection with our chimpanzee Cory, whose loud and wild antics have become endearing and lovable.

Kaile Short

Kaile Short is originally from Danville, Kentucky and currently attends Lindsey Wilson College in Colombia, Kentucky. She is an upcoming sophomore majoring in Biology. She is a Bonner Scholar, which allows her to focus on community service. Kaile is on the Track and Field team at Lindsey Wilson College. She also enjoys soccer, playing the flute, and painting.

Kaile aspires to be a veterinarian or zoologist. She has been an off-site volunteer for the PRC since 2013 and has really enjoyed her new role as one of our Summer Session Interns. Kaile enjoys seeing the effect she has on the primates’ lives and directly being able to provide them with stimulating enrichment and interesting food preparations. Her favorite task is making enrichment, because she loves watching how the primates get a new outlook on a task and figure out puzzles and challenges. Kaile has made a connection with our chimpanzee Noelle. Kaile loves that Noelle always takes magazines and papers to “read” later along with her breakfast items as she “dines and dashes” to eat in her own secluded area.


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