Fernando Nájera, a scholar with international research experience in animal care and conservation, has been appointed Assistant Professor of Captive Wildlife Care and Education at Unity College.
“As we build towards a national presence, it is important for us to hire faculty who are experts in their respective fields and are willing to engage our students as mentors not just as teachers,” Unity College President Dr. Stephen Mulkey said. “Fernando demonstrated those qualities in our international search for this position, and I’m confident his colleagues and students will benefit from his experience, commitment, and engagement at America’s Environmental College.”
Throughout his career, Nájera has accumulated experience training biology and veterinary students in a wide spectrum of techniques related to wildlife medicine, research and management.
He recently completed an internship in exotics, wildlife and zoological medicine at the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences at Oklahoma State University. He holds a Licentiate in Veterinary Medicine and a Master of Science in Veterinary Clinical Ethology and Animal Welfare, both from the Complutense University of Madrid. His PhD study has focused on the veterinary aspects of conservation programs in Southeast Asian wild felids, including anesthesia, hematology, serum biochemistry, capture-stress and disease transmission between free-ranging and domestic carnivores. He also has been involved in live-trapping and field anesthesia of a variety of free-ranging carnivores.
Nájera’s past teaching experience includes work as principal researcher in the Bornean Wild Cats Veterinary Project and veterinary advisor for The Bornean Clouded Leopard Programme with the University of Oxford and Complutense University in Madrid, in Sabah, Malaysia. He also has worked as a veterinarian for zoos in Spain and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centers in Ecuador.
“I’m dedicated to enriching the lives of the students, by improving education in the classroom and in the field, providing mentorship and embracing interactive teaching methods,” Nájera said. “I believe my background and experience will allow me to develop programs where the students will benefit from a multidisciplinary environment”.
“The location of Unity College provides a unique environment to promote local research and to further investigate how anthropogenic changes may affect wildlife,” he said “I’m confident my contribution to Unity College will bring new life to the college´s program. Unity offered me a unique chance to do research while teaching the future generation of wildlife biologists.”
“Fernando is an excellent addition to our faculty,” said Dr. Sarah Cunningham, director of the Center for Experiential and Environmental Education. “His teaching values experiential learning, which aligns perfectly with Unity’s unique approach to training the next generation of environmental leaders. His broad background will be invaluable as we prepare these students, and his research programs will provide numerous opportunities for students to engage in applied behavioral research. We are excited he will bring his skills to Unity to produce well-prepared and successful graduates.”
“Fernando brings excellent experience in both research and teaching to Unity,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. “He is an engaging teacher and his work with animals is highly relevant to Unity’s mission. We are delighted to welcome him to our faculty.”