A Trunk of Love: WVU Doctoral Student Finds Her Calling Researching Elephants

The story of Tina Dow’s love for elephants began in another story, tucked away in the pages of her first Little Golden Book.

Never could she predict that someday she’d work with the same creatures that fascinated her as a little girl.

It was the mighty elephant that steered her back onto an academic path.

Dow, who grew up in Cumberland, Md., earned her bachelor’s degree in Animal and Veterinary Sciences at West Virginia University in 2002. After graduating, she didn’t know quite what to do.

She enrolled in some courses at the University of Connecticut and took an internship at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, R.I.

Clarity came when she first walked into the elephant barn there. Her interest in elephants immediately transformed into a passion.

Dow returned to WVU to study reproductive physiology and research the causes of infertility in elephants. She’s on track to earn her doctoral degree by the end of the school year.

In this video, Dow visits the Pittsburgh Zoo to catch up with her elephant friends – the first ones she saw as a child and that now nurture her research.


 A Love For Elephants

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