West Place awards scholarship to Tiverton resident

Faith Melo plans to study veterinary science in college


August 11, 2022

By Jen Campisi The Sakonnet Times


Betty-Ann Mullins of BayCoast Bank awards Tiverton resident Faith Melo with a scholarship for her exemplary work as a student intern at West Place.


Faith Melo, 17, who over the past two years has tended to animals big and small at the West Place animal sanctuary in Tiverton, will continue her veterinary education in part thanks to a scholarship she recently received from Baycoast Bank.


Melo, an incoming senior at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth, is the recipient of the sanctuary's inaugural Baycoast Bank Scholarship and was celebrated there Friday, Aug. 5. Representatives from the BayCoast Bank branch in Tiverton and at the regional level showed up to support and congratulate her on her success.


Melo has worked as a school-year intern for the past two years and has certainly had her hands full. When she’s not working at West Place, she has also been involved in high school basketball and cheerleading. After her graduation in 2023, she plans to attend college next fall and major in a preveterinary program. Although she says her heart is currently set on the University of Connecticut and its pre-veterinary program, she is keeping her options open.


“I absolutely love working with animals, and I definitely think that’s what I’m going to do in the future, and West Place has been the reason why I’ve decided that it will be my final plan,” she said. “I was kind of unsure at first that furthering my education and doing that many years of school would actually be worth it, but working with all the animals here, I’ve realized that this is my passion and that’s what I really want to do, and I thank West Place for giving me that.”


BayCoast Bank established the scholarship last fall through the sanctuary's Bobbert Memorial Scholarship Fund. The scholarship was named after one of West Place’s most beloved rescue animals, Bobbert the Alpaca, who passed away in January 2021. In his memory, West Place has established a fund to help finance their educational internship program, which has seen an increase in popularity over the last few years. The Baycoast Bank Scholarship helps to offset the cost of recruiting, training, onboarding, and the continual education of the student interns at West Place.


“It’s a very robust program but it receives no funding other than the generous donations from supporters like BayCoast bank and other individuals who establish student scholarships,” said Patrick Cole, the Director of Development and Communications for West Place.


West Place has two types of educational internship programs for local students in both high school and college who have an interest in wildlife, animal care, pre-veterinary, biology, or various other areas of study. Students can attend the summer program for eight to 12 weeks for anywhere between four to 40 hours a week. Additionally, students could attend the school-year program for four hours, once a week, where students spend nine months over the course of the academic year.