2023 winner of Dr. L. David Mech Fellowship announced

For immediate release

Contact: Krista Woerheide
Email: krista@wolf.org
Phone: (218) 504-5173

Lucas Paschal will work with Voyageurs Wolf Project upon graduation from college

The winner of the 2023 Dr. L. David Mech Fellowship is Lucas Paschal, a student at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. The fellowship, awarded by the International Wolf Center, comes with up to $10,000 in funding to be used to further research about wolves.

Paschal will be partnering with the Voyageurs Wolf Project in northern Minnesota.

Dr. Mech founded the International Wolf Center in 1985 and is one of the world’s pre-eminent wildlife biologists. The fellowships are a way to honor Dr. Mech’s legacy and help the next generation of wildlife biologists get started in their careers.

Paschal learned he was the winner in late March during a phone call with Krista Woerheide, the Interpretive Center Director at the International Wolf Center.

“I was ecstatic to hear the news,” he said. “Thankfully I was with close friends at the time and was able to share my excitement with them.”

Woerheide said Paschal was chosen in part because of his clear passion for wildlife.

“Lucas really stood out in his application and letter of support because his passion for science and ecology was easy to see,” she said. “We can’t wait to see the results of his work with the Voyageurs Wolf Project, and we’re honored to play a part in getting his career started.”

Paschal said he has long had an interest in learning more about predators.

“This fellowship will help me reach my dream of studying large predators,” he said. “I think it’s hard to deny that large predators are very charismatic creatures, especially wolves. These animals demand a lot of attention from the public eye, and it seems like most of it is negative. I want to work with these animals to do as much as I can to protect them.

This is the second year that the fellowship has been awarded. Winners in 2022 were Lily Heinzel from Cornell College in Iowa and Cameron Ho from the University of Washington. The International Wolf Center offers the fellowship because it believes that continued investment in scientific discovery about wolves and other wildlife will lead to increased understanding of how to build a future where wolves and humans can coexist and thrive. The Center also understands that many barriers exist for students and early career researchers and hope these fellowships can be useful tools for opening up access to people pursuing a wildlife biology career.

“We’re really excited to see the partnership develop between Lucas and Voyageurs Wolf Project,” said the Center’s Executive Director, Grant Spickelmier. “It’s important to point out that these fellowships are funded by donations from our members, and we thank them for their financial support.”

Paschal is a senior at Hamline and will graduate this spring with three majors – Biology, Environmental Studies and History.

He will receive a $6,000 stipend and up to $4,000 in support for field research expenses.

His hometown is Macon, Georgia, and he’s a 2018 graduate of Veterans High School in Kathleen, Georgia. His parents are Roderick and Michele Paschal.


The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. For more information about the International Wolf Center, visit wolf.org.