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Texas A&M student takes graduation photos with alligator

Makenzie and Big Tex1.jpg
Makenzie Noland and Big Tex. (Arlie Hammonds)

BEAUMONT, Texas (KTXS) - When Makenzie Noland graduates from Texas A&M University next week, the Tuscola, Texas, native will say, "See ya later, alligator" to College Station.

So, maybe it's only fitting that the 21-year-old took her graduation photos with a Texas-sized alligator.

Noland is wrapping up a unique internship at an alligator rescue in Beaumont called Gator Country.

Since May 17, she has taught visitors all about alligators, which requires her to get in the water with the gentle giants, including Big Tex.

"He's one of my best friends here," Noland told KTXS.

She said the 13-foot-8, 1,000-pound gator holds the "U.S. record for largest gator caught alive."

Each day she feeds him, tickles his nose and gives him kisses.

In one of the photos, she put her Aggie ring on the end of Big Tex’s nose.

While you may question her choices, Noland is no dummy. She graduated from Jim Ned High School in 2015 and Texas A&M in just three years.

Noland is getting a degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences and hopes to work for either the Fort Worth Zoo or Dallas Zoo.

So far, no "bites" on her resume.

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