The MVZ Student Experience

How do I get involved? Visit MVZ Undergraduate Opportunities
The Student Experience

The student experience in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology has always been phenomenal, if not life changing.  Undergraduates have traveled the world working in everything from rain forests to deserts, helping make discoveries and taking part in cutting edge research.  In the past, only a very select few got to experience this, coming upon this opportunity by chance and usually only for a year before they graduated.  With our new Undergraduate Program, we are reaching out to more students than we ever have before; encouraging students to find their place and passion in biology.  In the program, students are not just working under one faculty member, they are active members of a scientific community.  We have opened our doors to undergraduates in a way that no other museum on campus, and in fact, no other museum in the United States has done -- a year round collections and research program for undergraduates.

In the following section, here are just a few examples of how diverse the MVZ Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program experience is. Click on the students to read their testimonies!

Why base this program in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology?

The Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ) is an internationally renowned research institution dedicated to understanding the evolution of vertebrate diversity (http://mvz.berkeley.edu). Because all faculty curators in the MVZ also hold appointments in Integrative Biology, the research mission of the MVZ is inextricably linked to undergraduate education and undergraduates play a vital and growing role in the museum’s research activities. In 2006, the MVZ (in close association with BSP) initiated the Undergraduate Apprentice Program to provide students with an introduction to modern museum science. Despite limited financial support, student participation in the program has blossomed from just a handful of individuals to ~20 undergraduates per semester. The significance of this effort was recognized in 2008, when the program received Berkeley’s Educational Initiatives Award. More generally, the MVZ provides an intellectual home to > 100 undergraduates per year drawn from > 6 departments on the Berkeley campus. This deep commitment to undergraduate education coupled with long-standing research expertise in vertebrate evolutionary biology makes the MVZ almost uniquely qualified to oversee the proposed experiment.