Graduate Student Fellowships

The MVZ offers several graduate fellowships per year. MVZ graduate students, who have advanced to candidacy – including members of Affiliated Faculty Labs who have been granted MVZ student status –  are eligible to apply for these fellowships:

Annie M. Alexander: Annie M. Alexander (1867-1950) was an avid collector and natural historian who proposed the creation of the MVZ and provided the original endowment needed to realize her vision of a major natural history collection on the west coast. Alexander also contributed significantly to the creation of the UC Museum of Paleontology. Alexander was an intrepid field biologist who completed numerous expeditions – many in the western US – during which she collected extensive series of vertebrates, plants, and fossils. Alexander’s legacy of field work and careful curation of museum specimens remain central to the mission and the ethos of the MVZ.

Joseph Mailliard: Joseph Mailliard (1857-1945) was an ornithologist and Cal alumnus who served for many years as a Curator at the California Academy of Sciences. Mailliard grew up in Marin County, where he began his career as a natural historian and collector. Mailliard’s field work focused on coastal California and included highly regarded trips to the Farallon Islands as well as to multiple locations in the Channel Islands. Much of this work was done with his brother John and, in 1919, the Mailliard brothers donated their private collection of over 10,000 avian specimens to the Academy, leading to Joseph’s appointment as Curator.

Junea W. Kelly: Junea W. Kelly (1886-1969) was an ornithologist and botanist who for decades taught courses through the UC Berkeley Extension program. Kelly is particularly well known for her “Six Trips Afield” class. Much like the MVZ’s vertebrate natural history course, Kelly’s class was built around field trips in the Bay Area, but with a focus on engaging members of the public rather than Berkeley students. Kelly taught this course for the last time at the age of 79; it is estimated that during her career, she interacted with more than 10,000 students interested in natural history. Kelly was also an ardent conservationist who opposed destruction of marshland habitats in the Sacramento delta. She was an Honorary Member of the Cooper Ornithological Society and a section of the Golden Gate Park Botanical Garden is named in her honor.

Jerry O. Wolff: Jerry O. Wolff (1943-2008) was a mammologist and vertebrate ecologist who completed his Ph.D. in the MVZ in 1977 under the direction of William Z. Lidicker. Wolff was a prolific researcher whose early work explored the now classic, interconnected population dynamics of snowshoe hares and lynx. Wolff also conducted numerous studies of the behavioral and reproductive ecology of North American rodents, notably voles and mice – he is particularly recognized for his use of experimental manipulations of natural populations of these animals to test adaptive hypotheses. Over the course of his career, Wolff held faculty positions at Oregon State University, the University of Memphis, and St. Cloud State University.

Alden H. Miller: Alden H. Miller (1906-1965) was an ornithologist who served as Director of the MVZ for 25 years, a position that he assumed following the death of Joseph Grinnell in 1939. Miller completed his Ph.D. in 1930 under the direction of Grinnell. Miller’s research focused on the birds of western North America, with particular emphasis on systematics and geographic variation in shrikes and juncos. He was an incredibly prolific scholar who, true to Grinnellian tradition, combined extensive field work with rigorous use of museum specimens. Miller also contributed significantly to the training of future museum-based scientists, including noted vertebrate biologists and MVZ alumni Charles G. Sibley, A. Starker Leopold, and Frank A. Pitelka.

Each fellowship covers in-state graduate fees for one semester (Fall or Spring) as well as a stipend and benefits that are comparable to a 50% GSR (Graduate Student Researcher) position. Students can elect which semester in which to take a fellowship; funding begins on the first day and ends on the last day of the semester.

Typically, a student can receive no more than one fellowship during their graduate career. Applications are reviewed by the MVZ Faculty Curators. Although any student who has advanced to candidacy can apply, priority is generally given to (1) students in the writing phase of their dissertation research and (2) students whose work requires extended field research that precludes employment as a GSI or GSR.

To apply for a fellowship, students must complete an application form and have it endorsed by their major adviser. In addition, the student must prepare a short (less than 2 page) proposal that outlines the research to be conducted during the fellowship. These materials should be submitted to Associate Director Jim McGuire. The exact deadline varies but typically is in early April of each year.


Research Support for MVZ Graduate Students

Limited funds are available to support research by MVZ graduate students. In recent years, it has been possible to make awards to multiple individuals at a level of $500 to $2000 per request. Graduate students may apply in multiple years and may receive more than one award during their graduate career. If requests exceed available funds, priority will be given to students in the early stages of their graduate studies who are working to generate the preliminary data needed to secure external funding.

The following funding sources are available:

Albert Preston Hendrickson Fund Established in 1999 by Joyce Davis for student travel or research needs.
David & Marvalee Wake Fund Supports research and fieldwork in evolutionary biology
Louise Kellogg Fund Established in 1970 to enhance the MVZ collections.
Carl B. Koford Memorial Fund Established in 1980 to support field research on vertebrates.
Wilhelm L. F. Martens Fund Established in 1936 to bring about better conservation and protection of native wildlife in California.
Ned Johnson Fund Also known as the Avian Genetics Fund, supports ornithological research

To apply for research funds, students must complete an application form and have it endorsed by their major adviser. In addition, the student must prepare a short (less than 2 page) proposal that outlines the research to be conducted. These materials should be submitted to Associate Director Jim McGuire. The exact deadline varies but typically is in early April of each year.

In some years, if funding permits, a second round of proposals will be considered during the fall semester; in this case, a separate call for funds will be announced early in the fall term.


Conference Costs

MVZ graduate students are eligible to receive up to $500 per year to attend a national or international conference at which they will present a paper or poster.

To request travel funds, students should submit a budget and confirmation of their presentation to the MVZ Associate Director at least 5 working days before leaving for the conference.