Impact on Students

The students’ benefit, their success and enthusiasm, alone is pay-off enough. However, the returns in productivity and growth in the museum should convince any department that a well managed undergraduate program is well worth the effort.

Undergrads are provided not just a position in a lab, but a whole community – a “home” on campus where it can be easy to get lost in the crowd. We offer a diverse set of training opportunities to students, and they, in turn, reward us with their dedication and growing expertise through their years at Berkeley.

Anna Hiller, an MVZ undergraduate, led a paper to demonstrate this ‘mutualism’ between museum and students.

Hiller, AE, C Cicero, MJ Albe, TLW Barclay, CL Spencer, MS Koo, RCK Bowie, and EA Lacey. 2017. Mutualism in museums: A model for engaging undergraduates in biodiversity science. PLOS Biology. 15(11):e2003318

The Student Experience

The student experience in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology has always been rewarding, if not life-changing.  Undergraduates have traveled the world working everywhere from rain forests to deserts, helping make discoveries alongside Berkeley researchers, and taking part in cutting edge studies.  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 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 aim to open 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.

Read below our survey of students from 2008, just a few examples of how diverse the MVZ Undergraduate Program experience is. These students were kind enough to share their stories! Watch out for future updates on their post-baccalaureate life, and new profiles of students.


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Impact on Students