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 plife, and new profiles of students.