Department of Biology

Wildlife Conservation and Management


Internships

What type of internship opportunities do you have available?
Why are internship programs important to the program?
What special facilities does the Missouri Western Biology Department have?
What student research opportunities are available?
Do students and faculty work together on research projects?
Do students present research findings at national conferences?
Does your department offer any study abroad opportunities?

What type of internship opportunities do you have available?
Nearly half of students in the Biology program are involved in practical learning experiences on- and off-campus through internships, research projects, and other hands-on activities. On-campus teaching internships are available every semester to upper-level biology majors for credit.

Off-campus internships are available to upper division biology majors. Students may do faculty-sponsored internships at state agencies such as the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, or an agency from another state such as the Arizona Fish and Game. The U.S. National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the World Bird Sanctuary and the International Wolf Center are other agencies through which students have completed faculty-sponsored student internships.

Why are internship programs important to the program?
Experience in the field is beneficial to each student’s education. Internships provide students with a valuable hands-on experience that is difficult to duplicate in the classroom.

What special facilities does the Missouri Western Biology Department have?
Wildlife Conservation and Management students have access to a 180-acre field study area on campus called the Otoe Creek Nature Area. This land contains a network of trails that run through various habitats and along ponds and a stream. There are two outdoor amphitheaters within the study area.

The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Northwest Service Center is located on the nature area with offices and labs for more than 25 Conservation Department professionals. Modern classrooms, research labs and a prep room for the Biology Department are also housed within the Service Center, along with a herbarium and the Biology Department’s natural history collection, which contains museum specimens of vertebrates and invertebrates.

Missouri Western has a Global Positioning Systems base station located at Agenstein Hall with telemetry equipment and Global Positioning Systems/Global Information Systems equipment and software that is used in field biology research.

What student research opportunities are available?
A variety of faculty-sponsored student research opportunities exist within the department due to the wide range of faculty expertise and willingness of faculty to explore new areas. The mission of the department is to provide a collaborative learning environment in which students and faculty can apply their biological exploration and discovery experiences as professionals and as informed citizens.

In the past, several students were involved in a Missouri Department of Conservation-funded plant monitoring in wetlands along the Missouri River. In another faculty-sponsored project, an individual student worked with Squaw Creek National Wildlife refuge personnel and a biology professor to characterize the DNA of different populations of the federally endangered massasauga rattlesnake.

Do students and faculty work together on research projects?
All of our graduates complete multiple class-related research projects. Students also work individually or in small groups on faculty-sponsored student research projects.

Within the department there is a great deal of positive interaction among students and faculty that relates directly to professional development in the life sciences. Oftentimes research projects required for a particular class are turned into independent student and faculty investigations due to this positive interaction.

Do students present research findings at national conferences?
Sixteen students from all programs in the biology department presented 19 different research paper or posters at state, regional and national professional meetings last year. Some examples include:

  • Regional and national meetings of the Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society in Missouri and Colorado
  • Regional meeting of the Wildlife Society in Indianapolis
  • Missouri Natural Resource Conference
  • Annual meeting of the Missouri Academy of Science
  • Federation of Associations for Experimental Biology in San Diego

Three of our students won awards at the regional meeting of Beta Beta Beta and two were awarded stipend grants to present their work at the national meeting.

Does your department offer any study abroad opportunities?
Bio 220 Field Natural History is a course specifically designed for students to experience biological habitats outside of the St. Joseph area. Marine biology trips are scheduled almost every spring. Recently marine biology students have studied in Belize, San Salvador, the Bahamas and Jamaica. Special field natural history classes to the Rocky Mountains and other destinations are also offered from time to time.

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