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For the fourth consecutive semester, FIU Tropics is offering a diverse group of undergraduate students the opportunity to gain invaluable hands-on research experience alongside seasoned conservation professionals.

With support from the Pave the Way foundation, the program offers ten undergraduate students the opportunity to work with local conservation organizations every semester. Counting on partnerships with Zoo Miami, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, Deering Estate, Montgomery Botanical Center, and The Kampong of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, interns work on diverse research projects while receiving a $2,000 stipend.

On January 24, FIU Ecologist and the internship program lead, Dr. Elizabeth Anderson, welcomed the 2018 Spring cohort with their assigned mentors, and the enthusiasm in the room, from students and mentors alike, was tangible. One by one, the students introduced themselves and shared the aspirations that they had for their research projects. Although they differed vastly in their backgrounds, with majors ranging from Business and Marketing to Photography and Environmental Sciences, the students undeniably shared a strong sense of commitment and dedication to tropical conservation.

Priscilla Brown, a Fall 2017 intern, presented her research on the Identification of Exotic Plant Species and shared her experience with the new cohort of interns. She recalled both fond memories throughout her internship as well as the challenges that she faced while putting together her very own research project, concluding that her internship will undoubtedly be a highlight in her undergraduate career.

While interns will work individually during the semester, the cohort will reunite in May for the Tropical Conservation Internship Symposium, where they will each present their research. The symposium will mark the end of their internship and, perhaps even more significantly, the beginning of their path toward a career in conservation.

If you are interested in participating in the Tropical Conservation Internship, please contact tropics@fiu.edu