New scholarship opportunity for WSU students

A new scholarship opportunity is available to Weber State University students. This opportunity will allow for one student to participate in the Round River Conservation Studies’ Taku Watershed Program student summer research trip in Atlin, British Columbia. Students from any major are eligible to apply.

According to its website, Round River is “concerned with the ecological crisis that is upon this earth.” Students will participate in field work contributing to Round River’s conservation efforts in the Taku watershed area.

Students in the past have been involved in woodland caribou surveys, amphibian surveys, grizzly bear hair snares, Tlingit oral history, fisheries and ground truth habitat models, said Doug Milek, director of student programs at Round River.

Milek said it is also a cultural opportunity, as students interact with people from the Taku River Tlingit First Nation.

“As opposed to a traditional setting … you’re in the field all the time, and the coursework is really set up to be an extension of the fieldwork,” he said.

Participating students will take three classes during the trip, which are field methodology, natural history and applied conservation biology, and can earn nine credit hours total.

“These are research experiences that are not readily available on campus,” said John Cavitt, professor of zoology and director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. “It gets students into areas that they probably haven’t had any experience in.”

Milek said, for optimal individual participation, summer groups are limited to 5-7 students.

“A lot of the discussions take place around the campfire, but you get involved in all the different aspects of the conservation,” Milek said. “You really work like a field crew in many ways.”

WSU senior Sheida Hajarian, a botany major, said she will “definitely” apply for the scholarship.

“Because I’m interested in conservation ecology, I want to do field methods,” she said. “I want to do hands-on conservation. It’s a really good opportunity.”

Milek said the watershed is 4.5 million acres.

“It’s entirely pristine,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to be in just one of those incredibly wild places left on earth.”

Out in the field, students will stay in tents for about two weeks at a time. Periodic trips are taken to the town of Atlin for food supplies, where students will also have access to a cabin with Internet, a shower, and a washer and dryer.

“It’s comfortable, but rustic,” Milek said.

The summer program will run from June 30 to Aug. 11, 2012, and the cost is $7,500. The scholarship will cover all costs except airfare. The scholarship can also be used to alternatively participate in Round River’s conservation efforts in Wyoming.

Students can also choose to participate in semester-long research trips in Namibia, Botswana or Chile. The $7,500 scholarship amount would apply toward the semester-long program cost of $14,000.

The scholarship was funded through a partnership between donors Susie and Elliot Hulet of Ogden, Round River and the Office of Undergraduate Research. Applications will be accepted through the Office of Undergraduate Research, starting in early spring. Students can go to for more information about the Round River Conservation Studies programs. For additional information about the scholarship, students can contact the Office of Undergraduate Research at 801-626-8541 or [email protected]