The Institute for Conservation Research offers Undergraduate Summer Student Fellowships in each of our Research teams: Recovery Ecology, Population Sustainability, Community Engagement, Conservation Genetics, Plant Conservation, Reproductive Sciences, and Disease Investigations.

  • Community Engagement is driving conservation action through science education and community collaborations. Our community-based conservation group implements and builds capacity for locally-managed, sustainable conservation programs using diverse, collaborative approaches, and our in-house group connects students, teachers, and community members with the science of saving species in order to foster a conservation literate and active public.
  • Conservation Genetics conducts molecular genetic (sex and species determinations, kinship assessments and parentage validation, population and phylogeographic studies using a variety of molecular markers), genomic (mitogenomic, trancriptomic, and bioinformatic analyses) and stem cell research (iPSC reprogramming, gene expression, and directed development), all of which provide important new insights relevant to the assessment, monitoring, and management of endangered species in zoos and in the wild.
  • Disease Investigations’ mission is to remove disease as a roadblock to wildlife conservation. They identify and solve health problems by carrying out comprehensive disease surveillance programs, disease outbreak investigations, and targeted disease research for all of the animals in our facilities and field conservation programs. Research projects generally focus on pathology, epidemiology, or molecular biology and are based either at the Beckman center (Escondido) or at the San Diego Zoo (San Diego).
  • Plant Conservation actively works toward recovery of rare and endangered plant species and restoration of their native ecosystems. Potential projects include seed collections of San Diego County rare plant species, germination and storage trials, and propagation for restoration; restoration site preparation and vegetation surveys; weed management; or population genetics. Projects are developed with mentors to meet program and conservation needs and aligned with the skill sets and interests of the selected applicants. In addition to independent projects, selected fellows will round out their fellowship with work on all facets of Plant Conservation programs. San Diego summers are hot and dry, and applying fellows need to be prepared to conduct field work under such conditions.
  • Identifying factors that contribute to species’ vulnerability or resilience to environmental change is the focus of the Population Sustainability team’s research. We use an interdisciplinary approach to conservation science – with a focus on ecology, physiology and behavior – and strive to apply research findings to conservation management. This summer, there is a special need for a fellow with coding, engineering, and machine learning interests, and who might help with organization of our annual tech to reconnect event. 
  • Recovery Ecology focuses on large-scale conservation programs that assist in the recovery of endangered and threatened populations locally and globally. They apply scientifically acquired behavioral and ecological knowledge to solve conservation problems.
  • Reproductive Sciences applies innovative science to the conservation of endangered species through enhanced reproduction. Four major areas of investigation support this mission: assisted reproductive technology, hormone monitoring, environmental toxicology, avian physiology and stem cells.

Current undergraduate students must be officially associated with a college or university in order to be eligible for the fellowship program. Undergraduates who are currently enrolled in college meet this criterion, as do graduating seniors who are continuing their education in the fall following graduation. Recent graduates who are not continuing their education in fall of the same year are not eligible to apply. 

The application process has closed for Summer 2019. Read our FAQ here. The application process for Summer 2020 will begin December 1, 2019. For further information, please email Katika Bade, summer student fellowship administrator.