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Two male students examining the skull of a mammal
Students find evolution, ecology and biodiversity’s interdisciplinary nature and the huge variety of upper-division elective options allow them to explore a variety of vocations in the biology field. (David Slipher/UC Davis)

Customize Your Education for a Variety of Vocations Connected to the Biological Sciences

By Lily Coates on January 17, 2018

 

Evolution, ecology and biodiversity, one of the longer undergraduate program names on campus, offers a degree full of options and career paths.

Housed within the College of Biological Sciences, this program prepares you for a variety of vocations, from health professions to conservation research, by providing many choices for upper-division coursework to fit your goals. With this major, you have the opportunity to customize your education for the ideal, individualized student experience.

As an evolution, ecology and biodiversity major, you will be able to describe and understand the concepts surrounding ecology and evolution. The program explores the different models used to collect data and predict environmental phenomena as well as how to apply them to  undergraduate research.

Evolution, ecology and biodiversity connected to high global ranking

Did you know that according to U.S. News & World Report, in “2018 Best Global Universities,” UC Davis ranked No. 7 in the world for environment and ecology? That means you’ll learn from some of the world’s foremost faculty members in their fields through your classroom instruction and undergraduate research opportunities in the college.

Because it is in one of the smaller programs in the College of Biological Sciences, the evolution, ecology and biodiversity major gives students even more opportunities than those in larger departments to get to know professors in their own college — and in other colleges and schools involved with biological research and teaching.

This type of networking can lead to internships on campus and at satellite research locations such as the UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab. Building networks and exploring different research opportunities are great ways to get involved as a UC Davis undergraduate.

Interdisciplinary nature adds to elective options

Female student holding a tarantula
A student in a biology instructional lab gets “hands on” and studies a tarantula up close. (David Slipher/UC Davis)

Zoe Rossman ’17 started at UC Davis as a neurobiology, physiology and behavior major, but she soon switched to evolution, ecology and biodiversity.

“The interdisciplinary nature of the major and the huge variety of upper-division elective options first attracted me to evolution, ecology and biodiversity,” Zoe says. “This major allowed me to cater to my specific interests in a way that more structured majors wouldn't have.”

She wasted no time getting involved on campus when she arrived as a freshman and began her first research internship the first quarter. One opportunity led to another, and she soon had a wealth of real-world experience to add to her academic studies.

“I started out in Tim Caro’s lab, working on a project mapping anthropogenic land conversion in Eastern Africa. I stayed on in the Caro Lab my sophomore year, researching the evolution of panda coloration,” she says.

My junior year I began working with Lynette Hart in the School of Veterinary Medicine, researching human-elephant interaction and elephant yawning behavior in South Africa, and continued this work my final two years in Davis and up to the present. — Zoe Rossman ’17

Clubs connect students to their community of interest

Student clubs are also a fun and exploratory way to get involved and become part of the community on campus. Lauren Watson, an evolution, ecology and biodiversity second-year student, offers the following advice for those who want to find a club that relates to their major.

“One of the greatest clubs for students interested in evolution, ecology and biodiversity is the Strategies for Ecology, Education, Diversity and Sustainability club,” she says. “SEEDS conducts many citizen-science and field-research projects.”

Lauren joined multiple organizations and became connected to other students through networking.

“Furthermore, I am a member of the Pre-Veterinary Students Supporting Diversity, a club that provides academic support, as well as educational and veterinary experience opportunities to students interested in pursuing veterinary medicine,” she says. “I was connected with Mercer Clinic for the Pets of the Homeless, a medical clinic run by UC Davis vet med students.”

Lauren volunteers as an undergraduate veterinary technician at Mercer Clinic, helping to provide free veterinary care for the pets of the homeless population in Sacramento.

Lily Coates is a student intern with the College of Biological Sciences’ marketing and communication team. Her internship combines her love of biology and writing.

 

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