Norris Center Graduate Fellows Program

Undergraduate student interest in natural history at UCSC is enormous. Students are drawn to UCSC because of its natural beauty, and once they get here, they want to learn more. There is a huge demand for classes and internships, and there are many student-initiated groups and events, such as the UCSC Natural History club.

The demand for mentoring far outstrips the time available for Norris Center staff to supervise and mentor all interested students, particularly in the spring. And beyond meeting their thirst for learning, students also need guidance on how to integrate and archive their projects into a larger framework that will build the overall resources of the Center and increase field teaching on campus. Graduate students, who can be both teachers and learners, can fill this gap.

To strengthen the learning network that we are building, the Norris Center is seeking support for graduate fellows. These fellows will help by:

1. Mentoring undergraduate students working on natural history and museum collections; and

2. Coordinating student projects with ongoing natural history research on campus.  

Graduate students will help build a hub for undergraduate student natural history studies that exemplifies the hands-on, peer-to-peer learning model that Professor Norris espoused.

The fellowship will benefit graduate students by providing funding and experience in student mentoring, museum collections, curation, and administration that will strengthen their competitive edge for a range of jobs.

As an example of the many benefits of a Graduate Fellows Program, former Ph.D. student Jenn Yost (pictured above) worked with over 10 undergraduates, 4 high school interns, and numerous community groups to curate and expand the Norris Center Herbarium. This forged collaborations with Swanton Pacific Ranch, local area botanists, and the California Native Plant Society, and provided important experience for Jenn’s current position as Assistant Professor and Director of the Herbarium at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Click here to donate to this Norris Center program.