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Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology / Outreach

   Education and Conservation through Preservation
curatorial intern

Mana Hattori works on curating mammal specimens. MWFB curatorial interns tasks range from specimen curation to specimen preparation to field work.

Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

Internship Program Overview

The MWFB offers several internships for UC Davis undergraduate and graduate students. Interns are involved with all facets of museum science including specimen preparation, curation, science outreach and education, specimen-based research, and wildlife biological surveys. All interns work closely with museum staff and are required to maintain good Academic Standing.  Internships are limited to University of California Davis students.

Specimen preparation and curatorial interns require a 160 hour commitment that can be completed over 3-4 quarters.  The minimum commitment is 4hrs/week (40hrs/quarter) over 4 quarters. You may commit more time per quarter and finish your 160 hrs in less than 4 quarters.  You can always volunteer more than 40hrs/quarter and more than 4 quarters.

Remora Internship

This program was designed to afford interested students and graduating seniors the opportunity to see what museum science is all about before committing to a formal MWFB internship.  As a Remora Intern you will ‘attach’ yourself to a host MWFB Staff or Student Intern and observe museum science in action.  It gives you the opportunity to shadow your host for one or more visits, a minimum of two hours per visit.  Space is limited in our labs and all Remora Intern visits are made by appointment only.  There is a minimum of one two-hour visit and unlimited return visits, provided a host is available. 

Activities for Remora Interns include observation of specimen preparation in the lab, specimen curation and installation in the museum, accompanying an MWFB field biologist for avian surveys, bluebird nestbox monitoring, and/or chick banding.  Questions can be asked by the Remora but no formal training is given.  However, if your host is working on a task where they could use a couple of extra hands, you might be asked to assist as needed.  If you are interested you may return for multiple Remora visits.  This has proven to be an excellent way to find students well-fitted to museum work.  Remora Interns that successfully completed multiple visits will be first on the wait list of formal MWFB internships.

Five Mechanisms for Formal Internships

  1. Volunteer Internship. Commitment is a minimum of 4 hours/week. This type of internship allows the most flexibility and is not recorded on transcripts.
  2. Direct Study, WFC-99, 192 or 199 Variable Units. Each unit of academic credit earned in Direct Study requires 4 hours/week committed to internship activities. Students may receive up to 12 units per quarter. Requires approval of MWFB supervisor and curator, a commitment of 4hrs/wk/unit and a 3-5 page essay detailing your experience during your internship. All Direct Study proposals must be approved by either the MWFB Curator or Collections Manager prior to registration. After approval, request the CRN from the WFCB office staff student advisor. They will give you a Direct Study CRN Request Form. Use the verbatim text in the “Intern Description” section below to fill out the Direct Study CRN Request Form. Have the Dept. Chairperson and your MWFB supervisor sign the form, and then submit it to the WFCB office for the CRN.
  3. Transcript Notation. Receive permanent notation of this internship on your UCD transcripts. Requires minimum commitment of 4 hours/week and MWFB supervisor’s approval. Sign up for this with Internship and Career Center (ICC) on-line at Aggie Job Link. At the end of the quarter you will submit hours for approval and complete a short questionnaire and be evaluated by your supervisor and the ICC staff.
  4. Direct Study/Transcript Notation Combo. You may sign up for both Direct Study (WFC-99, 192 or 199) and Transcript Notation at the same time. Paid interns may NOT receive academic credit or transcript notation.
  5. Work Study. The MWFB has limited funds for paid internships and may be able to hire students who qualify for Work Study. Please see the Financial Aid Office to inquire about your eligibility for Work Study. Paid interns may NOT receive academic credit or transcript notation.

Types of Internships

  1. Curatorial
    • incoming specimen (all vertebrate taxa) cataloging and accessioning (data truthing, tag writing, data entry, installation)
    • organizing collection/updating taxonomy
    • skull/skin matching
    • specimen curation/stabilization
    • loan processing
  2. Specimen Preparation
    • bird specimen preparation, including: traditional study skins, freeze dried, wings, skeletons
    • mammal specimen preparation, including: traditional study skins, skeletons, pickled
    • herpetological specimen preparation: pickled
  3. Skeletal Specimen Preparation
    • birds: skeletons with skulls
    • mammals: skulls, skeletons with skulls
  4. Education Outreach
    • public events docent
    • tour docent
    • tour lesson plan development
    • science education display development
    • specimen loan kit development
  5. Dermestid Beetle Husbandry
  6. Osteoscribe
    • birds and mammal skeletons
  7. Field Work
    • avian surveys
    • nestbox monitoring/banding
  8. Remora Internship
    • observe museum staff or intern host, 2-hour minimum visit

Internship Descriptions

SPECIMEN PREPARATION INTERNSHIP

Direct Study - WFC-99, 192 or 199 - Specimen Preparation Internship

Course Plan: Topics to be covered are vertebrate study skin and osteological specimen preparation and curation.  Students will have hands-on practice in the museum and preparatory lab with vertebrate taxonomy, anatomy, morphology, identification and natural history.  General principles of museum science will be covered.  Field guides, taxonomy lists and natural history texts will be used and reference materials.

Grading: Students must complete 4 hours/week per unit of credit and comply with the meticulous standards required by the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology.  By the end of the quarter, students must become proficient in specimen preparation and have a clear understanding of general museum science and current taxonomy. A short answer review and reflection of their internship experience and how it has benefited their academic career and related to their future career is due on the last day of instruction.

Transcript Notation - Specimen Preparation Internship

Responsibilities and duties: Duties will include vertebrate study skin and osteological specimen preparation and curation.   Students will have hands-on practice in the museum and preparatory lab with vertebrate taxonomy, anatomy, morphology, identification and natural history.  General principles of museum science will be covered.  Field guides, taxonomy lists and natural history texts will be used and reference materials.

Learning objectives: By the end of the quarter, students must become proficient in specimen preparation and have a clear understanding of general museum curation.  By learning general vertebrate anatomy, identification and taxonomy through specimen preparation and curation students will benefit in their careers as wildlife biologists. 

Supervisor's Expectations: Interns are expected to perform all tasks with extreme care and precision.  Interns are instilled with the work ethic that all tasks should be executed meticulously and accurately.

CURATORIAL INTERNSHIP

Direct Study - WFC-99, 192 or 199 - Curatorial Internship

Course Plan: Topics to be covered are vertebrate study skin and osteological specimen curation including; organization, inventory, stabilization, accessioning, and cataloging. Students will have hands-on practice in the museum and preparatory lab with vertebrate taxonomy, anatomy, morphology, identification and natural history. General principles of museum science will be covered. Field guides, taxonomy lists and natural history texts will be used and reference materials. Students will benefit in their careers as wildlife biologists by learning general vertebrate anatomy, identification, taxonomy, biogeography and natural history through specimen curation.

Grading: Students must complete 4 hours/week per unit of credit and comply with the meticulous standards required by the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology. By the end of the quarter, students must become proficient in specimen curation and have a clear understanding of general museum science and current taxonomy. A short answer review and reflection of their internship experience and how it has benefited their academic career and related to their future career is due on the last day of instruction.

Transcript Notation - Curatorial Internship

Responsibilities and duties: Duties will include vertebrate study skin and osteological specimen curation including; organization, inventory, stabilization, accessioning and cataloging. Students will have hands-on practice in the museum and preparatory lab with vertebrate taxonomy, anatomy, morphology, identification and natural history. General principles of museum science will be covered. Field guides, taxonomy lists and natural history texts will be used and reference materials.

Learning objectives: By the end of the quarter, students must become proficient in specimen curation and have a clear understanding of general museum science and current taxonomy. Students will benefit in their careers as wildlife biologists by learning general vertebrate anatomy, identification, taxonomy, biogeography and natural history through specimen curation.

Supervisor's Expectations: Interns are expected to perform all tasks with extreme care and precision. Interns are instilled with the work ethic that all tasks should be executed meticulously and accurately. Interns must have neat, legible penmanship and exceptional organization skills.

DERMESTID BEETLE HUSBANDRY INTERNSHIP

Transcript Notation - Curatorial Internship

Responsibilities and duties: Duties will include dermestid beetle colony husbandry (misting, temperature/humidity control, air circulation regulation, food preparation*, food cycling) of the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology beetle colony. Osteological specimen material handling, processing, and post-colony osteological specimen curation will be covered in the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology preparatory lab. *Interns will be asked to prepare (measure, catalog, flense and eviscerate) vertebrate specimens as food for the colony.

Learning objectives: By the end of the quarter, students must become proficient in dermestid beetle colony husbandry. They must be able to evaluate, adjust and provide proper environmental conditions, food sources, and habitat to sustain a healthy colony.

Supervisor's Expectations: Interns are expected to perform all tasks with extreme care and precision. Interns are instilled with the work ethic that all tasks should be executed meticulously and accurately. Interns must have legible penmanship and exceptional organization skills. Museum of WFB vertebrate osteological material (which is the food source for the dermestids) must be handled with the utmost care to ensure that no bones are misplaced or damaged during their defleshing by the dermestids and handling between tanks and labs. All skeletons and skulls are to remain complete unless otherwise noted.

EDUCATION AND OUTREACH / DOCENT INTERNSHIP

Direct Study - WFC-99, 192 or 199 - Education and Outreach Internship

Course Plan: Topics to be covered will vary by individual intern and could possibly include, creation of a science educational display, creation and curation of specimen loan kits, specimen loan lesson plan materials, tour docent, public event docent.

Grading: Students must complete 4 hours/week per unit of credit and comply with the meticulous standards required by the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology. A short answer review and reflection of their internship experience and how it has benefited their academic career and related to their future career is due on the last day of instruction.

Transcript Notation - Curatorial Internship

Responsibilities and duties: Duties will will vary by individual intern.

Learning objectives: Learning objectives will vary by individual intern. by the end of the quarter, students will be proficient in general natural history, ecology and have an exposure to taxonomy and museum science. Students will benefit in their careers as wildlife biologists by learning general vertebrate identification, taxonomy, biogeography and natural history through education and outreach.

Supervisor's Expectations: Interns are expected to perform all tasks with extreme care and precision. Interns are instilled with the work ethic that all tasks should be executed accurately. Interns will adhere to the philosophy that concepts conveyed in the MWFB education and outreach program are engaging, accessible to general and targeted audiences. Interns must have general professional appearance, exceptional organization skills, and a keen interest in wildlife biology, ecology and conservation.

Click here for more information on curatorial and specimen preparator internships or contact our Collections Manager, Irene Engilis.


We are located on the University of California, Davis campus in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology in the Academic Surge Building, room 1394. Click here for an interactive campus map, or here for a PDF map to the MWFB.