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University of California Santa Barbara

UCSB - Smithsonian Scholars Program

Brief History

In 2015 UCSB, its regional community college partners, and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) co-developed an innovative summer program to engage diverse students in experiential learning centered on multi-disciplinary conservation strategies, biodiversity research, and careers in STEM.

To learn more...

Program Offerings:

The program provides activities and multi-day workshops that engage students in hands-on, skill-building activities connecting them with ongoing research projects. The overall goal of the program is to give students early research experiences that will help them prepare and be competitive for internships in STEM and to encourage students to participate in post-graduate opportunities.

We provide a variety of activities such as:

  • Professional Development Workshops
  • Field Workshops
  • Research Internship Opportunities

Target Audience:

We are looking for 1st and 2nd year STEM students who are first generation and or low-income, specifically from UCSB, Oxnard College, Santa Barbara City College, Allan Hancock College, Ventura College, and East LA College. Participants must be willing to try new and challenging experiences and work well in a team environment.

Becoming a Scholar is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Complete Application and Eligibility Documents
  2. Provide one Letter of Recommendation
  3. Schedule a Professional Interview with Staff Coordinator

To learn more...

Stay Connected:

Please visit our UCSB‐Smithsonian Calendar page for upcoming activities and join our email/SMS text stream by emailing the coordinator:

  • First Name and Last Name
  • College/University you are currently attending
  • Primary Email (e.g. school)
  • Secondary Email (e.g. personal)
  • Declared Major
  • Cell Phone Number

Contact Info for Program Coordinator:
Please email or call Cristina Soto Balderas
Phone: 805‐893‐4789

Current NEWS:

Summer 2018

  • Santa Cruz Island Field Techniques Workshop – This past Summer we held a four-day excursion to the Santa Cruz Island UC Reserve that challenged students and gave our 19 participants hands-on experience. Students engaged in a variety of conservation topics, learned about biological communities of the island, connected with peer mentors and engaged with STEM professionals from the Smithsonian Institution, Growing Solutions, UC Santa Barbara, and the National Parks Conservation Association. Students learned to orient, navigate and map diverse landscapes, assisted student researchers with a mammal population study, discussed fire ecology research opportunities, while conducting team building activities.
  • Early Research Experience for Students (ERES) Program – Undergraduates networked in Washington D.C. with research scientists. Highlights include tours and lectures at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Students also learned valuable lab and field-based non-invasive genomic techniques, radio-collar tracking, how to ask a priori questions in research, conducted amphibian sampling, helped researchers assess forest health, and attended the “Emerging Scientist Symposium” at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
  • Scholars create incredible story map using new ESRI technology. With the guidance of Dr. Ryan Valdez, National Parks Conservation Association, students Jocelyn Carranza, Rodrigo Gonzalez Garcia, and Minerva Rivera worked in Washington, D.C. NPCA headquarters to create an interactive web-based tool that showcases the Channel Islands and the work we do. Please take a look and share with your peers.

Winter 2018/Spring 2019

  • Our student scholars continue to take the lead on two research projects located on the Channel Islands: 1) Island Spotted Skunk Monitoring Project, and 2) Island Jay Fire Ecology Project. If you are interested in joining our research efforts or want to learn more...

Contact us:

Contact Info for Program Coordinator:
Please email or call Cristina Soto Balderas
Phone: 805‐893‐4789