UF/IFAS Programs & Projects

The Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program 

Program Structure


To be eligible for the program, students must be current college students, and enrolled at any one of the five collaborating universities (University of Florida, University of Idaho, University of Arizona, Cornell University, and North Carolina State University). Students should have at least 2 years (4 semesters) remaining before graduating, although exceptions may be made for qualified transfer students with only 3 semesters remaining. Current high school students are not eligible to apply and are encouraged to apply during their freshman year of college.

1st Summer and Academic Year

If your are accepted into the program you will take an online course in Spring 2018 that will serve as an introduction to the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, principles of research, and diversity and inclusion topics. It is also an opportunity to begin forging connections with the other students in the program, connections that may last a lifetime. At the end of the semester you'll attend a week-long conservation leadership program in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center in West Virginia. You'll cement strong bonds with your fellow scholars while exploring nature together and learn valuable field and leadership skills in the indoor and outdoor classrooms of the National Conservation Training Center.

At the end of the week, you'll return to your home institution to work with faculty and graduate student mentors on field research projects. In some cases, work on projects will have begun prior to Conservation Leadership Week. Possible projects will vary by region but may include studying the influence of domestic animals on hatchling seaturtles, learning about the ecology of imperiled desert fishes, and studying the effects of invasive exotic species on native plant and animal communities. Projects are likely to occur away from campus and if so, housing will be provided. 

You will be assigned to one of two research projects. Specific projects will be decided in the spring. You will be assigned to projects in pairs and the decision on which project to assign you to will take your interests into account. Your mentors will either be associated with the DDCSP or with the research project. You do not have the option to pursue your own research project outside of the offered DDCSP opportunities. You'll be employed through your home university and will work full-time on an ecological research project for approximately 9 weeks during the summer. You're expected to earn approximately $5,000 for the summer while learning valuable research skills and field techniques.

Next year, you'll maintain your connections with students from across the Collaborative and learn valuable communication and leadership principles through 1-credit distance-based courses focused on human dimensions of conservation and achieving academic and professional success. You'll also finish analyzing data from your summer research project, attend biweekly group meetings or activities and interact regularly with graduate student and faculty mentors.

2nd Summer and Academic Year

During their second summer, students will spend approximately 8 weeks employed in paid internships with tribal, state, or federal agencies or nongovernmental organizations. Internship placements will be related to water, land, or wildlife conservation and student interests will be taken into account. Students are expected to earn approximately $4800 for the summer. 

During the following academic year, students will take a final 1-credit distance-based course, attend biweekly group meetings, and have regular meetings with their mentors. Students will also work with their mentors to define their educational and career goals in conservation and to prepare for the next steps in their journey.

Collaborators     ‌      ‌‌     ‌‌