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Stanford graduate students learn to mentor undergraduates through hands-on training in remote African ecosystems

five students sitting around a table and painting
Image credit: Elizabeth Hadly
Aug 13 2018
Fellow, Research, Stanford

For the last few weeks, researchers and students from Stanford University have spent their nights watching wild dogs and hyenas and waking in the morning to the chirps of bats and the grunts of hippos. Making their way through the Okavango Delta in Botswana, members of Stanford’s Hadly Lab and Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, along with an undergraduate class from University of Illinois are immersed in first-hand experiential learning about research, culture, conservation and science communication.

Jasper Ridge directors Elizabeth Hadly and Anthony Barnosky are leading the Stanford students. In her first blog about their journey, Hadly, who is also the Paul S. and Billie Achilles Professor in environmental biology in the School of Humanities and Sciences, said this trip is “part of our mission to connect science, education, communication, humanities and community outreach for students in our changing world.”

While there, the graduate students and postdocs are learning how to mentor undergraduates in a field setting, and testing potential tools for a miniaturized, low-cost field kit that would enable biological research in remote locations. Members of the Jasper Ridge group have also been meeting with local organizations and governments in several countries to establish potential partnerships for future research.

The research group includes Lucas Pavan, a 2018 Stanford Graduate Fellow.