Belize Jaguar & Howler Monkey Research Fellowship - Loop Abroad

Online
Belize Jaguar & Howler Monkey Research Fellowship


Perform critical research to protect Jaguars and Howler Monkeys…

from anywhere on Earth!

 

Highlights

  • 100% online for J-Term 2021 (Limited to 20 fellow spots)
  • Earn 100 research hours for VMCAS vet school applications
  • Have a direct impact on the conservation of howler monkeys and jaguars in Belize
  • Work alongside primatologist Dr. Kayla Hartwell to perform critical research necessary for the reintroduction of endangered black howler monkeys to Runaway Creek Nature Reserve
  • Gain valuable research experience in wildlife conservation, primate behavior, camera trap surveys, wildlife monitoring techniques, vegetation sampling, and conducting literature reviews for research proposals

*Fellowship is open to ALL. No pre-requisites or student status required.

Loop Abroad, in collaboration with CELA-Belize, invites students to be part of wildlife conservation and research conducted by the Foundation for Wildlife Conservation (FWC) in and around the Runaway Creek Nature Reserve in central Belize. This is a one-of-kind online research fellowship available from anywhere.

Fellowship Description:

Join the research team from the Foundation for Wildlife Conservation (FWC) to study jaguars and howler monkeys at Runaway Creek Nature Reserve in Belize. FWC is a small non-profit organization that owns and manages Runaway Creek. The reserve is over 6,000 acres of tropical forest that serves as a critical piece of the Maya Forest Corridor in Central Belize. This unique online fellowship will encompass two on-going projects at Runaway Creek and will require the students to work with long-term data on howler monkeys and jaguars.

Work alongside primatologist Dr. Kayla Hartwell to gather information and analyze data as a critical step toward the reintroduction of endangered black howler monkeys to Runaway Creek Nature Reserve.  Following a destructive hurricane in 2010, howler monkeys slowly disappeared from the reserve. To help bring howler monkeys back to Runaway Creek and increase their genetic diversity within the corridor, FWC will release ex-captive howler monkeys who have gone through a successful rehabilitation process and are ready for survival in the wild. 

In addition to participating in the study of howler monkeys, students will gain valuable experience conducting research on jaguars. They will help the FWC team compile and organize over 10 years of camera trap images on jaguars and other wildlife (eg. tapirs, pumas, ocelots, coatis) at Runaway Creek using a specialized research software program.  Research fellows will learn how to individually identify jaguars and compile a complete species list for the reserve. This information will be critical to the management of Runaway Creek within the Maya Forest Corridor.

Through a combination of lectures, assignments and one-one-one instruction, students will be introduced to conservation issues within the Maya Forest Corridor, primate behavior, wildlife monitoring and research techniques, the importance of vegetation sampling, and other ongoing research by the FWC team. 

This fellowship is virtual, based on twice weekly lectures and meetings led by the FWC staff. The curriculum is based on current and past data collected at Runaway Creek Nature Reserve. Following the initial introductory block session, meeting times will be twice a week for 1-2 hours as well as virtual office hours for one-on-one time with FWC staff.

Your primary projects will include (100 Research Hours required):

Howler monkey sighting and behavior data: You will help analyze data on the howler monkeys at Runaway Creek to determine when howler numbers started to decline following the hurricane. You will learn data collection methods for studying primates in the wild and will learn simple data analysis tools while also calculating howler activity budgets and diet profiles. 

Vegetation sampling: Studying the vegetation prior to releasing the howler monkeys is critical to a successful reintroduction so that the habitat is deemed suitable with enough food resources to support monkeys. You will learn how to collect and analyze vegetation data and fruit phenology to determine howler food availability within the areas selected for release.

Camera trap data: For over ten years, FWC has used a series of motion sensor camera traps within the 6,000-acre reserve to monitor and study wild animals. Camera traps are an effective method for collecting data on elusive species with minimal impact to the animals. You will help the FWC team organize and review camera trap images to compile a complete species list of animals at Runaway Creek. You will also learn how to individually identify jaguars and analyze camera trap photos of jaguars to determine relative abundance, site fidelity, population density, and record observations of unique behaviors.

Literature Review: You will compile articles from peer-reviewed journals as part of FWC’s research projects.  Topics will include research methodology and data analysis using camera traps, wildlife rehabilitation and reintroduction of howler monkeys and other neotropical primates, wildlife corridors and conservation issues with the development of roads. You will research a topic, compile information from multiple resources, and complete a paper discussing your findings. The information you gather in your literature review will be useful to FWC for future research proposals, presentations, publications, and grant applications.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about the behavior, ecology, and conservation status of primates in Belize
  • Analyze past data on howler monkey sightings at Runaway Creek to determine critical information on their decline following a major hurricane
  • Analyze vegetation data and fruit phenology to determine howler food availability at the release areas
  • Learn how to individually identify jaguars and analyze camera trap photos of jaguars to determine relative abundance, site fidelity, population density, and record observations of unique behaviors
  • Organize and review ten years of camera trap data to compile a species list of animals at Runaway Creek

Your impact as a research fellow…

Your work as a research fellow with FWC will have a direct impact on the conservation of howler monkeys and jaguars in Belize. The information you gather during your fellowship will be critical to a successful reintroduction of endangered black howler monkeys. Furthermore, you will have a first-hand impact on the management and protection of jaguars and other threatened species within the Maya Forest Corridor. 

Further your studies…

Other topics presented and discussed will include wildlife rehabilitation, tapir research at Runaway Creek, species identification, and basic statistical analysis.

Students may apply from anywhere in the world. You must be fluent in English and have internet fast enough for video call (minimum 1Mbps) and a computer with video playback, microphone, and sound. No experience with zoos, research, or veterinary medicine is required.

Dates, Meeting Times, And Deadlines

SessionDatesEnrollment Deadline
J-Term 2021Jan 2 – Jan 23Dec 31

This is the schedule of meetings throughout the research fellowship J-Term 2021*:

BlockDateMeeting Times
Orientation WeekendSat + Sun Jan 2-311am-1pm ET
In SessionEvery Monday & Wed starting Jan 411am-1pm ET
Closing SessionSat Jan 2311am-2pm ET
Office HoursBy Appointment on Thursdays11am-2pm ET

Virtual office hours for one-on-one time with FWC and Runaway Creek staff will be available. Each fellowship session is limited to 20 fellows to ensure substantial customized mentorship.

Enrollment is rolling and sessions will close as soon as they fill. If a fellowship session is still listed here, there are still positions available.

Research Fellowship Tuition

**Since COVID-19 has disrupted many students’ travel and educational plans for J-Term 2021, we are heavily discounting tuition to help pre-veterinary students meet their goals.

SessionFull TuitionDiscounted Tuition
J-Term 2021 (accelerated 3 weeks)$2000$1495 (25% OFF for J-Term 2021)

University credit is not offered with this internship. There are no additional readings, technology subscriptions, or course materials you have to purchase to participate in this research fellowship. \

The Gilman Scholarship could fund $5000 of your tuition. See the official website and read about Loop Abroad students who have received this scholarship. If you are a US citizen receiving a Pell Grant and currently enrolled in college or university, we encourage you to apply for this scholarship. The next round of applications for the Gilman scholarship open in January 2021. The deadline will be in March. At that time, you can apply for scholarships to use on any program starting between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022.

Enroll Now

Scholarships

 

There are lots of ways to help fund your online and travel programs with Loop Abroad, and we are here to help.

Scholarships are a terrific way to cover some or all of your tuition for a Loop Abroad program.

Loop Abroad Dr. Erica Ward Scholarship

Loop Abroad is offering one FULL TUITION scholarship to cover one online program of your choice starting December 2020 or later. Applications for this scholarship are due November 18, 2020.

Who can apply: This scholarship is open to all students age 18 and over. You do not have to be a US Citizen. You do not have to be currently in school. You do not need to be enrolled in an online course to apply. You can apply for the scholarship first and make your online course selection after you receive a decision about the scholarship. (Note: if you make any payments toward tuition and later receive the scholarship, your payments will be refunded up to the value of one online program of your choice, not including an online semester.) 

Criteria for selecting the scholarship recipient: 

We will consider financial need, commitment to conservation and/or animal science, academic performance, and ability to be a positive team member as factors in our decision. We are not looking for the applicant with the highest grades or the most animal hours. We are not looking for the applicant with the saddest story. We are looking for a student who embodies Loop Abroad’s values of teamwork, commitment to a cause, and hard work, and for a student who would not be able to otherwise afford Loop Abroad tuition (whether because of household income or recent change in circumstances).

How to apply:
In order to apply, you must complete the following three steps:

  1. Submit the application to the Loop Abroad Dr. Erica Ward Scholarship here. The application requires a copy of your proof of household income (such as last year’s tax return).
  2. Follow @LoopAbroad on instagram (instagram.com/loopabroad) and make an instagram post about the program you’re hoping to join, tagging @loopabroad and #loopabroad in the post.

Announcement of Award: The scholarship winner will be notified by November 25th.

girl elephant dogWhy is it called the Erica Ward Scholarship? Dr. Erica Ward is our Academic Director. We believe that she embodies the values we are seeking in our scholarship applicants: she is passionate, dedicated, hard-working, and driven to make the world a better place. Dr. Ward consistently strives to find ways that Loop Abroad can support projects in need and help its students and alumni have fulfilling academic opportunities. We have decided to name this scholarship after her in order to honor her continued commitment to her values and purpose. (PS – She isn’t dead. Please don’t write your essay about honoring her legacy. She is very much alive and still working here. If you are a finalist for the scholarship, she will read your essay.)

Details:
The scholarship will be credited toward tuition for the winning student toward the Loop Abroad online program of their choice. If the chosen winner has already made payments toward his or her Loop Abroad tuition, those payments will be refunded in full.

Scholarship is non-transferable. If student cannot attend, scholarship will be void – it is not a cash prize and cannot be paid as such. Applicants must be over the age of 18. Citizens and residents of any country may apply.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship:

Created in 2001, The Gilman Scholarship was designed to help students of limited financial means have the opportunity to study abroad – online or in-person. Nearly a third of applicants are awarded the scholarship! This is a great opportunity to help cover your tuition.

This scholarship is open to US citizen undergraduate students receiving a Federal Pell Grant during the time of application. Students can receive up to $5,000 for 3+ weeks of travel or virtual programs. The scholarship can be applied to any of our online programs, to our semester programs, or to one of our 2-week programs with an added bonus week.

Along with their application, students must submit two essays, the Statement of Purpose Essay, and the Community Impact Essay. Students must also upload their transcripts (unofficial or official). For more information on the application guidelines, please click here.

The next round of applications for the Gilman scholarship open in January 2021. The deadline will be in March. At that time, you can apply for scholarships to use on any program starting between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022.

The Gilman-McCain Scholarship:

The Gilman-McCain Scholarship is a congressionally funded initiative of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and named after the late senator John S. McCain from Arizona.

This scholarship is open to US citizen undergraduate students who are child dependents of active duty service members and receiving any type of Title IV federal financial aid. Students can receive awards of up to $5,000 for 2+ weeks of international travel or online programs. The scholarship can be applied to any of our online programs,  semester programs or 2-week travel programs.

The next round of applications for the Gilman scholarship open in January 2021. The deadline will be in March. At that time, you can apply for scholarships to use on any program starting between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022.

Freeman-Asia Scholarship:

The Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) provides scholarships for U.S. undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. This scholarship is open to both US citizens and permanent residents who are undergraduate students at a two-year or four-year college or university.

Recipients can receive up to $3,000 in awards for summer programs. This scholarship can be applied to our Thailand programs of 2+ weeks.

In order to apply, students must fill out an online application. Read the scholarship instructions here and the eligibility requirements here.

Applications for the 2020-2021 school year are closed. 

The Fund for Education Abroad:

The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) invests in promising students with financial need who wish to study abroad. Potential applicants who meet our eligibility requirements may participate on any international education program that meets their academic objectives.

This scholarship is open to US citizens or permanent residents currently enrolled as an undergraduate at a college or university in the US. Scholarships range from $1,250 – $10,000 and can be applied for programs that run for at least 28 days.

Along with their application, students must submit a financial aid form (filled out by the financial aid office at their school), one recommendation letter, and a copy of their unofficial transcript.

Applications for Summer 2021 and Fall 2021 will open November 16, 2020 and be due by January 20, 2021. Students may review the scholarship and apply here.

Scholarships of note that you can apply for through the Fund for Education Abroad include:

InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest:

The InternationalStudent.com 2020 Travel Video Contest gives students the opportunity to win a scholarship by sending in an original video discussing:

  • How COVID-19 has impacted your international education or cultural exchange experience abroad
  • Your ideal international education or cultural exchange after Covid-19

There are several prizes available ranging from $250 to $4,000.

In order to apply, students must create a 4-minute video and submit an online entry form. Tips and tricks for filming a video entry can be found here. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.

Submissions are due by October 13, 2020. Apply here.

The Associate Home Loan Scholarship:

The Associate Home Loans Scholarship was created with today’s future leaders in mind. As college prices are constantly increasing this scholarship was created with the hope that it can help make a small difference in one college student’s life each year.

This scholarship is open to high school seniors who have been accepted into a college or university, and current college and university students who attend at least part-time.

Students can apply for the scholarship by submitting a 500-word essay to the question, “What is your dream career?” The student with the winning essay will be awarded $1,000.

Get more details about this program…

"I'm so thankful that I did this fellowship. It was more than I thought I was getting into, but it was definitely worth all of it!"

Cassidy F., Zoo Research Fellowship Online 2020

The Ohio State University