... More Student Testimonials
"...an incredibly defining experience...my participation in field biology quarter set apart the education I
received at UCLA as compared to other top notch universities... Through a combination of luck, insight, and
conversations with my peers and the course professors, I was able to generate a series of experiments that we
published in the scientific journals, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology and Ethology.
...Additionally, all of this was accomplished in a culturally broadening, international setting. We learned
about the Nicaraguan revolution because it had affected Nicaragua's forest ecology. Many science curricula do
not place a strong emphasis on international relations or history, and I considered this aspect of field
biology quarter to be an unexpected advantage to the course.
Zoe Donaldson, FBQ 2001, Nicaragua
"One of the most important requirements on graduate school applications is prior research experience. The
experience I gained conducting a project on color variation in rainforest toads during the FBQ allowed me to
substantiate my desire to attend graduate school with a solid foundation in previous field research
Brittny Calsbeek, FBQ 2005, Ecuador
"The experience has left me with tomes of pleasant memories. Never will I forget the color of the metallic
blue ants that made their home in the seemingly barren landscape. The birdsong of the galah is still fresh in
my mind. In addition to the occasional emu running around the outback, we would come face to face with
kangaroos in the wild on a daily basis...As students we crafted bonds with our professors, our peers and most
importantly - our environment. The experience left us with a profound appreciation for our surroundings."
Hemesh Patel, FBQ 2002, Australia
...the FBQ was a period of personal growth for me. For me, it was the first time in a tropical rainforest
without the luxuries of technology or heated water. I faced a lot of fears: my fear of insects in particular,
of getting dirty, and of the dark. I came back to the U.S. with a sense of accomplishment and confidence,
knowing that I had seen things that many people would never see in their lifetime.
Menemsha Alloush FBQ
"I can say without a doubt that my field quarter was the best quarter of my entire college education. The
instruction by both professors was amazing, having them at my fingertips for the entire quarter and knowing
that my success in my project was their main focus was an experience that nothing has ever come close to"
Susan Garity FBQ 2003, Australia
With its unparalleled biodiversity, the rainforest is still largely unexplored and offers research
opportunities even for undergraduates. I loved that feeling of discovery; when you're watching something for
tenth time, but you see it in a different light and the pieces come together and you have an Eureka! moment. I
remember being befuddled by this bizarre animal behavior. After days of careful observance, a solution
presented itself and even more importantly we started to gather data that supported the solution. Even though
it was a small discovery, I was thrilled for the remainder of the trip. Having the opportunity to discover is
one of the most valuable aspect of the Field Biology Quarter.
It would be a tremendous loss if the FBQ program
became extinct. I learned more in one month in the field than semesters filled with lectures and textbooks.
Its one thing to read about the principles of evolution; its an entirely different thing to see evolution
principles play out before your eyes in the wild. The FBQ is a rite of passage for the EEB student,
challenging them with the rigors of field research, but at the same time reinforcing what we love about
biology. It was the best part of my education at UCLA
Timothy Tawa, FBQ 2005, Ecuador
The FBQ was an absolutely incredible experience. We had the opportunity to work in beautiful sites around
Jervis Bay, Australia, learn about the local Aboriginal culture, see first-hand the spectacular native
wildlife (echidnas and platypuses!)...By devoting an entire quarter to research, we were able to get a solid
understanding of all of the major elements of field work...Such a thorough understanding would not have been
possible in a typical classroom or laboratory setting.
Genevieve Erwin, FBQ 2003, Australia
One of the best parts of the programs is that it is inexpensive. If I remember correctly, we had to pay about
Dr. Cory Unruh, FBQ 2001, Nicaragua
600 to cover all of our expenses (airfare included), in addition to normal tuition and fees. Other field
programs, such as Organization for Tropical Studies or the School for Field Studies, start at $ 15,000-20,000!
Although those are semester-long programs, we spent almost half the quarter in the field for less than a tenth
of the price!
The opportunity to study and observe the flora and fauna of a tropical rainforest first hand was alone worthy
of taking the FBQ course. However, completing the two independent research projects were a vital component of
my UCLA education...the FBQ course builds upon classroom knowledge and challenges students to understand and
conduct the scientific method
Claire Zugmeyer, FBQ 2001, Nicaragua
The FBQ changed the way that I thought about science and school. Instead of being structured like most
courses where information is presented by the professor, processed and analyzed by the student and then retold
to the professor via either an assignment or exam, the FBQ experience puts the focus of study into the hands
of the student. This autonomy to pick your own project and have the assistance of great professors and TAs
really lends itself to developing scientific minds that question what is going on around them and seek out
answers. I don't think there is any experience at the undergraduate level that provides this almost
Matthew Holte, FBQ 2001, Nicaragua
"From my FBQ trip, my [research] partner and I were able to obtain significant data that we are currently in
the process of submitting for publication."
Humberto Parada, FBQ 2007, Nicaragua
The FBQ has made me grow for the better. I was able to learn from another culture, communicate in another
language, gain valuable knowledge, and join in a network of great classmates and professors whom I still
engage with...While exploring the lowland wet tropical rainforest in southeastern Nicaragua, I was able to use
all of my senses to take in the sounds, sights, smells, and the moisture on my skin and physically experience
one of the world's most rapidly diminishing and diverse ecosystem...The FBQ has widened my perspective on
things and has only further fueled my interest for learning.
Moi Yue Kouch, FBQ 2007, Nicaragua
The FBQ was an incredible experience that helped me realize my independence personally and provided a stronger
background to rely upon professionally. Overall, my experiences that quarter completely surpassed my
expectations and I will be forever grateful for that.
Phuong H. Trinh, FBQ 2005, Ecuador
"The indirect life lesson I learned from FBQ was coming away with the greatest admiration for the rainforest
and understanding why conservation is of utmost importance."
Daniel Lee, FBQ 2007, Ecuador
Participating in the program proved a very important influence in my life...The benefits were far greater than
I could've imagined. I made life-long friends that I am still in contact with despite the great distances that
separate us (one lives in Tanzania, one in Hawaii, several in Los Angeles, and myself in Philadelphia). It was
eye opening to go through the research process from start to finish with a project that was all your own. I
had always felt disconnected from my previous lab work because in essence I was a hired hand helping a
graduate student to complete his thesis work. In the FMBQ we had to come up with a question, formulate a
hypothesis, design a strategy to test that hypothesis, analyze the data, and ultimately write the paper...As
an added bonus, my group was able to produce a paper that we ultimately submitted to a journal for publication
thus taking the research experience one step further...Without a doubt the FMBQ program was a wonderful
experience that I would do again in a heartbeat. It has the potential to make a significant positive impact
on the life of an aspiring researcher, and at the very least leaves each participant with a plethora of happy
Sarah Lombardo, FBQ/MBQ 2005 Australia