Field Biology Quarter (FBQ) Student Testimonials



Read what past students have to say about their FBQ experience.

The Most Enriching Experience of Their Undergraduate Careers

FBQ exemplifies what it should mean to be an undergraduate at one of the nation's top research universities.
    Robert Walsh, Ecuador FBQ


Hands on Experience

There are lessons learned late at night while watching bats and talking science under the palm trees that are not duplicated in hour-long office sessions.
   Zoe Donaldson, Nicaragua FBQ


Students Make Significant Discoveries

I loved that feeling of discovery when you're watching something for the tenth time, but you see it in a different light and the pieces come together and you have an Eureka! moment.
   Timothy Tawa, Ecuador FBQ


Opening Doors to Successful Careers

During interviews for medical school and residency, my participation in the program often came up. After talking about my trip, my interviewers would express to me how unique my experience was.
   Hemesh Patel, Australia FBQ


Challenges Leading to Personal Growth

...those initial projects also taught me a hard-learned and valuable lesson about fieldwork : expect the unexpected. ...Our group was ultimately successful because of our shared determination and commitment to our project and each other.
    Jaime Winternitz, Ecuador FBQ


Instilling a Deeper Appreciation for Nature

"Kelly unwrapped the hummingbird from the mist net and held its tiny body up to my ear. I had a hummingbird fluttering in my ear! Its heart was beating so fast and its feathers were so soft. I noticed a row of mites on its beak, I had no idea that birds had mites!"
   a snippet from the field notebook of Dr. Cory Unruh, recently graduated from UC Davis, Nicaragua FBQ


FBQ is affordable

Because I was on financial aid, working 20 hours a week as a work study student, and I would have to miss that time from work, I was hesitant to even consider the program at first, but when I found out that participating in this program would not be a burden I was extremely relieved.
   Humberto Parada, Nicaragua FBQ



"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 experience."
   Brittny Calsbeek, Ecuador FBQ

...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 2002, Nicaragua 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 Australia FBQ

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, Ecuador FBQ

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, Australia FBQ

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, Nicaragua FBQ

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 graduate-like feel.
   Matthew Holte, Nicaragua FBQ

"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, Nicaragua FBQ

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, Nicaragua FBQ

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, Ecuador FBQ

"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, Ecuador FBQ

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 memories.
   Sarah Lombardo, Australia FBQ/MBQ