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
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
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
Sarah Lombardo, Australia FBQ/MBQ