Sweet Briar and Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation announce partnership

fieldwork biologyThanks to a new partnership with the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC), Sweet Briar College students will be able to spend a semester away living, learning and gaining hands-on experience at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Va.

SMSC, which partners with a number of colleges and universities in the mid-Atlantic region, will admit up to three Sweet Briar students per semester. A minimum of 45 credit hours is required to be eligible for the immersive program. During the 16 weeks, students “practice conservation firsthand with experts from the Smithsonian Institution, George Mason University, and wildlife protection agencies around the world,” according to the SMSC website.

“We are thrilled to partner with an institution that provides such outstanding education and leadership opportunities for women,” said Cody W. Edwards, executive director of SMSC. “Sweet Briar is consistently recognized for its commitment to innovation and shares our passion for the critical study of environmental conservation.”

Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation
Students at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation. Photo courtesy of George Mason University

Students may choose between Conservation, Biodiversity, and Society (for sophomores through seniors, offered in the fall or spring), Endangered Species Conservation (for juniors and seniors, offered in the spring) and Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (for juniors and seniors, offered in the fall). Each program is divided into multiple courses, carries 16 credits overall and incorporates an individual practicum or research experience. Recent opportunities have included working in the nutrition department at the National Zoo in D.C., fieldwork on threatened Virginia wood turtles, and research on cryopreservation of gametes of endangered ungulates. The tuition cost for the program is reciprocal.

Sweet Briar College biology professors Linda Fink and John Morrissey recently took students from Fink’s fall 2018 Global Biodiversity Conservation course to tour SMSC/SCBI.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Sweet Briar students,” Fink said. “The teaching, research and living facilities are beautiful, the course syllabi are top notch, and students will be engaging with top-tier conservation practitioners from all over the world.”

In 2017, Sweet Briar announced its new Center for Human and Environmental Sustainability to focus on research, scholarship and interdisciplinary collaboration.