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  1. #1
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    Any Biologists on here?

    I am extremely interested in biology, especially wildlife biology. Any feedback? Anything relating to the profession at all? Well I live in Eastern ND. I have a B average in high school. Around 2.8-3.0 GPA. I did fairly well in biology. I do struggle in math and chemistry, but can survive the class with a B or C without any form of tutor. I'm not sure if that matters. I have been told that you should be strong in all math and science courses.....but have also been told you don't necessarily need to be. I would want to work at the federal level in field work. I have been looking at programs like " Ecology Project International" I guess it really helps for students looking into this career. Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
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    I am not a practicing biologist, but have a degree in Aquatic Biology (Fisheries). When I came out of college in 98 I would have been looking at a minimum of 3-5 years of part-time, seasonal employment at <$15/hr. You should contact somebody in the field you want to be in and get some real world info on employment opportunity. My original department head blew smoke up my a$$ about how great the job market was when I entered the program. Regarding education, it sounds like you'll get by, might struggle a little through some chemistry and math, but if you enjoy the core classes, you should get a decent gpa. Best of luck.
    Live to hunt, hunt to live.

  3. #3
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    I just finished my master's in Wildlife Science, and have a bachelors in wildlife biology so I guess you can say I'm a biologist (though I'd rather be a full time hunter). When I was in HS I felt I was pretty decent in math and science. The colleges will determine what classes you should start off with regarding your math skills. However when you start college, I feel everyone is on the same level and it is what you make of it. Some join the party scene while others stick to the books and some are able to handle both. Don't be afraid to get a tutor if you feel you're struggling in a subject. Its easier to start out on top and stay on top than dig a huge whole and try and get yourself out.
    As for experience, many government agencies offer jobs to current students during the summer. Try to get into a SCEP program if you can. It'll help you get experience and hold a place for you in a government (most of the time). This is one thing that I did not take advantage.

  4. #4
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    " Its easier to start out on top and stay on top than dig a huge whole and try and get yourself out"

    No truer words spoken.

    If it's anything like it is here the market is flooded with "biology degreed" graduates and places pluck students out of top tier programs. I started out in Marine Biology, but then I met O Chem & Botany and decided I really didn't like it that much. Most of the biologists I know who truly enjoy what they do work in the private sector as consultants, but they had to make names for themselves before they took off in that direction.

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    If what you want to do is science based in the field then I would suggest getting on any and all part time, seasonal, student assistant/aide, volunteer jobs you can with either the Feds, state, county, city, etc.. Sadly a lot of it is "who you know" not really how well you stack up.

    I enjoy Science and have a BA, but I just used what I liked to get me a degree that opened the door to MANY jobs. For me, I wanted more of a stable job with good pay so that I could enjoy my time off hunting/fishing. I was not particular about what job I wanted, it just needed to meet those other criteria. A Science degree really opens the door to lots of job positions and I would highly recommend you go for it, regardless if you end up doing specifically what you think you want to do right now.

  6. #6
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    I have a BA but graduated in 1979. It was my dream to go into wildlife management. I went to school about as ill prepared as anybody could be, going into science. i probably wouldn't have even got in without being on an athletic scholarship. I had no algebra, chemistry, foreign languages, physics, or any math higher than shop math...that is where we learned to use slide rulers...do you know what those were? I have to say it was challenging to say the least, and I really struggled at first. Almost flunked out. I figured out I needed help, but most of all I needed to learn how to study and apply myself to my studies. I played two sports at a Div. 1 school at the same time, so I really had to manage my time. I ended up finding great pride in doing well in my classes. That being along time ago, I still think it is how you apply yourself and what you want out of your education. If you want to work hard, I think anybody with what you said as far as educational background could do well, it is up to you.

    When I got out of school it was a recession, and lots of government cut backs by Ronnie Regan. He did the right thing, but jobs were hard to come by. I went into horticulture to make a living, and things worked out well for me in the private sector. I never truly, got to use my biology background directly, but found the basic knowledge I had acquired invaluable to my success. Over the years I have had to hire many people who have educations, to enter our field, but have found that the people with a hand on background, and strong work ethic to work out best. There will be a lot of people with the same credentials as you will have if you graduate. Some will think it is just a continuation of studies, others will think it will be a job where you sit around looking at wildlife, and the mountains. They may look good on paper, but the ones who get the job done, and has hands on experience will be the ones who succeed. Especially in the private sector.

    Look into what you want to do and make sure that is really what you think it is. Chase your dreams, just make sure your dreams are really what you think they are. Good luck and best wishes.

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  8. #7
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    I say go for it! I will be graduating on May 11th with a Bachelors in the conservation/restoration and biological sciences realm. I can tell you right now, just having spent my life outdoors hunting and fishing has put me way ahead of the curve as far as finding a job is concerned. Once you graduate, your degree takes up just a single line on your resume. While in school, you need to be doing internships and other work in order to stand out when its all said and done. Having the outdoors background has helped me land some nice internships that will pay off in the end- even though I was working for free.

    As far as the math and chem classes go... don't be intimidated. All it takes is a little bit of work and commitment, and the professors don't want you to fail any less than you do. There are tons of people to turn to when you find yourself struggling. Just don't fail your organic chemistry class because you thought the Tuesday final wasn't until Thursday like I did!

    Feel free to contact me if you want, I was apprehensive at first too. Things go a lot smoother than expected once your in the system.

  9. #8
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    As an Animal Science Graduate, the Bachelor's Diploma just was step I had to take to become eligible for a position. The Experience and contacts I have made in the last 15 years is more valuable than the courses I took (and barely passed). I'd say any life science Bachelors is applicable in a position that just requires a degree. Summer internships, and developing contacts within your target industry and having a RELATIONSHIP with folks in the hiring process is the main key in Private industry. The right employer will see your value and invest in your future in regards to advanced degrees, and certifications.

    There are plenty of BS's and MS's out there, but a private employer is going to want a biologist who can engage with stakeholders and develop a meaningful conversation about how they can work together to achieve the landscape, habitat and economic goals for a certain area. Private employers I'm talking about are Land Trusts, Conservation associations, Non Govermental Orgs., land use planners, and Consultants.

    That said there are plenty of folks with a Biology degree that are employed well outside of their degree area. A college degree should prepare you to be successful in Life. The technical knowledge is secondary.

  10. #9
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    I am just completing my master's in wildlife biology. I started undergrad as a business major. I quickly realized that I wouldn't be happy unless I was dealing directly with wildlife so I switched to wildlife biology. Find out which universities have the type of wildlife program you want. I know SDSU has a decent program and I just saw that University of North Dakota has a program but I don't know anything about it. I have definitely noticed a difference in the level of biologists that come from various universities. Some schools are more hands on, others are more theoretical, some have a little of both. A few well respected universities for wildlife are: University of Montana, Texas A&M, Colorado State, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (focuses more on the undergrad level), and many more. Wherever you go for undergrad, volunteer for everything you can and take jobs that you think are cool regardless of the pay. You won't get rich in this field so you might as well forget about pay and have fun with the work. Also, don't disregard jobs that you don't think are as interesting if they are short term - the experiences that I got through "boring" jobs have actually been some of the most valuable with helping me get the work I wanted.

    After undergrad, I worked as a seasonal technician for about 4 years before starting my master's. The seasonal positions gave me invaluable experiences and I would highly recommend that people work as a seasonal technician between undergrad and graduate school.

    Lastly, for the federal career, do as bern0134 said and get into the SCEP or STEP program. I didn't want to work for the feds so I didn't get into these programs but I know several people who did - these programs have helped place them in great careers. Good Luck and Have Fun!

  11. #10
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    SFASU is a good one as well for a small school out in the sticks. The master's students get a lot of hands on work with Dr. Kroll and that's a huge name to vouch for you.

 

 

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