Summary – The International Wolf Center is seeking applicants to be the first Dr. L. David Mech fellow. As an investment in the future of wolf research and science-based wolf education the Center will award up to two (2) fellowships in the spring of 2022 for undergraduate students or recent graduates interested in pursuing careers in natural sciences with an interest in wildlife. Fellowship recipients will receive a $6,000 stipend and up to $4,000 in support for field research expenses.
Fellowship goals –
- Reduce barriers to allow undergraduate students and recent graduates to directly engage in wolf research and field work.
- Encourage students from diverse backgrounds to explore natural sciences/wildlife biology as a profession
- Provide bridge support for early career researchers prior to graduate school.
Description – The mission of the International Wolf Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. Since our founding in 1985 by Dr. L. David Mech and others, the Center has sought to provide the latest scientific information about wolves to our members, visitors, program participants, and the general public. We believe that continued investment in scientific discovery about wolves and other wildlife will lead to increased understanding of how to build a future where wolves and humans can coexist and thrive. We also understand that many barriers exist for students and early career researchers and hope these fellowships can be useful tools for opening up access to people pursuing a wildlife biology career.
Fellowship Award Details –
- Application deadline: December 15, 2021
- Fellowships awarded: January 31, 2022
- Term: through February 1, 2023
- Stipend: $6,000
- Research Allowance: up to $4,000 per year
Stipends are meant to support study and research during the tenure of the appointment. They are not salaries, and fellowship recipients are not employees or contracted workers of the International Wolf Center. All funds provided, including stipends and research allowances, are subject to tax. Fellows awarded stipends receive a financial summary at the end of each calendar year and are responsible for meeting their own state and federal tax obligations.
Research allowances are for equipment, supplies, research-related travel costs, and other support required to conduct the research itself. A budget and general justification for these expenses must be included with your application. It should include any travel costs necessary for participation in the 2022 International Wolf Symposium (see Expectations below)
Qualifications and Eligibility
- Applicants must be either currently enrolled in an undergraduate institution (upper level student) or recently graduated with an undergraduate degree. Current graduate students and those already with graduate-level degrees in wildlife biology or a related field are not eligible.
- Applicants must have either designed a research project or have been accepted to participate in a research project as demonstrated by the Research Project Check-off from the institution or researcher they plan to work with. Expected participation in the institution’s research can be contingent on receiving the fellowship award funds.
- Applicants must provide a letter of recommendation from an academic or professional reference. This letter should assess their project proposal and ability to complete it.
- Research and fieldwork must be “wolf related” – either directly involving wolves, another wild canid species or a broader study looking at the interactions between several species including wolves.
- Applicants must be available to attend the International Wolf Symposium in Minneapolis, MN from October 13-16, 2022
- Fellowship recipients must be U.S. citizens
Criteria for Selection –
Fellowship applications will be reviewed by the International Wolf Center selection team using the following criteria:
- Special consideration will be given to candidates from communities of color and indigenous communities in the United States.
- Demonstration of financial need
- Applicant’s ability to carry out the proposed research/field experience
- Proposal merit
- Candidate’s demonstrated interest in pursuing natural sciences with an interest in wildlife as a career
Expectations for Fellows
Fellows will be expected to attend and present at the 2022 International Wolf Symposium in October of 2022. They will be asked to prepare an academic poster summarizing their field research experience and will be recognized at the Symposium banquet. Fellowship recipients will receive complimentary registration to the Symposium and lodging but must budget for transportation costs as part of their research allowance.
Fellowship recipients will also be expected to submit a summary report to the International Wolf Center and be willing to be interviewed and photographed by Center staff. These materials may be used in issues of International Wolf magazine or in web/social media posts.
Application process/Promotions begin – October 4, 2021
Application deadline – December 15, 2021
Fellowships awarded – January 31, 2022
Fellowship highlight – Summer issue of International Wolf magazine
International Wolf Symposium – October 13-16,2022
Final reports due – Feb 1, 2023
- Cover letter: Should focus specifically on how your application will help accomplish the goals of the fellowship program.
- Project proposal: Up to 3 pages with one extra page for references or figures.
- Academic or professional reference letter
- Research Project Approval Form (if working with an established research project)
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Dr. L David Mech?
L. David Mech (pronounced “Meech”) is a Senior Research Scientist with the Biological Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, and Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. He has studied wolves and their prey since 1958, as well as several other species of wildlife.
Although administration of his U.S. Geological Survey research is through Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, he is headquartered on the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota in the Raptor Center, 1920 Fitch Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108.
Mech is also founder and vice chair of the International Wolf Center, and chaired the IUCN Wolf Specialist Group from 1978 to 2013. In 2013, the Wolf Specialist Group merged into the IUCN Canid Specialist Group, and Dave became advisor for wolves in that Group since then.
Mech has used radio-tracking for most of his career on wolves, deer, leopards, caribou, elk, lions, elephants, raccoons, lynxes, elk, hares, etc. For basic info, see Handbook of Animal Radio-tracking, and for info about satellite and GPS collars, see “A critique of wildlife radio-tracking and its use in national parks: a report to the National Park Service”. For wildlife research techniques before radio-tracking, see wildlife research in the old days.
Do I need to design my own project or can I get funded to participate as a volunteer on an established project?
Fellowship recipients may design their own project or work as a volunteer or intern on an established wolf project with other researchers.
Can my project take place at a zoo or animal sanctuary?
Yes, “ex situ” projects at a facility with captive animals are eligible but must contain a significant scientific research component.
I am not from the United States, can I apply?
At this point, fellowship recipients must be U.S. citizens to qualify but projects may take place internationally.
I’m interested in volunteering with an existing wolf project – where can I find one to connect with?
Almost every state and country that has an active wolf population has researchers and wildlife managers studying them. Often these projects are led by state wildlife or natural resource departments or local universities with wildlife biology programs. Some of the largest wolf research projects have an online presence including the Yellowstone Wolf Project, Voyageurs Wolf Project and the Scandinavian Wolf Research Project. A great place to start looking for wolf and other canid projects is the Canid Specialist Group of the IUCN or on the Texas A&M Job Board.
Who should I contact for more information?
Please email questions to MechFellowship@wolf.org
The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.