University of Minnesota

Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Student Profile

Name: Alex Franzen
Graduation Year:
Hometown: Hastings, MN

Alex Franzen

How and why did you choose your major?

I chose the FWCB major because I want to pursue a career as a field biologist. While I could have went with a general ecology major, I wanted to be more field oriented. My major also has some of the top researchers in the country teaching and the networking opportunities with state and federal officials is great.

Please give a description (in your words) of your major including the things you learn, favorite classes, and any challenges you have faced.

The Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology major is designed to offer students a hands-on and enriching education in the field of FWCB. This major is great because you genuinely have the opportunity to learn from the best. For example, Andrew Simons, who teaches fishes, is the kind of teacher that makes college feel like a rare opportunity to learn from the best. Every topic covered is thoroughly explained. Only criticism: his study guides are full of information that doesn't appear on tests while other topics that aren't on the study guide do show up on the tests. Annoying, but manageable.

What types of experiences outside of the classroom have you had relating to your major? (i.e. clubs, jobs, internships, volunteering, study abroad etc.)

I was given the opportunity in my freshman year to volunteer in on of the FWCB research biologists lab. His name is Mark Hove and he works on the life history of freshwater mussels. The life history of freshwater mussels is fascinating and these filter-feeders clarify the water throughout their long lives. Habitat degradation and loss has resulted in these animals becoming the most threatened animal or plant group in the US. My work in the lab has lead to MANY networking opportunities and much field experience such as SCUBA diving, electrofishing, etc.

In your opinion, what is one thing, or one piece of advice that other students pursuing your major should know?

It never hurts to go out of your way to get to know the faculty and staff in your major department. This has the potential to open up many different opportunities and make from some really great relationships.

Center for Academic Planning and Exploration

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