Outside their dorms, students at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) have visual access to rare and endangered species. On any given day, you can find them doing field and laboratory work with influential conservation mentors. Midway through the spring semester, the school known for its hands-on conservation training, had to quickly transition their courses online due to COVID-19.
“It was challenging,” said Anneke DeLuycker, associate professor at SMSC who is teaching and coordinating two of their digital offerings for the summer. “I knew something was going to work because at SMSC, we do everything in our power to give students the best education, time, and experience that they could have, whether in-person or virtually.”
George Mason University students in the “Research in Conservation” course work one-on-one with conservation mentors on specialized projects. Though video chat replaced face-to-face meetings and learning content, the core mission of SMSC remained.