By CASSIDY GEOGHEGAN/Montana State News
The paleontology grant that allows Montana State University students to travel to China in order to study dinosaur eggs has been extremely beneficial for both MSU as well as the vast study of dinosaurs as a whole, according to David Varricchio, associate professor of paleontology at MSU and project founder.
“Through this program, we’ve taken three groups of eight undergraduates from schools across Montana to Zhejiang, China to study their rich collection of dinosaur eggs,” Varricchio said.
According to the program’s website, about half of the group will be from the paleontology research program, however, students from other disciplines and institutions are encouraged to apply.
The trip, led by Varricchio and Frankie Jackson, is five weeks long, and Varricchio states, “The program’s goals are to both provide students with a research opportunity and to expose them to international travel.”
The program has been a great boost to MSU’s paleontology program providing a unique experience (completely for free) to a number of majors in the department, Varricchio said.
“Students have had the opportunity to see different geologic formations, compare practices of paleontology between China and the U.S. and to see some truly exceptional specimens,” he said.
Additionally, students have had the opportunity to conduct research, and several have presented the results of their works at national meetings, such as the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and Geologic Society of America’s annual meetings, according to the program’s website. And these opportunities have helped students develop as researchers and especially make them better candidates for grad school.
In the process, students have also gained a broader view of the world and our place in it, according to the site, as well as just having some fun travel experiences.
– Edited by Kevin Knapek.