An Augustana alum’s unexpected journey to assistant biologist
The Beaverhill Bird Observatory (BBO) is known by students as the organization that partners with the Augustana Wildlife Club to deliver the popular owl banding field trip every fall. For one alum, the BBO became a job opportunity. Emily Grose graduated from Augustana in May 2018 with a degree in Biology. She first found out about the BBO in Dr. Glen Hvenegaard’s AUENV252 course two years ago.
The Medium asked Grose about her experiences with the BBO and her advice for recent graduates.
How did you get your position there?
I was hired as a summer student in May 2018; however, close to the end of my contract, I was offered a full-time position with the BBO as an assistant biologist.
What are your responsibilities?
Between the Head Biologist, the other Assistant Biologist and I, we all run spring songbird migration monitoring, fall songbird migration monitoring, Northern Saw-whet Owl monitoring, Boreal Owl monitoring, Long-eared Owl monitoring and, in the summer, we run a banding program called MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship).
We are also responsible for 200 nest boxes throughout the natural area, general maintenance of the Beaverhill Natural Area, and writing reports to keep the public updated on all the work that happens at the banding station. During the winter, all staff are responsible for our winter education program and writing grant applications to ensure funding remains secured to keep the station open.
What’s one fun fact or short story about your work at the BBO?
A fun fact about my work at the BBO is that I get to meet all sorts of people from all around the world who come out to the BBO to go bird watching. Over this past summer, I met people from England, Ireland, Australia, Germany and numerous other places. It is awesome to be able to connect with so many different people and share knowledge and experiences with them.
What’s one piece of advice you would have for recent graduates looking to acquire a similar position?
My advice to recent graduates would be to never get discouraged when you don’t hear back from a potential employer. Always continue applying to as many places as possible and use all the experiences you have gained at Augustana to your advantage to impress future employers. Even apply to jobs you might not necessarily think you would be hired for because you just never know. For example, I initially applied to the BBO as the Assistant Biologist last April knowing I did not meet all the qualifications, and they phoned me back offering me a summer student position which luckily turned back into the full-time assistant biologist position I had initially applied for. So, never give up.