Eight BS Biology students from the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) completed their 150-hour face-to-face internship at the UPLB Museum of Natural History last 17 March 2023.
In a simple gathering held at the OVCRE Annex Building, Kylle Jae Bigsot, Nathalia Eicellrose Bueno, Abigail Castro, Francis Ryan Catarig, Ernest Paul Hernaez, Naomi Kraisantha Mayos, Aira Nadine Pascua, and Jhyason Joeshua Rubio were recognized as “graduates” of the UPLB MNH Internship Program which was held from 20 February 2023 to 17 March 2023. This was after the interns delivered their exit presentation an interesting format – a news-anchored video presentation.
The internship program held by the Museum for Mariano Marcos State University is again part of the museum’s commitment to serve as a training ground for partner higher education institutions which aims to expose their students to various fields of biology. For 150 hours, the students underwent on-the-job training in the museum’s various collections and expertise: botany, mycology, microbiology, entomology, and zoology.
For the botany component, the interns were taught to how handle old herbarium sheets and encode specimen information into a database. They were also taught how to collect, preserve, dry, label, code, and digitize specimens. On the other hand, during the students’ introduction to mycology, they were taught methods of macrofungi collection and identification which they applied during their fieldwork. They were also tasked to encode data from 1,600 mycological specimen entries and update the records with collection location coordinates.
As for the microbiology portion of the internship, the students learned aseptic laboratory techniques and safety methods, biosafety cabinet protocols, and gene sequencing, editing, and analysis. For the entomology component, the interns scanned and digitized taxonomy and systematics documents, documented specimens, and placed naphthalene balls in insect boxes while doing physical inventory of collection boxes. They also collected and learned how to preserve specimens.
Finally, in the zoology component, the interns cleaned, sorted, organized the museum’s dry and pickled wildlife specimens, and encoded the information in database. They also experienced field collection techniques for bats and herpetofauna. Finally, they experienced an observation day hike along the Mt. Makiling Trail (Flat Rocks, Mud Springs, and Camp Malabo-o).
During the program, the Museum’s director Dr. Marian P. De Leon, extolled the enthusiasm and eagerness of the interns and welcomed future collaboration with the MMSU. Assistant Prof. Mae Rose Maoirat-Abad, internship coordinator for the batch of interns, attended the exit presentation of behalf of MMSU.
“I am extremely happy because I saw their interest and readiness for learning new things outside the four walls of their classroom,” Dr. De Leon shared in her welcome remarks during program.
Facilitators from the museum also concurred on the students’ ability to adapt to face-to-face learning. For Crystalene Macua, one of the facilitators for in the microbiology component, “the students were quick to apply the skills taught to them.”
Overall, according to the interns, the Museum was able to provide a unique program for learning. “The MNH gave me a very tangible experience, and I am now considering coming back as an MS Wildlife Science student,” said Naomi Mayos.
Meanwhile, Ernest Paul Hernaez felt that as Biology student “it has been a dream come true to see and work with natural history collections physically and up close.”