This summer, a Montana State University student undertook an internship with the Museum of the Rockies. Isabelle Brenes, a senior majoring in paleontology has been volunteering with the museum since her sophomore year.
In her most recent internship, which has been sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, she participated in a dig in the badlands near Ekalaka, South Dakota. After excavating fossils from the field, Brenes prepared the specimens to be sent to the museum’s lab, a process that can take weeks.
“It’s a mutual benefit for both the students and the museum,” said Scott Williams, MOR paleontology lab and field specialist. “There are a lot of moving parts on a dino dig, and students provide needed help. There’s no way we could handle all of it ourselves.”
Participating in field work and research at early stages of their careers gives students an opportunity to prepare for post-graduate work.
Brenes, an aspiring paleontologist and the incoming president of the MSU student paleontology club, is grateful for the experience. “The things that have had the most impact for me as a student have been the opportunities that the museum has given me,” she said.