Conservation Alumnus Uses DelVal Connections to Excel as a Teaching Assistant

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Conservation and wildlife management alumnus, Jacob Miranda ’21, is currently a graduate biology student and graduate assistant at Arkansas State University. Miranda says, “DelVal gave me excellent opportunities to succeed, but I was the one who had to take advantage of those opportunities.”

After graduating, Miranda spent a year working for various universities and government agencies, doing seasonal field ornithology jobs. Through the connections he made at DelVal, he was able to get a graduate assistantship that suits him and his research interests.

“My degree and skills I learned at DelVal helped me a lot, now as a graduate student I’m implementing those same skills daily, and base my teaching style on professors I had at DelVal,” said Miranda. “Faculty at DelVal helped me get to where I am now. The connections I made there helped me branch out into other avenues of my career.”

As an undergraduate student at DelVal, Miranda took an internship at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton, PA. Miranda explains that he was able to obtain the internship through connections he made with faculty at DelVal. He believes this internship helped propel his career. His classes in ecology, wildlife management, and ornithology, gained him skills in bird & wildlife identification, animal handling, making habitat assessments, and understanding how animals interact with their environment.

“I use them to this day as a graduate research assistant and teaching assistant,” explained Miranda.

Miranda advises students to “Take every opportunity given to you, saying yes to opportunities will give you connections and experiences that will give you a leg up whenever looking for internships and jobs,” said Miranda. “Volunteering also gives you an opportunity to learn what you may or may not enjoy, and will give you directions to steer your career.”

The faculty and hands-on courses are what attracted Miranda to DelVal as a rising freshman, but he felt even more like part of the community on campus where the people, culture, and connections made him feel at home. Miranda ends with “There’s nowhere else I would have wanted to do my undergrad education.”

Jacob Miranda holding an owl with a classmate