Biology Academics

The UCF Summer Biology Field Institute is a collaborative educational, outreach initiative between the UCF Arboretum and the UCF Department of Biology.

The UCF Arboretum is a creative learning community that uses our comprehensive outdoor laboratory to support relevant, experience-based learning, urban ecology research, and human connection with ecosystems and landscapes. Our program contributes to student development and engagement through multi-faceted volunteer, service-learning, and educational opportunities. We serve the community through partnership and outreach initiatives that increase awareness and understanding of key issues in ecology, natural resource conservation, and urban horticulture. While focused on the Central Florida region our diverse, inclusive program supports global efforts to create sustainable urban environments.

The UCF Department of Biology is comprised of a balanced blend of research scientists and classroom lecturers who are committed to maintaining a diverse undergraduate curriculum, creating a dynamic graduate program, and engaging in contemporary research. We have successfully trained thousands of undergraduate students for a range of biology careers including scientists, and health care professionals. Furthermore, our broad-based curriculum provides excellent preparation for post-graduate education. Research within the department stretches across a range of biology disciplines, from sub-organismal physiology to ecosystem dynamics. Our students have consistently been employed by many state and federal agencies, colleges and universities, as well as environmental consulting firms and NGOs.

The Summer Biology Field Institute incorporates five instructors who have all been trained in Biology at UCF. Instructors include:

  • Don Spence who earned his Ph.D in Plant Pathology from the University of Florida, and M.S. in Biology from UCF. Dr. Spence currently teaches Biology in the International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) programs at Spruce Creek High School.
  • Jennifer Elliott and Terry Williamson both earned M.S. degrees in Biology from UCF studying marine turtle biology and ecology. Ms. Elliott is currently the Coordinator of the UCF Arboretum Programs, and Mr. Williamson is the Brevard County Environmental Communications Specialist. Both remain actively involved with the marine turtle research taking place on the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Brevard County.
  • Ray Jarrett and Amanda Lindsay both earned B.S. degrees from UCF. Mr. Jarrett earned his B.S. in Biology, and is currently the Coordinator of the UCF Natural Resources Programs including Urban Forestry and Land Management. Ms. Lindsay earned her B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Environmental Science, and is currently a Senior Biologist in the UCF Natural Resources Programs.

The combined education, experience, and breadth of expertise of these instructors make the Summer Biology Field Institute a remarkable opportunity for advanced high school students to explore real world applications of the studies of Field Biology, Ecology, and Natural Resource Conservation in a fun and educational atmosphere.