Each January and February the two mandatory courses (BIOL 640 and ENVR 610) will be given in the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The specific dates vary from year to year, but the first course generally begins in the first few days of January, while the second one in mid-February. It is recommended that students taking these courses prepare to dedicate two months for these courses.
McGill students can register to both courses directly through MINERVA, while students in Laval and UQAM will have to do so through the CREPUQ system. In addition, all students are encouraged to contact Dr. Carlos Arias, in order to arrange the final details of their trip.
All BESS students are eligible for up-to $1500 CAD in travel allowances per year. Travels related to research, workshops, internships, courses, and conferences are all eligible expenses, and may include transportation (e.g. flights, rental, taxi, bus), and accommodation. Students may request support for multiple trips until the maximum amount per year has reached.
To access travel funds students must submit a Travel Advance Form to the Program Coordinator 3 weeks in advance of each trip. A brief description of the purpose of the trip, and an expected budget should be included with the Travel Advance form. Within 30 days of returning from each trip, students will have to process an Expense Report through MINERVA* (for information on how see below). IMPORTANT: Original receipts and boarding passes must be attached to the printed and signed Expense Report.
* UQAM and Laval Students will have to process Expense Reports through the systems of their own universities.
HOW TO BOOK A FLIGHT
Students should find the cheapest option available for their air transportation. There are no restrictions in airlines nor booking services. Students can either be reimbursed for the purchase of a flight, or can request an advance before the purchase.
HOW TO CREATE AN EXPENSE REPORT IN MINERVA
➔ Under the student tab of your Minerva, select Expense Reports Menu.
➔ Click on Submit an Expense Report.
➔ Then, select Start an Expense Report for Yourself.
➔ Fill in all fields with an *. Do not fill in the Third Party payments section.
➔ In Describe purpose, please be specific.
➔ Fund code: Verify your outstanding advances and use the same fund number. You can also email the Program Coordinator to get the fund number.
➔ Click on Continue. ➔ On the item page, fill in fields with *.
➔ In Description, please be specific.
➔ Transaction amt $: Write the total as it appears on your receipt including taxes. (and tip if you paid for a lunch with a prospective student). Note that alcohol is not eligible for reimbursement and if it appears on your receipt, it must be deducted as a Non-McGill Expense.
➔ Change the Currency and Purchasing location as appropriate.
➔ Repeat for all your receipts. Some receipts can be grouped. See grouping receipts.
➔ Click on Save and View. If everything is fine, then click on Submit to Reviewer and then, on Forward to reviewer. You can’t make any changes once submitted.
➔ Print 2 copies of your expense report: Sign the original hard copy that will eventually go to Travel Desk. Leave the "Supervisor signature" empty.
➔ Tape all your receipts on sheets of paper (more than one receipt per page; scrap paper is fine for this) and write the item number for each as it appears on your expense report.
➔ Make a copy of your receipts and supporting documentation.
➔ Staple the original signed copy with the original receipts.
➔ Staple the copy of your expense report with the copies of your receipts. Receipts could also be scanned and saved on a computer for the records. Just make sure you keep a copy (scanned or printed) in case it gets lost in the process or there are issues with your reimbursement.
➔ Bring everything to the Program Coordinator.
➔ Allow at least a month before you receive payment of your expenses.
If you are not sure or need additional details on one of these steps, please see the Program Coordinator.
Internships are learning experiences and job training that will bring benefits for the student‘s professional career. They are guided by a mentor and consist of an exchange of experience between the student and a stakeholder (e.g. research institution, industry, NGO, government agency, indigenous community). Internships should allow the student to determine if they have an interest in a particular career path, create a network of contacts or get involved in professional activities. Some internships can result in future employment opportunities after the student graduates.
Internships are intended to expose students to a diversity of approaches to solving environmental problems in different contexts. Students should think of a particular type of organization where they would like to work or collaborate in the future, or a particular project in which they are interested where they feel they can learn something related to or outside of their research area. For example, they could collaborate with an NGO; helping them analyze a particular data set (related or not to a research project) and experience working in a different working environment. Students can also collaborate with a particular researcher/ research institute (e.g., STRI in Panama); working in a project where they can learn a specific technique and will help you develop potential future collaborations. Working in an industry on particular issue can help them learn how different stakeholders perceive a particular problem and will provide them with important contacts after graduating.
Duration of the internships:
At least 6 consecutive weeks.
Require number of internships per student:
PHDs - Three internships in three different institutions anywhere in Latin America. Internships CAN be done in other countries IF the research or applications are relevant to the neotropics.
MSc - Two internships in two different institutions anywhere in Latin America. Internships CAN be done in other countries IF the research or applications are relevant to the neotropics.
As of January 2017, students can have one of their internships be hosted in Africa.
Registering for an internship:
Students are responsible for contacting a potential host institution and settle on the nature of the internship (i.e. type of work, dates, required vaccines, etc.). Once this has been initiated, the student should send the Coordinator a signed Internship Approval Form. Once approved, the student can begin the internship.
Upon their return, all students most provide a writen report on their internship. This report must be signed by both the student and the internship supervisor.