• Costa Rica and Panama 2015 Field Course
  • We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by syntheizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make importnat choices wisely. - Edward O. Wilson
  • Explore. Research. Conserve.

Welcome to CHANCE

Today, humanity faces this reality – the environment is broken on local, state (province), national, and global scales most of which are a result of human impact on natural resources and ecosystems.

Penn State CHANCE is an environmental education and professional development outreach program that uses real-world experiences to challenge students to think critically about conservation issues while transforming them into the problem solvers that our society desperately needs.

About CHANCE »
Online Modules. Try one today

CHANCE Newswire

06 May 2015
Accelerating Extinction Risk from Climate Change
In a study published Thursday in the journal Science, Mark Urban, an ecologist at the University of Connecticut, also found that as the planet warms in the future, species will disappear at an accelerating rate. Read New York Times article »

29 April 2015
McLaughlin receives W. LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award
Dr. Jacqueline McLaughlin, associate professor of biology at Penn State Lehigh Valley and Penn State CHANCE Founding Director, is a recipient of the 2015 W. LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award. Established in 1995, the Kopp International Achievement Award recognizes faculty and staff members who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the international mission of the University.
Read full story »

14 April 2015

Can the World Really Set Aside Half of the Planet for Wildlife?
The eminent evolutionary biologist, E.O.Wilson, has an audacious vision for saving Earth from a cataclysmic extinction event.
Read Smithsonian article »


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Field Courses

CHANCE Costa Rica/Panama 2015 Field Course

A Penn State University and Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS)/La Selva collaboration. The focus of this program, Conservation Biology and Sustainability of Select Tropical Ecosystems, which includes spring, 2015 online and summer, 2015 field course components, is to explore rainforest, coral reefs, sea grasses, and mangrove root ecosystems. The word explore is all encompassing here as it not only means to physically experience theses ecosystems with all the human senses open, but to question the phenomena that are affecting the maintenance, loss, and restoration of the biological diversity within these fragile environments through research. A highlight of the field course will be working with nesting sea turtles and hatchlings to ensure the recovery and sustainable management of depleted sea turtle populations worldwide. DATES for field course: June 15 - July 1, 2015
Visit field course website for applications

OTS Jiangnan University logo Nanjing University logo

CHANCE China 2015 Field Course

Applications due by May 1, 2015! A Penn State University, Jiangnan University (Wuxi, China), and Nanjing University (Nanjing, China) collaboration. The focus of this program is on China's fresh water supply and efforts needed to restore and conserve it. Twenty-four undergraduate students (8 from each university) will be selected from all three institutions to participate in a 17-day journey to study the Yangtze River watershed, which consists of the longest river in Asia and the third-largest in the world. Locations to be explored include: Shanghai; YiChang, Hubei Province; Wuxi, Suzhou and Nanjing, Jiangsu Province; and, Beijing. Field research will analyze efforts to reverse the pollution and resulting eutrophication of Lake Tai, China's third largest lake, as a result of the rapid economic growth in the surrounding cities of Wuxi and Suzhou. Also, all involved students and faculty will investigate the impact of urban development on the tributaries of the Yangzte in the Nanjing area. Highlights for this program include an international student-run panel discussion in Beijing on the sustainability of China's fresh water supply, and participation in a restoration project in the Yangtze watershed with members of Green Oasis, an NGO based in Shanghai.
DATES for field course: July 6-23, 2015.
Visit the field course website

Penn State University logo Jiangnan University logo Nanjing University logo


CHANCE Recognition

Organization for Tropical StudiesCHANCE would like to recognize one of its partners, Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), La Selva Biological Station, for its work to advance research, education and conservation of tropical ecosystems. This work was recently recognized in a front-page piece in the New York Times.

For five decades, OTS has been the world's leading institution in the study of tropical biology with more than 350 graduate-level courses in the ecology and management of natural resources and over eight thousand students participating in its programs and conducting research annually.

Research at the OTS stations has added significantly to what is known about tropical biology and forest ecosystems - more than 300 scientists from 25 countries work at OTS sites each year. The traditional focus on education and research has broadened to encompass quality-learning options for natural history visitors and local schoolchildren who come to the OTS stations just for short visits.

Together CHANCE and OTS are breaking new ground in involving undergraduate students in participating in real research activities in Costa Rica, specifically at the La Selva Biological Station. With a combination of on-line learning and in-the-field experiences, their joint programs are changing students' perceptions and values, bringing to them transformational experiences that help them set their future careers.

Featured Video

Other CHANCE featured videos »


15 May 2015
CHANCE Fellow, LaurenCHANCE 2014 fellow, Lauren LaRue, began studying cell envelope stress responses under Dr. Sarah Ades in the Penn State Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department in August, 2014. She presented a poster at the Penn State Undergraduate Research Exhibition on April 8th 2015 with two other undergraduates regarding their current research on the involvement of the Rcs Phosphorelay in the acquisition of resistance to B-lactam antibiotics. Their work was analyzed by a group of esteemed judges and won 2nd place in the health and life science category. Out of the number of presenters in this category, they came out on top! Go Lauren!!

Our Other Fellows »

Resources For Educators

06 May 2015
Image of earthThink Globally With Global Perspective Committee's 3nd Annual Poster Session and Workshop
The NABT Global Perspectives Committee serves as a forum to enhance biology education internationally and to empower teachers and students to think more critically and creatively about a global world. With an emphasis on teaching core biological competencies and creating opportunities to exchange information, the Global Perspectives Committee is committed to:

  • Elevating pedagogical strategies to a global dimension
  • Weaving Global Sustainability into the biology curriculum using an interdisciplinary approach
  • Teaching Civic Responsibility

The NABT Global Perspectives Committee will once again coordinate a workshop and poster session at the 2015 NABT Professional Development Conference in Providence, Rhode Island. The workshop will take place on Thursday, November 12th and the poster session will take place on Friday, November 13th. The theme for the 3rd annual poster session is Citizen Science: Conservation – Crossing Global Borders. If you would like to submit a poster for this event, please send a title, names of author(s) with college/university affiliation(s), contact information, and an abstract (up to 200 words) to the committee secretary, Kandiss Schrader at kks15@psu.edu. Please use 2015 Global Perspectives Poster Proposal in the subject header.

The proposal submission deadline is August 15, 2015.
Visit NABT website »

29 April 2015
NESCent/HHMI/SSE Evolution Film Festival& Video Contest
Scientists and science educators of all stripes — students, postdocs, faculty, and full- or part-time science communicators — are invited to enter the Fifth Annual Evolution Video Competition, sponsored by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE). To enter, please submit a video that explains a fun fact, key concept, compelling question, or exciting area of evolution research in THREE MINUTES OR LESS. Entries may be related or unrelated to your own research, and should be suitable for use in a classroom (K-12, undergraduate, graduate…your choice). Videos should be both informative and entertaining.

The finalists will be screened at the 2015 Evolution meeting in Guarujá, Brazil. (You do not need to attend the conference in order to enter a video.) The deadline to submit your video(s) is SUNDAY, MAY 31st, 2015 (11:00 PM, EST).

For more information »

29 March 2015
Naturalist Outreach program logo
Naturalist Outreach Workshop Opportunity for Undergraduate Educator

This 2.5 day NSF-funded professional development workshop on October 10 -12, 2015 for faculty and college educators will help you organize a course in how to do effective scientific outreach, develop an outreach program, provide guidance on how to host a large community science outreach event, and help you engage with K-12 teachers and museums. The workshop will be delivered by science outreach experts from Cornell University's Naturalist Outreach Program, the Sciencenter, and Museum of the Earth at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. The workshop, 3-nights hotel, and meals are free to participants. Applications will be accepted until June 10, 2015 at https://blogs.cornell.edu/outreachworkshop/apply. All successful applicants will be notified by July 15, 2015. A deposit of $300 will be required to reserve a space in the workshop. This deposit will be returned upon completion of the workshop.
For more information »



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Resources For Students

14 April 2015
Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) Learning Resources
Explore EOL's newly redesigned Learning Resources that group EOL collections, podcasts and learning activities under topics including Behavior, Invasive Species, Biological Classification and more. Two new articles about algae and evolution have been added to our popular Topics in Biodiversity section of introductory articles that provide links to more in-depth information and media on EOL. MycoKeys is a peer-reviewed, open-access, online and print, rapidly produced journal launched to support free exchange of ideas and information in systematics and biology of fungi (including lichens).
Visit EOL now »

14 March 2015

PSU Libraries
Library Award for Undergraduate Research
The University Libraries, Penn State's Sustainability Institute, and Cengage Learning are partnering to sponsor the Library Award for Undergraduate Research on Sustainability and the Environment. Students at all Penn State campuses are invited to apply. One $1000 prize will be awarded. Two additional prizes of $500 each will be awarded. Prizes will be awarded on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, 2015.
For more information »

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