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Credit: Dasun Hemachandra

 Our Mission

FUERTE is a program designed to build your foundation to succeed at the university, and to develop the skills you need for a career in conservation and environmental sciences, areas that specifically involve fieldwork when doing the research. FUERTE is meant to welcome and support students who are traditionally under-represented in these fields, especially Latinx, Indigenous, Black, and first-generation undergraduates.

Our goal is to first help you learn about environmental science, to learn more about UCSB as a research university, and to foster your sense of belonging! FUERTE, as a program, has several steps, activities and stages to accomplish this goal.

 Getting Familiar

Welcome Event

In partnership with the ONDAS Student Center, we will host a welcome reception for eligible students to meet program staff, connect with their peers and future mentors, and learn about the social and cultural transition workshops that are offered through the OSC. Stay tuned for our Welcome Event in Fall 2023!


Enroll in EEMB 90B this Fall quarter to learn about the Field-based Undergraduate Engagement through Research, Teaching, and Education (FUERTE) program and get support in choosing career paths, especially in environmental, marine and conservation science!

Course: EEMB 90B (Getting into the Environment: Introduction to Ecological Science and Careers II)
Lecturer: Professor McCauley and Professor Young

Fall 2023

 FUERTE Fellows


Our application window will open late Fall quarter and from this we will select 10 UCSB undergraduates who will then experience the 3-year program as a cohort. Selections will be announced by the end of that same Winter quarter.
Learn More

Major Activities

FUERTE Fellows will take part of in 3 major activities in the span of three summers:

Summer of Year 1: A 2-week intensive field trip to the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL) in the Eastern Sierras
Summer of Year 2: A summer research experience with a mentor, working for 8 weeks on a research project that is fieldwork oriented
Summer of Year 3: An internship with a partner organization (e.g., The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. National Park Service, or the Ocean Science Trust here in California) designed to provide experience in environmental sciences and conservation science 

Financial Support

In addition to lots of training and experiences, FUERTE Fellows are also financially supported in the summers, helping pay the bills and cover housing while you work on building your skills as a researcher and scientist.

We’re excited about the FUERTE program so watch this space as the program develops through the academic year. Also, check out the Resources page for a list of activities.

If you have questions, we can be contacted at our FUERTE email address:

 Director Messages

Welcome to FUERTE

Welcome to the FUERTE webpage. We’re excited to start this new program at UC Santa Barbara and hope you will be checking in regularly. FUERTE is especially meant for students who are just getting start in college and might want to explore a career in environmental science.

I know it can be really tough to start at a new big university - there is a lot to do! You need to register for classes, figure out how the university works, all the while working to develop a sense of belonging and what you might want to study! And with the COVID19 situation, I know that working remotely all the time does not foster these steps. We need to connect, to learn more about the world and science works, how you might make a contribution to a better future for people and for the planet.

This is where FUERTE can be a help, a foundation and a community to help you learn about a research university, how people do field work and research, and what types of jobs people get. I wanted to create a program that would help bridge students from their Freshman year to research experiences that help you become an environmental scientist. And here, I mean someone who is working on topics that are diverse – ranging from conservation biology to studying impacts of climate change on our food systems. Importantly, FUERTE was inspired by the stories my UCSB students told me - first-generation students, transfer students, students with diverse backgrounds and ethnicities – all sharing the hurdles and challenges they faced in going to college. We created FUERTE to be the bridge from college to a career in science for the environment.

Going forward, we hope that you will join us! We are here for you, and the FUERTE faculty and mentors will be creating regular session this quarter to tell you more, and to listen to you about your interests. Watch this space as more events occur this Fall and into the academic year.
Wishing you a great start to the school year,
Professor Hofmann

Get Involved

Stay tuned for details on a FUERTE Welcome Event! Also, be sure to check out other awesome opportunities and resources provided by the ONDAS Student Center and the Transfer Student Center.


Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology