Ant Course 2008 is scheduled for Venezuela this August. The Ant Course, now in its 8th year, gives students an introduction to myrmecology with a decidedly taxonomic focus. More than just an academic exercise, the course serves as a meeting place where newcomers can mingle with an all-star cast of instructors, a superb social networking medium for aspiring ant scientists.
Admission to the Ant Course is competitive, with double the number of applicants than seats. I have been on the admissions committee in past years, and though I can’t speak for this year’s course I can share what the admissions folks looked for previously.
The ideal candidate is already pursuing an academic career. Most will be graduate students, post-docs, or assistant professors whose research requires taxonomic knowledge, especially in the region where the course will be taught. This year’s course is in South America and will favor students doing taxonomic revisions of Neotropical ant genera or biodiversity surveys of Neotropical habitats. As the course emphasizes taxonomic diversity, prospective students whose research covers a broad range of ants will be favored over those whose research focuses on a single model organism. Letters of recommendation from scientists known to the instructors will be helpful.
Prospective students who do not actively conduct research and are unaffiliated with a university, museum, or other research institution stand little chance of admission. Don’t despair, however. The text for the North American version of the course has just been published as a handly little guide, and students denied for admission one year are typically given priority the next.
More information here: Ant Course 2008.