Are you interested in a career as a fish and game biologist, game warden, park ranger, naturalist, or environmental scientist?

Then the ECOWEB program could be for you! The ECOWEB program within the University of Mary’s Biology Department provides scholarships and educational opportunities to low-income students interested in wildlife conservation biology or environmental science who might otherwise not be able to attend college or continue to degree completion. This program is supported by a generous S-STEM grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Through the ECOWEB program, students will receive scholarships of $8,000-$10,000 per year for four years. They will be involved in several activities and opportunities designed to assist them in succeeding in college and to stimulate their interest in and enthusiasm for science. One of the NSF’s primary focuses is to increase the number of students majoring in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, particularly students from groups that are currently underrepresented, such as minorities and low-income students. One goal of the ECOWEB program is to increase the number of biology graduates from populations traditionally underrepresented in STEM.

The ECOWEB Program is no longer accepting applicants. Thank you!


To qualify for an ECOWEB scholarship, a candidate must:

  • be a U.S. citizen, national, legal permanent resident or refugee alien
  • be a full-time student with a declared biology major with either a wildlife conservation biology concentration or environmental science minor
  • demonstrate financial need based on the FAFSA
  • have a minimum high school GPA of 3.0* and math ACT score of 25*
  • submit 2 letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a high school science or math teacher
  • participate in an interview with the Selection Committee.

Program Advisors

Program advisors are experts in wildlife/conservation biology and environmental science.

Faculty and Peer Mentoring

Each student in the program will be matched with a faculty mentor and a peer mentor with whom they will work throughout their college career.


The ECOWEB scholars will move through the program as a cohort, a community of scholars with shared interests and goals. Shared activities include taking common courses, collaborating on citizen science projects, and participating together in the ECOWEB seminar. ECOWEB freshmen will participate in their own section of the First Year Experience course, which will be led by program advisors Dr. Jim Maskey and Dr. Michael Lares.

ECOWEB Seminar

This is a monthly seminar required of the ECOWEB scholars and open to all biology majors that will provide students the opportunity to meet wildlife conservation and environmental science professionals and allow students to explore career options, discuss current environmental issues, explore academic questions, and build relationships with the biology faculty, their peers, and academic leaders.

Student Services

Student Success Center, Student Support Services, and Career Services will be available to all ECOWEB scholars.

Citizen Science Projects

ECOWEB scholars will participate in a citizen science project during each of their four years at Mary. Citizen science projects help connect classroom ideas to real-world experience and provide hands-on learning experiences, as well as demonstrating the importance of servant leadership to the students. Many of these opportunities involve collaboration with the Dakota Zoo, and include involvement in FrogWatch, Animal Edventures, and Conservation Day among others. Participation in citizen science projects is open to all biology majors.

Graduate School Visits

Each cohort will participate in a one-week visit to a graduate school (either the University of North Dakota or University of Minnesota–Duluth) during which students will experience what graduate school is all about by participating in the daily schedule of a graduate student (e.g. attending classes, going out in the field, conducting lab research etc.).

Professional Conferences

All ECOWEB scholars will attend a professional biology conference, such as the Midwest Fish and Wildlife meeting, the Ecological Society of America meeting, or ND Academy of Sciences meeting. Students who have participated in research will have the opportunity to present their projects at these meetings.

Research and Internship Opportunities

Optional activities available to ECOWEB scholars include working on a research project with a University of Mary biology faculty member or in collaboration with faculty at a state institution, and/or participating in a summer internship. Research projects may include studying the environmental impacts of oil production, such as the impacts on species numbers and diversity in drilling areas, or the effects of fracking fluid on the development of organisms. Internships will be offered at locations such as the State Health Department, ND Game and Fish Department, SWCA Environmental Consultants, and the Dakota Zoo.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Margaret Nordlie
[email protected]

Dr. Michael Lares
[email protected]

Dr. Jim Maskey
[email protected]