It’s often a class or internship that drives students into their major of choice. But for Janine Klein, a double major in Anthropology and Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology, her interest in conservation science started much earlier. 

Janine’s childhood hero was scientist Jane Goodall, and Janine wants to follow in Goodall’s footsteps by working to understand and protect chimpanzees and other great apes. “All I want to do is live in the jungle and study wild animals,” said Janine, who grew up in Palo Alto.

Janine chose UC Davis for its renowned program in wildlife conservation. However, during her first year, Janine realized the Department of Anthropology had the primatology courses she was interested in. A second major in anthropology also provides an interdisciplinary perspective on human and chimpanzee behavior, she said. “If you want to help the environment, first you have to understand how humans interact with wildlife,” she said.

Janine dipped her toe into anthropology by taking classes that also satisfied the university’s general education requirements. After falling in love with her introductory courses, Janine declared a second major. “The double major did take me an extra quarter to graduate, but it was totally worth it. I learned so much more and met a lot more people because of it,” she said. And despite the extra time commitment, Janine also was able to pursue her passion for hip hop dance by teaching classes and joining a campus dance crew.

Conducting undergraduate research has also been an important part of Janine’s plan to build a diverse resume for a career as a conservation scientist. This past summer, Janine traveled to Oregon to study different foraging strategies among lizard species. “It’s really important to learn how research is conducted, and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that you can’t get from a textbook,” she said.

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