Practical experience is an integral component of preparing for work in the field of tropical conservation and development. The TCD Practitioner Experience Program assists students in gaining practical experience by providing funds to support short-term professional activities that complement academic training. Unlike traditional internships, TCD Practitioner Experiences require that there be a partnership between the student and the host organization. The student will learn from the host organization and actively contribute to its efforts. Sample practitioner experiences might include: organize and/or present a workshop with a partner organization; return research results to a host organization and/or community; assist in project planning, implementation, or evaluation; support for a TCD Practicum (LAS 6940); among other possibilities.

For ideas and examples, check some of the Awarded TCD Practitioner Grant Report *(updated version until 2016 coming soon)*

Practitioner experiences must be related to the field of tropical conservation and development and should add a dimension to the student’s training that is unavailable through UF coursework. They may take place in Latin America, the United States, or elsewhere. After the field experience, recipients are expected to complete a short written report and to share their experiences with the TCD community in an appropriate venue.

Practitioner experiences are funded on a semi-annual competitive basis. Grants average $1000 per student and only a few grants will be available each year. TCD funding can be used to cover airfare, meals, local transportation, lodging and materials. Funding is not granted for salary, for course or conference attendance, nor for any kind of field research for a thesis or dissertation. Matching or counterpart funding is encouraged.

Applicants are advised to discuss their project idea with a TCD faculty member prior to applying. The TCD Practitioner Experience Program is made possible by an endowment from the Ford Foundation.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must be enrolled in the TCD Certificate Program.
  • Applicants must use the award within 6 months of the time it was awarded.

Application Deadline: September 25, 2017 (Fall) & April 16, 2018 (spring)

Application Requirements

  • Practitioner Experience application form
  • A letter of recommendation from a faculty member. The letter should indicate the faculty member’s willingness to advise and serve as a contact person for you while abroad.
  • A statement of purpose that describes the proposed practitioner experience and explains how the experience will enhance your training and how you will contribute to the organization’s goals and objectives. Include background information on the host organization plus a brief summary of your previous contact with it.
  • Students proposing to return research results should attach a one page summary of the key findings to be presented.
  • A copy of any correspondence from the organization agreeing to your project.
  • A budget of estimated expenses.

Additional supporting materials can be submitted and may be considered during the selection process. Examples include published papers or project proposals.

Electronic submission required

  • Please send documents as single PDF
    Required documents in the same order as listed above
    Recommendation and support letters should be sent directly by email to the contact below.


Patricia Sampaio
Program Coordinator
343 Grinter Hall