SOURCE: Denver Zoo

Denver Zoo

December 10, 2015 13:19 ET

Denver Zoo Announces Its First Advanced Inquiry Program Graduating Class

Program Provided Real-Life Applications in Conservation Biology to Its Graduates

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - December 10, 2015) - Denver Zoo is proud to announce its inaugural Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) graduating class. Co-delivered by the Zoo and Miami University's Project Dragonfly, AIP is a one-of-a-kind master's degree program for working professionals who want to develop their inquiry-based skills while striving to affect positive social change in their local community. A number of the graduates will travel to Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, on December 11 for a commencement ceremony before being honored at Denver Zoo on January 16, 2016.

The 17-member graduating class is comprised of participants from various backgrounds, ages and professions. One is a banker who wanted to pursue a new career that reflects her life-long passion for animal welfare and is now employed at the Zoo. Another is a park ranger who plans to incorporate his newfound knowledge in his job to help educate others about the importance of the earth's natural resources. This program provided many real-life applications in conservation biology to its graduates.

Launched at Denver Zoo in May 2013, AIP is an inquiry-driven learning experience allowing participants to take graduate-level courses in-person and online from conservation education staff at Denver Zoo and online from Miami University faculty. The program is designed to connect participants to a broad network of educators, conservationists and community leaders. Depending upon coursework, graduates receive either a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in the Biological Sciences or a Master of Arts in Biology, both conferred by Miami University. Denver Zoo is one of only eight Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos in the United States that offer this unique master's program in conjunction with Miami University.

The program is designed for those with a passion for conservation, wildlife and community-based work, whether in the field of education, communications, animal care or others. Participants take 21 credit hours at Denver Zoo and 14 credit hours online through Miami University, in addition to a Master Plan, the equivalent of a thesis. The program can be completed in a minimum of two and a half years, with a maximum of five years. AIP students practice the skills of investigation, critical reflection, leadership and collaboration, all required to effectively address vital conservation issues.

Denver Zoo is currently taking applications for those interested in the program. Enrollment is open to applicants with a bachelor's degree, regardless of academic major or profession. Applications will be accepted until February 28, 2016. To learn more about the program, an information night is scheduled for January 20, 2016, from 6-8 p.m., at Denver Zoo. For more information, email AIP@denverzoo.org.

About Denver Zoo: Denver Zoo brings education alive, providing a unique learning experience that sparks an interest in the natural world for visitors and program participants alike. Home to 4,300 animals representing more than 600 species, the Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which assures the highest standards of animal care.

A leader in green action, Denver Zoo is the greenest zoo in the country and is dedicated to ensuring the safety of the environment in support of all species by attaining the highest environmental standards. Since 1996, Denver Zoo has participated in about 600 animal conservation projects in 62 countries on all seven continents.

About Miami University: Miami University is one of the oldest public universities in the country, made possible by an ordinance signed by President George Washington in 1795. Chartered in 1809, Miami welcomed its first students in 1824. Miami's reputation grew as quickly as its enrollment, and it became known as the "Yale of the West" for its ambitious liberal arts curriculum. Miami, listed as one of the eight original Public Ivies, has a long and distinguished record of excellence in research and teaching in science and education. Today, Miami consistently ranks among the nation's top public universities for the quality of teaching and overall student experience.

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    Tiffany Barnhart
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