2022 Election Nomination Bios!

  1. President Elect

Taylor Heckman

Hello! My name is Taylor Heckman, and I am a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Esteban Soto’s Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory at UC Davis, where I recently finished my PhD in Microbiology. I completed my BA in Biology at Willamette University in Oregon, moving there from Hawaii. Growing up surrounded by ocean gave me a lasting love for the underwater world, and I have had the opportunity to dive into several areas of relevant research. 

My background in marine biology, conservation, microbiology, and aquaculture has shaped my perspective on the interconnectedness of fisheries science. I approach my research on bacterial pathogens of fish with an emphasis on understanding disease in the context of their larger, living ecosystem. This has given me a sincere appreciation for interdisciplinary collaboration with my peers, established scientists, and practitioners. I will strive to foster this spirit of communication and appreciation of diverse perspectives as President-Elect of the Student and Early Career Professionals subsection.  

The AFS has been an important organization for my development. I have been a member of the Student and Fish Health sections since starting graduate school, and at this stage in my career, I am looking to contribute more actively to the organization. In the upcoming year, I will be serving as the Early Career Representative for the AFS-FHS Long-Range Planning Committee. Outside of the AFS, I have had served as Microbiology Representative for the UC Davis Graduate Student Association and as a member and symposium organizer for the Coastal and Marine Science Institute’s Graduate Student Affairs Committee. I am also a coordinator for the Equity in in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Entrepreneurship (ESTEME) Mentor Matching Program at UC Davis. I aim to use my previous experience and concurrent appointment to represent my peers and align the goals and needs of the SECP with the larger AFS organization. I look forward to contributing to an inclusive scientific community, and to organizing events and resources to connect new and existing members. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Jacob Green

My name is Jacob Green, and I am nominating myself for the AFS student leadership position of President-Elect. I have been a student member of AFS for two years and am eager to continue my involvement by serving in a leadership capacity. I am a senior undergraduate at Grove City College in western Pennsylvania (expected graduation date: May 2022), and a Conservation Biology major pursuing a career in fisheries science. I will be graduating with Dean’s List and Tri-Beta Biological Society Honors.

I offer 5 years of experience both working for and volunteering with the New Hampshire Fish & Game and Trout Unlimited organizations. These jobs included working as a fish culturist at a state fish hatchery, interning as a stream habitat technician for a nonprofit organization (Trout Unlimited), and carrying out the state of New Hampshire’s stream corridor surveys as part of the collaborative Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture with the Department of Fish & Game. While working with the state’s fisheries biologists, I also ran educative workshops for local conservation organizations on fisheries issues and management.

Currently, I am conducting independent research at Grove City College on the endangered Eastern Sand Darter (Ammocrypta pellucida). My goal is to identify the streams in which they are found and quantify factors that explain their limited dispersal in western Pennsylvania. I have spearheaded an effort that involves eDNA monitoring and PCR analysis to accomplish these objectives.

I also serve as a volunteer board member on my Town of New Hampton’s Conservation Commission.

My work at the state, private, town, and academic levels of fisheries have provided me with a diverse background and skill set that I believe will benefit the AFS student subsection. I hope to contribute to the AFS student body through predictable and informed leadership that grants equal opportunity and voice to everyone within the student body of members. I would aim to foster active involvement among the student body and represent it in a fashion that is honoring to AFS and to the fisheries profession.

2. Secretary-Treasurer 

Cortney Brown

My initial introduction to the fisheries field came at a very young age – my family posed a photo of me at two years old complete with a stuffed salmon and outfitted in a fisherman’s vest that completely engulfed me at the time. I like to joke that I was indoctrinated to be a fisheries biologist at a very young age. Currently, I am an early career Fisheries Biologist working for a private aquatic restoration company that pursues projects focused on fish habitat restoration and enhancement work across North America. I began my fisheries career as a general Biology major at Western Washington University and worked up to graduating with both a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology with a Marine Emphasis and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Culture, all while participating in the National Spanish Honor Society as a member and Treasurer. Post-graduation, I worked my way up from a creel survey technician, acoustic telemetry technician, and finally to an environmental technician focused on surveying populations of White Sturgeon and Bull Trout in the Northwest. 

From that point I was able to obtain a Master’s Graduate Assistantship utilizing a remote sensing technique to count adult spawning Atlantic Sturgeon all the way across the country in Georgia, while becoming immediately involved in the American Fisheries Society and the North American Sturgeon and Paddlefish Society. I jumped into becoming Treasurer for the North American Sturgeon and Paddlefish Society, and subsequently President of the Student Subsection of NASPS while working through my master’s project and staying active with the Student Subsection and Georgia Chapter of the AFS. I believe that experiencing both ends of the United States has greatly enhanced my perspective on fisheries across North America.

Today I am willing to become involved as Treasurer-Secretary of the Student and Early Career Professionals of the American Fisheries Society and will provide some of the same expertise and genuine care that I gave to my previous positions. I would love the opportunity to participate in a larger community and to contribute to the SECP processes in a beneficial way, such as providing experience related to my diverse background, skills in detail orientation and genuine curiosity for learning, and my constant drive to improve communication and involvement within myself and the societies I participate in. I would help strive to create awareness of AFS, which I had no knowledge of during my own undergraduate career, and I would love to help encourage younger students to get involved with such an influential society.

3. Canadian Division 

Timothy Fernandes

Tim has been actively involved with fisheries science and conservation for over 5 years, with professional experience working in government, NGOs, and academia in Ontario. Currently, Tim is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto and a fisheries research biologist at Biotactic Fisheries Research and Monitoring. He is also a member of the Student Committee that serves the Canadian Aquatic Resources Section of the AFS. 

Shahinur Islam

This is Shahinur Islam, have just completed my PhD from Dr. Ian Fleming's lab (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada), and am currently doing a Postdoc with Drs. Daniel Heath (U. Windsor, Canada) and Ken Jeffries (U. Manitoba), would like to apply for the AFS- Canadian Representative position. I have been an active member with AFS past 5 years. Currently, I am serving in the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee for the Canadian Society of Zoology (CSZ), and am hoping to serve in a subcommittee for the Genetics Society of America in 2022. I have been recently awarded the "Genetics Society of America (GSA) presidential membership award 2022". During my PhD, I was also involved in organizing conferences like the Canadian Society of Ecology and Evolution (CSEE), Canadian Society of Zoology (CSZ). Also, during my PhD, I was fortunate to serve as a communication coordinator for our Departmental Graduate Student Association and often involved in organizing departmental seminar series, journal club etc. American Fisheries Society (AFS) is an excellent society, and as an early career researcher, I believe I can contribute to this leadership (Canadian Representative) role if I get the chance.

Shannon Clarke

Hi everyone, my name is Shannon Clarke, and I am an MSc student at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. I would like to nominate myself for the position of Canadian Division Representative for the AFS Student and Early Career Professionals Subsection. 

Education & Experience:

I am in the final few months of my MSc at Concordia University, where I am supervised by Dr. Dylan Fraser, studying how the genetics and demographics of alpine brook trout change with intense size-selective harvest. My MSc research has involved long field seasons in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, fyke-netting, gillnetting, and electrofishing, and long days in the lab and on my computer conducting genetic and statistical analyses. During my MSc, I was also able to help on another project in the lab, collecting tissue samples of brook trout and walleye via angling from Mistassini Lake in Quebec, in collaboration with the Cree Nation of Mistissini. I completed my BSc at Carleton University in Ottawa, where I was involved in Dr. Steven Cooke’s lab as a summer field technician for two years and completed my undergraduate thesis on the influences of catch-and-release angling on largemouth bass and pike. After the completion of my MSc, I intend on looking for fisheries positions in environmental consulting or government organizations in Canada. Throughout my undergrad and MSc, I have been involved in several student organizations as a volunteer and leader. At Carleton, I was the co-president of my departmental student association, and also the vice president internal of the faculty of science student society. I am currently the representative for Concordia University for the Quebec Center for Biodiversity Science (QCBS), where I liaise between students and the QCBS, letting the students know of events and answering any questions they have. I believe this experience will translate well into the position of Canadian Division Subunit.

AFS Involvement:

I am currently the graduate student representative for the Quebec Student Subunit and have held the position since January 2020. In this position, I recruit new graduate students to be members of our subunit and help organize events with the rest of the excomm. I attended the 2020 AFS conference virtually, presenting work from a directed project I completed during my undergrad on the influence of dams on local riverine communities in the Amazon. 

Intended Contribution:

I am interested in serving as the Canadian Division representative to continue my involvement in AFS through the Canadian Division Representative position, as I will be graduating next semester and will no longer hold a position in the Quebec Student Subunit. As the Canadian Division Representative, I hope to be able to connect with students and young fisheries professionals to help them find a community and advance in their studies or careers. I would love to contribute to the planning of social events or professional development activities. I am an organized and outgoing person and would love to meet more AFS members both within Canada and the USA. I hope you consider me for the position!

4. North Eastern Division

Carrie Pershyn

Education and Experience:

My name is Carrie Pershyn, and I am an early career professional interested in serving as the Northeastern Division representative for the AFS Student and Early Career Professional Subsection Executive Committee. I currently work as Biodiversity Research Manager for the Ausable River Association, a nonprofit watershed conservation and research organization in the Adirondack mountains of upstate NY.  I graduated from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY in 2018 with an M.S. in Fish and Wildlife Biology and Management. I also hold a B.S. in Ecology from Plattsburgh State University. My graduate thesis research at ESF focused on Brook Trout habitat use, recruitment, and population genetics in high elevation, groundwater-fed tributaries of the headwaters of the Ausable River. I am formally trained in natural history and ecology of freshwater habitats, with a variety of past research experience on terrestrial and aquatic wildlife in the Northeastern USA and beyond. My research program focuses on climate change impacts on freshwater ecosystems, and my active research includes the use of environmental DNA to understand the distribution and recovery of Atlantic salmon and brook trout in tributaries to Lake Champlain. We regularly utilize electrofishing, eDNA, snorkeling to assess fish populations in our watershed. 

AFS Involvement:

I have been a member of the American Fisheries Society since 2015 and am a member of the Student and Early Career Professionals subsection, the Northeastern Division, and Genetics Section. I attend the NY chapter meetings annually and have participated in one NED meeting (2014) and one AFS annual meeting (Atlantic City). During my time at SUNY-ESF, I was an active member of the SUNY-ESF Student Chapter and participated in all meetings and activities during 2016-2017. I have attended several NY chapter business meetings, and this has led to an interest in becoming more involved at the national AFS level. 

Intended Representative Contribution: 

As Northeastern Division Representative for the Student and Early Career Professional Subsection Executive Committee, I look forward to contributing to the SECP executive committee meetings throughout the year and disseminating information and activities of the subsection to the Northeastern Division membership and regional student sub-units. As an early career professional, I feel I have much experience to share with student members. I look forward also to working within the NED and our subunits and student chapters to creatively recruit new membership wherever possible.

5. Western Division

Lauren Yancy

I am current undergraduate senior at Texas A&M University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences, graduating in December 2021. I have been involved in AFS for three years at the Texas A&M Subunit, Texas Chapter, and National level. I was the President of Texas A&M Subunit for 2019-2021. I have presented oral and poster presentations at each AFS conference that I attended and volunteered at the 2021 National conference in Baltimore. During the COVID-19 pandemic, myself and the other TAMU subunit officers were able to shift the subunit to a virtual stance, which made remote meetings with professionals more obtainable. We hosted a virtual meeting with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Inland Fisheries Division Director, Craig Bonds, and were able to include multiple other Texas student subunits in the meeting attendance. I witnessed the benefits and importance of subunits interacting with other students and believe that this is a point that needs to be stressed to students. Serving as a division representative would allow me to talk to all of the universities in the Western Division and help put them in contact with each other for inspiration and guidance as they lead their subunits through a seemingly never-ending pandemic. Communication extending past email contact is a great way to establish relationships with fisheries students across different states. Attempting to hold informal meetings to discuss each chapter’s achievements or downfalls could help establish rapport between subunits, and overall better each individual subunit.

6. Southern Division

Matthew Lewis

I would like to nominate myself for the Southern Division representative for the Student and Early Career Professionals Subsection Executive Committee. I am a Presidential Graduate Research Fellow and PhD candidate at Auburn University working in black bass genetics. I spent ten years working in human genetics before writing a book, Fly Fishing for Redeye Bass: An Adventure Across Southern Waters, in which I summarized the literature about and conservation challenges for this unique and endemic black bass. This process steered me into fisheries to hopefully answer some pressing issues regarding hybridization and species boundaries of these fish.  

Over the last four years, I have published five papers in this arena (with a couple more in progress) and have also genotyped over 10,000 individuals for southeastern fish and game agencies as part of my role in the Southeastern Fish Genetics Co-Op. My work has helped to discover and document the spread of invasive Alabama Bass outside of their native range and help agencies formulate management plans to mitigate the deleterious consequences of these introductions, such as hybridization with native black bass. In addition, I have founded an Alabama chapter of Native Fish Coalition (NFC) that works to protect, preserve, and restore native fish in their native habitat. I also serve on the National Advisory Council for NFC.  

I’m a firm believer in that you get out of something what you put into it. At Auburn University, I have served as a Graduate Student Council (GSC) senator for Fisheries for the last two years. Within GSC, I serve on two different committees: Administrative Review and Academic Honesty, both of which have enriched my time here at Auburn University by connecting me with other people that share my dedication to our university. 

While attending American Fisheries Society meetings (both national and southern division), I felt a desire to get more involved in AFS. Networking with other fisheries professionals and future-professionals is something that benefits all of us as it strengthens the foundation of AFS, its members. I am at the point in my career where I have a little more flexibility with time commitments and the experience to be a voice for the Southern Division as a representative. I look forward to being able to promote Subsection membership and serving on special committees as needed. I hope you will consider me for this position.

7. North Central Division

Hadley Boehm

My name is Hadley Boehm, and I am interested in serving as the SECP Subection NCD representative. I am currently a PhD student at the University of Missouri School of Natural Resources and the Missouri Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. I hold a M.S. (2016) in Natural Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP), a M.S. (2011) in Environment and Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a B.S. (2008) in Biology from Alma College, Alma, Michigan. I worked between each of my degrees, so over the last 15 years have spent time living in Michigan, Ontario, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri where I have developed my professional network. Prior to returning to MU for a PhD, I was a Fisheries Specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Detroit Lakes, MN, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Senior Fisheries Biologist for Vilas County in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. My research at UWSP and my current work in Missouri have been collaborative projects with the corresponding state resource management agency to address applied fisheries questions. During my time in Wisconsin, I became very active in the state chapter of AFS (WIAFS), attending my first meeting in 2012. At that time there were not student or early career professional activities at WIAFS annual meetings, so I approached the chapter president and asked if I could take on a role of facilitating communication with student subunits and organizing student activities at annual meetings. The executive committee approved and named me the first WIAFS student subunit liaison. Through the years I talked with subunits to learn what types of activities they would find helpful and interesting. Based on these discussions I facilitated panels about career options in fisheries and choosing/applying for graduate school, student-mentor luncheons, a student social, and resume “speed dating”. Eventually, WIAFS created a student and young professionals committee, to which I was appointed the inaugural chair. While I eventually moved to Missouri to begin my PhD, I am proud to be able to say that these activities remain a part of WIAFS annual meetings today. At the regional and society level I chaired the student and early career professional activities committee for the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference in 2018, co-chaired the Education Section webinar committee, and am currently the Education Section newsletter co-chair and the co-treasurer for the Equal Opportunities Section. My experiences working with students through AFS and mentoring of undergraduate technicians as a graduate student and agency biologist have ended up being some of the most fulfilling experiences of my career. That realization is what led me to give up a full-time state agency biologist position to pursue my PhD. I hope to one day have my own lab where I can address fisheries management and conservation questions and help students gain skills and experiences necessary for them to succeed as effective educators, researchers, and practitioners of the future. I would eagerly undertake the position of NCD representative, and I believe my academic and agency experience, prior involvement liaising with student subunits, passion for mentorship, awareness of skillsets desired by agencies, and professional network across the NCD would all be useful assets toward fulfilling the duties of this role.