How to Get Active in AFS

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The American Fisheries Society (AFS) is the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to conserving fisheries resources, advancing fisheries science, and strengthening the fisheries profession. Becoming involved in the AFS is a critical step in fisheries education. It empowers students to develop professional competencies and cultivate relationships with scientists, managers, biologists, and policy makers throughout the world. Involvement in AFS also improves a student’s eligibility when applying for AFS-sponsored awards and scholarships. We encourage AFS students to get actively involved in their professional society, making meaningful contributions to prepare for a rewarding career. Here’s how:

Join the Student Subsection of the Education Section

The Student Subsection of the Education Section (Subsection) is an association of AFS students and young professionals throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Members work closely with the Education Section to improve fisheries education and foster communication among fisheries educators, employers, students, and the public. Joining the Subsection is an important step in fisheries education and employment. Not only will you connect with students and professional throughout the world, you will build leadership skills that will empower you to secure the job of your dreams. Join the Subsection today!

Join a Student Subunit

Many universities with fisheries programs have Student Subunits of the American Fisheries Society. Subunits work to promote fisheries conservation, professional development of members, and public education. In addition, subunits are led by student officers (e.g., President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer) – getting involved as a student officer provides an excellent opportunity to develop leadership skills and to learn about AFS operations and procedures. Talk with your faculty advisor and fellow students about getting involved. As with the Subsection, joining a Subunit will enable you to network with students and professionals and develop critical skills for future employment.

Connect with your state chapter

Many states have an AFS chapter: Check here to find yours: State chapters hold annual meetings at which students can give professional talks and poster presentations, or organize raffles and silent auctions. In addition, students can run for officer positions and join committees. Some state chapters have student-specific positions, such as student liaison or student representative, providing a direct link between subunits and chapters. Students are also often encouraged to write articles for the state chapter newsletter or website, or participate in social media posts. Talk with your university advisor or state chapter representative about getting involved. Engaging in state chapters will benefit all aspiring fisheries professionals.

Connect with your division

Divisions are groupings of state chapters based on geographic region. Divisions also hold annual meetings students can present and participate in. These larger meetings often have student-specific activities such as socials or mentoring sessions which may provide opportunities for students to interact directly with fisheries professionals. Divisions may have committees or offices that students can participate in, affording them the opportunity to get to know officers and professionals not just in their state, but throughout their region.


Whether it’s original research, popular literature, or a “Student Angle” article in Fisheries, publishing your writing is a phenomenal way to get involved in the AFS. Publications are the currency of science and a gateway to employment. Talk with your faculty advisor and fellow students about ways to get your writing published. And be sure you’re subscribed to the Fisheries newsletter for the latest updates in fisheries science and AFS activities:


At Annual Meetings of the AFS, including your regional and state meetings, students can assist with registration, event planning, professional presentation judging, and other tasks. And volunteers are generally compensated for their services! Check the AFS website and look for emails from the Student Activities Committee prior to the Annual Meeting for more information.

Other opportunities for involvement

There are many other ways to get involved in AFS:

  • Attend AFS, division, and state meetings!
  • Start a student subunit!
  • Organize subunit events!
  • Join a committee at the state, division, or AFS level!
  • Run for an officer position!
  • Read and write for newsletters !
  • Become a reviewer!
  • Follow AFS on Facebook and Twitter!


Tracy Wendt, M.S., University of Montana, Wyoming Game & Fish Department
Nick Cole, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Nebraska
Andrew Carlson, Ph.D. Student, Michigan State University