Awards / Scholarships

There is no recognition like peer recognition! Awarding professional achievements is an important way to maintain high standards within the American Fisheries Society.

Alaska Chapter Awards

We are currently soliciting nominations for the Meritorious Service Award, the Alaska Chapter Service Award, and the Wally Noerenberg Award for Fishery Excellence. We encourage all members to consider nominating deserving individuals for these awards using one of these forms:

AK-AFS-Awards-Nomination-Form  [PDF version]
AK-AFS-Awards-Nomination-Form  [Word version]

NOMINATIONS ARE DUE BY FEBRUARY 15. Award recipients will be announced at the Annual Meeting.

Rewarding excellence is an enjoyable but challenging task. If you would like to help out, the Chapter is soliciting a Chair and members for the Awards Committee. If you are interested in being a part of this committee, please contact Awards Chair.

Past Award Recipients

Alaska Chapter Service Award
The Chapter Service Award was established to award outstanding service to the Alaska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. These candidates should have been involved in some or all of the following activities: active participation in standing or ad-hoc committees; made important contributions to advance the current objectives, long-term goals or stature of the Chapter and fisheries professionals; contributed a significant amount of time to Chapter activities; improved public awareness of the Alaska Chapter and Chapter activities; encouraged development of students as fisheries professionals through recruitment and involvement as Chapter members; and recruited fisheries professionals as Chapter members.

Submit Alaska Chapter Service Award nominations and letters of support to Awards Chair.

Best Student Oral and Poster Presentations
Student presentations will be evaluated by members who volunteer to judge for the competition. Each judge will score talks and posters using a pre-established rating sheet. Four categories of presentations will be considered: Best Oral (MS and PhD) and Best Poster (MS and PhD) presentation. The award in each category will be determined by the highest average score. An additional category for undergraduate students will be added if any should present at the meeting.

If there is only one presentation in a category, no award will be given for that category. In the event of ties, the judges will discuss the merits of the top papers and attempt to reach a consensus. If a consensus cannot be reached, the selection will be made by a simple majority vote. Only one award will be presented to each individual. Award recipients will be announced at the close of the Chapter meeting. Student award recipients will receive a monetary prize in recognition of their work.

Note: Only presentations that directly reflect student-led research (i.e., capstone, thesis, or dissertation projects) are eligible for this award. Student presenters for other projects (e.g., long-term monitoring programs) do not qualify.

Please contact AFS President if you are interested in serving as a judge for the best student oral or poster presentation competition.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Travel Award
The Alaska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (AK-AFS) provides monetary awards for persons belonging to underrepresented groups in fisheries. These funds are intended to cover registration and costs associated with traveling to/from the annual AK-AFS meeting. Successful applicants will also receive a one-year AK-AFS membership. Partial awards may be given, depending on available funding.

Award recipients must meet the following requirements:

  • Identify as part of an underrepresented group (e.g., in terms of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, physical and/or mental abilities) in fisheries science or related discipline.
  • Be a full-time student in good standing, an early career professional (i.e., under 35 yr old or within 5 yr of their terminal degree), or someone from a developing country who has a demonstrated interest in working in Alaska.

Applicants will be evaluated on their demonstrated commitment and/or clear intent to pursue a career in fisheries or related discipline, reason(s) for attending the conference, and financial need. For more information or to apply for the DEI Travel Award, please click here.

If you have questions or would like assistance with completing the application, please contact the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee at Applicants will be notified regarding the outcome of their application at least one month prior to the start of the annual meeting.

Meritorious Service Award
Nominations for the Meritorious Service Award should be based on an outstanding contribution in any area of Alaska fisheries, including research, management, education, planning, industry, and policy development. Nominations do not have to come from AFS members, nor do nominees need to be active members. The contribution or accomplishment of the candidate must be recent and not the result of many years of effort (recognition of career-long contributions is more appropriate for the Wally Noerenberg Award). The Awards Committee will select winners based on strength of the nomination and the accomplishment.

Submit Meritorious Service Award nominations and letters of support to Awards Chair.

Molly Ahlgren Scholarship Award
Professor Molly Ahlgren was an Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Sheldon Jackson College. The Alaska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (Chapter) elected her to be the Chapter’s president in 2005, after many years of her active involvement and leadership in the Chapter. Less than two weeks after being installed as Chapter president, she was killed in a boating accident. The Chapter responded by creating the Molly Ahlgren Scholarship to honor her and her life’s work.

The Molly Ahlgren Scholarship provides at least $2,000 annually to a worthy undergraduate student(s) in their sophomore, junior, or senior year of studies with the intent of earning a baccalaureate degree in fisheries, aquatic, or biological science at the University of Alaska (any branch) or Alaska Pacific University. In addition, all travel and meeting registration expenses will be paid for to attend the annual AFS Alaska Chapter Conference.

Applicants need to complete and submit an application and will be evaluated on their work and/or educational experiences and interest in the fields of fisheries, aquatic, or biological science, interest in professional advancement, and reason(s) for financial need.

Applications for the Molly Ahlgren Scholarship are due no later than November 18 at 5PM Alaska time. The year’s application form is available here. For additional information, contact Ray Hander (907) 456-0402, Ray Hander.

  • Since 2006 the Molly Ahlgren Scholarship has awarded $69,000 in support of fisheries student tuition.

Wally Noerenberg Award for Fishery Excellence
The Wally Noerenberg Award for Fishery Excellence is the highest award of the Alaska Chapter, is bestowed as a special honor on individuals who have made great and outstanding contributions to Alaska fisheries. This award was established in 1981 by resolution of the membership. The membership has also set, by resolution, specific guidelines for the Wally Noerenberg Award Committee. Nominee contributions may include scientific research; technological development; species and habitat management; innovations in harvesting, processing, or marketing; academic and fishery education; or involvement in national and international affairs affecting Alaska fisheries.

Please submit Wally Noerenberg Award nominations and letters of support Milo Adkison.

Past Award Recipients

Alaska Chapter Service Award
2023 Cheryl Barnes
2022 No award given
2021 Toshihide “Hamachan” Hamazaki
2020 No meeting due to COVID-19 pandemic
2013 – 2019 No award given
2012 Bill Bechtol
2011 Ray Hander
2010 Gretchen Bishop
2009 No award given
2008 Lee Ann Gardner
2007 Allen Bingham
2006 Cindy Hartmann
2005 No award given
2004 Bill Hauser
2000 – 2003 No award given
1999 Carl Burger

Long Talk (MS) – TBDLong Talk (MS) – TBD

Best Student Oral Presentation and Posters
2023 Poster (BS, 1st) – Kristin Reece
Poster (BS, 2nd) – Naomi Boyles-Muehleck
Poster (MS, 1st) – Sydney Almgren
Poster (MS, 2nd) – Cara Hesselbach
Poster (PhD, 1st) – Nicole Watson
Poster (PhD, 2nd) – Lia Domke
Presentation (BS, 1st) – Suzie O’Neill
Presentation (BS, 2nd) – NA
Presentation (MS, 1st) – Lilian Hart
Presentation (MS, 2nd) – Maggie Harings
Presentation (PhD, 1st) – Matt Cheng
Presentation (PhD, 2nd) – Carter Johnson
2022 Long Talk (MS, 1st) – Taylor Cubbage
Long Talk (MS, 2nd)– Luke Henslee
Long Talk (PhD, 1st) – Matt Dunkle
Long Talk (PhD, 2nd) – Chris Sergeant
Lightning Talk (MS, 1st) – Maggie Harings
Lightning Talk (MS, 2nd) – Lindsay Turner
Lightning Talk (PhD) – Genoa Sullaway
2021 Presentation (MS) – Olivia Edwards
Presentation (PhD) – Kelly Ireland
Presentation (Undergrad) – Will Samuel
Poster (MS) – Carolyn Hamman
Poster (PhD) – Chris Sergeant
2020 No meeting due to COVID-19 pandemic
2019 Presentation – Chris Sergeant
Poster – Kelly Ireland (Graduate)
Poster – Alyx Hoover (Undergraduate)
2018 Presentation (PhD) – Neil Mochnacz
Presentation (PhD) – Lauren Wild
Presentation (MS) – Taylor Ulrich
Poster (PhD) – Brita Baechler
Poster (MS) – Laura Junge
     Awarded Jointly with WDAFS
2017 Presentation – Thomas Farrugia
Poster – Chase Jalbert
2015 Presentation – Will Deacy
Poster – Benjamin Meyer
2014 Presentation – Elizabeth Figus
Poster – Allison Martin
2013 Presentation – Emily Lescak
Poster – Kevin Fraley and Bryce Mecum
2012 Presentation – Trevor Haynes
Poster – Kyle Shedd
2011 Presentations – Parker Bradley and Jason R. Neuswanger
Poster – Robert Marcotte
2010 Presentation – Jason R. Neuswanger
Poster – Jamie McKellar
2009 Presentation – Jason R. Neuswanger
Poster – David A. Roon
2008 Presentation – Kristen Dunlap
Poster – Lisa South
2007 Presentation – Becky Clausen
Poster – Jennifer Marsh
2006 Presentation – Andrew C. Seitz
Poster – Wongyu Park
2005 No award given
2004 Presentation – Cindy Tribuzio
Poster – Angela Middleton
2003 Presentation – Suzann G. Speckman
Poster – Anthony Eskelin
2002 Presentation – Mark D. Scheuerell
2001 Presentation – Sara Gilk
2000 Presentation – Karla Granath
1999 Presentation – Amy Browning
Poster – Scott H. Maclean
1998 Presentation – Robert Begich and Lisa Thompson
1997 Presentation – Jennifer Boldt
1996 Presentation – Michael Daigneault
1995 Presentation – Gretchen Bishop

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Travel Award
2023 Recipient unable to accept
2021 – 2022 Virtual meetings – No award given
2020 No meeting due to COVID-19 pandemic
2019 Jesse Gordon and Danielle Lowrey
2018 Sonia Ibarra
2017 Sarah O’Neal
2015 Henry Masters
2014 Molly McCarthy
2013 Lauren Divine and Allyson Olds
2012 Casie Stockdale and Danielle Duncan
2011 Rachel DeWilde, Leslie Jensen and Theresa Floyd
2010 Ernestine Ahgeak, Elena Fernandez, and Emilie Springer
2009 Alissa Joseph and Jessica Davila
2008 Shelley Woods
2007 Lisa Kangas
2006 Valli Peterson, Lisa Kangas, and Heidi Herter
2005 No award given
2004 Mike Martz and Tyler Dann
2003 Courtenay Peirce
2002 Karen Pletnikoff and Jodi Neil
2001 Iris O’Brien
2000 Kalei Shotwell
1999 Cheryl Dion
1998 Kathleen M. Kennell Menke
1997 Carol Kerkvliet

Meritorious Service Award
2023 No award given
2022 Jodi Estrada
2022 No award given
2021 No award given
2020 No meeting due to COVID-19 pandemic
2018 – 2019 No award given
2017 Sonia Ibarra and Steve Moffitt
2012 – 2015 No award given
2011 Charles Krueger, Christian Zimmerman, Karen Gillis and Joseph Spaeder (shared)
2008 – 2010 No award given
2007 Ray Troll
2006 Mason “Buck” Bryant
2003 – 2005 No award given
2002 Jie Zheng
1999 – 2001 No award given
1998 Gordon Kruse
1997 Fred Everest
1996 Lyman Thorsteinson
1995 Fred DeCicco
1994 Alex Wertheimer
1993 Bill Wilson
1992 No award given
1991 Steve Klein
1990 Nick Dudiak
1989 John Clark
1988 Bill Heard

Molly Ahlgren Scholarship
2023 Molly Legg (APU) and Kristen Reece (UAF)
2022 Zoe Munson (APU) and Brittany Gardner (UAF)
2021 Kortney Birch (UAF)
2020 Monica Keim (APU)
2019 Noah Khalsa (UAF)
2018 Keenan Sanderson (UAF)
2017 Kelly Ireland (UAA)
2015 Maggie Schaffer (APU)
2014 Sky Brandt (UAF) and Lauren Bailey (UAF)
2013 Rosario Fuentes (APU) and Melissa Rhodes-Reese (UAF)
2012 Ryan Lucas (UAA)
2011 Dan Prince (UAA)
2010 Andrew Reichel (APU) and Casey McConnell (UAF)
2009 Matt Catterson (UAF)
2008 Shelley Woods (UAF)
2007 Christian Anderson (UAF)
2006 Sonya Weihl (Sheldon Jackson)

Wally Noerenberg Award
2023 No award given
2022 No award given
2021 Catherine W. (Kitty) Mecklenberg
2020 No meeting due to COVID-19 pandemic
2019 No award given
2018 Stephen Jewett and Brenda Norcross
2017 – 2018 No award given
2015 Gordon Kruse
2013 – 2014 No award given
2012  Chuck Meacham
2011  Bill Heard and Jack Helle
2010 No award given
2009 Terrence J. Quinn II
2007 – 2008 No award given
2006 Bill Wilson
2005 No award given
2004 Lance Trasky
2003 Alex Wertheimer
2002 A. J. Paul
1998 – 2001 No award given
1997 John Clark
1996 No award given
1995 Ken Roberson
1994 Ole Mathisen
1993 No award given
1992 Jim Reynolds
1991 Jim Branson
1990 Steve Pennoyer
1989 Clem Tillion
1988 Bob Armstrong
1987 No award given
1986 Armin Koerning
1983 – 1985 No award given
1982 Wally Noerenberg (awarded posthumously)