Awards / Scholarships

© ADF&G - photo credit Gretchen Bishop

There is no recognition like peer recognition. Awards by the Alaska Chapter to its members for their professional achievements have been important in maintaining the high standards of the American Fisheries Society.

The Alaska Chapter is currently soliciting nominations for the Meritorious Service Award (MSA), the Chapter Service Award (CSA), the Almost Darwin Award, and the Wally Noerenberg Award for Fishery Excellence.

We encourage all members to consider deserving individuals and to submit nominations for these awards. Please use one of these forms…

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

to make your nominations. Award presentations from this call for nominations will occur at the Annual Meeting. NOMINATIONS ARE DUE BY FEBRUARY 15.

Alaska Chapter Meritorious Service Award

Nominations for the Meritorious Service Award (MSA) can 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 for nominations to Jeff Falke

Alaska Chapter Service Award
The Chapter Service Award (CSA) 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 Chapter Service Award nominations and letters of support for nominations to Jeff Falke

Almost Darwin Award

The Almost Darwin Award recognizes the most humorous and outrageous fisheries faux pas of any fisheries professional. The nominees must have committed the faux pas within the last calendar year. Please include a photo of proof along with the story.

Submit Almost Darwin Award nominations and letters of support for nominations to Jeff Falke

Best Student Oral and Poster Presentation Awards

Student presentations will be evaluated by all Awards Committee members present at the annual meeting. Each judge will score every paper and poster using the established rating sheet. If there are concurrent sessions, the chair of the Awards Committee shall assign judges to specific sessions to ensure all papers are rated. Two categories of presentations will be considered: Best Paper and Best Poster.

The award in each category will be determined by the highest average score. In the event of ties, the judges will discuss the merits of the top papers and attempt to reach a consensus; but, if a consensus cannot be reached, the selection will be by a simple majority vote.

If there is only one presentation in a category, no award will be given for that category. Only one award will be presented to each individual.

The Awards Committee chair will announce the best paper award at the close of the Chapter meeting. Student award recipients will receive a monetary prize in recognition of their work.

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

Annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Travel Award:
This award was developed in 1992 to increase participation among individuals from underrepresented groups in fisheries. Successful applicants receive an annual AK-AFS membership, registration waiver, and travel funds to attend the annual meeting. Please click here for details.

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 are sometimes 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, or socioeconomic background) in fisheries science or related
  • Be a full-time student in good standing or maintain an entry level position.

Applicants will also 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.

Completed applications should be emailed to:
Cheryl Barnes (she / her)

If you have questions or would like assistance completing this application, please contact Cheryl Barnes at (831) 515-8232 or using the email address above. Applicants will be notified regarding the outcome of their application at least one month prior to the start of the annual meeting.

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 5:00 pm Alaska time. The current year’s MS word application form is available Here. For additional application 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
The Wally Noerenberg Award for Fishery Excellence, 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.

The Wally Noerenberg Award Committee is seeking a new chair. The chair must be a Chapter member, but they cannot be a current or past member of the Chapter Executive Committee. To nominate yourself or someone else, please contact Jeff Falke. In the interim, please submit Wally Noerenberg Award nominations and letters of support for nominations to past WNA Committee chair Erik Schoen, International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775 (907) 444-3867, Erik Schoen

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