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.

Alaska Chapter Meritorious Service Award »

Alaska Chapter Service Award »

Almost Darwin Award »

Best Student Oral and Poster Presentations – Chapter Meeting Awards »

Cultural Diversity Travel Award/Scholarship »

Molly Ahlgren Scholarship »

Wally Noerenberg Award »

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 2014 Annual Meeting. NOMINATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY JANUARY 31, 2014.


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 Theresa Tanner, USFWS, 605 W 4th Ave., Rm G-61; Anchorage, 99501, (907) 271-1799, .


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 Theresa Tanner, USFWS, 605 W 4th Ave., Rm G-61; Anchorage, 99501, (907) 271-1799, .


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 Theresa Tanner, USFWS, 605 W 4th Ave., Rm G-61; Anchorage, 99501, (907) 271-1799, .


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. The chair will arrange for an AFS awards plaque to be sent to the supervisor or major professor for presentation to the recipient. Starting at the 2010 meeting, student award recipients will receive an additional monetary prize of $200.00.


Cultural Diversity Travel Award/Scholarship

The primary mission of this award is to fund entry-level applicants who are involved in the natural resource field to attend the annual Alaska Chapter AFS conferences.

Applicants must meet the following requirements:

Be an Alaskan Native or Minority (woman, black, Hispanic, or other ethnic minority) in a field of fisheries science or other natural resource related discipline.

Be in an entry level position or student, defined as one or more of the following:

  • Fisheries Biologist I, Fish and Wildlife Technician II or III, or natural resource position equivalent in the State of Alaska employment system.
  • GS-7 or lower level position in the U.S. government employment system.
  • Have an entry-level fisheries or related science position in the private sector.
  • Be a student in good standing in the field of fisheries or a related discipline.

Overall, applicants will be evaluated on their work and/or educational experiences and interest in the natural resources field, interest in professional advancement, reason(s) for attending the conference, reference contact information, and financial need.

The Cultural Travel award recipient may receive one or all of the following:
1. One year membership to AFS
2. Round-trip travel to the Alaska Chapter Annual Meeting
3. Lodging during the meeting
4. One Banquet ticket
5. Alaska Chapter Annual Meeting registration

This award is based on need and the committee will try to get as many deserving candidates to the meeting as possible. In past years some recipients had their own lodging, were already members of AFS, and/or didn’t have to travel very far and the savings translated into allowing more recipients to participate.

The award recipient will be introduced at the Alaska Chapter AFS conference. The recipient will also be expected to write a brief statement about their experience at the Chapter conference to be submitted for publication in the winter issue of the AK Chapter newsletter, Oncorhynchus. Applicants will also be encouraged to attend the student-mentor luncheons at the Chapter conferences to provide positive role models by interactions with students.

Applications for the Cultural Diversity Travel Award/Scholarship are due August 30, the application form is available here: (2013 AFS CultDivAward application) or by contacting Sara Gilk-Baumer (907) 267-2535, .


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 Award (Scholarship) fund to honor her and her life’s work.

The Molly Ahlgren Scholarship provides $5,000 annually to a worthy undergraduate student entering their senior year of studies with the intent of earning a baccalaureate degree in fisheries or aquatic 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. The deadline for application this year is September 21, 2012.

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 and aquatic science, interest in professional advancement, and reason(s) for financial need.

Applications for the Molly Ahlgren Scholarship are due no later than September XX, 2014. The application form is available from this link, or by contacting Ray Hander (907) 456-0402, .


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.

Submit Wally Noerenberg Award nominations and letters of support for nominations to Ken Gates, USFWS, Kenai Fish and Wildlife Field Office, 43655 K-Beach Road, Soldotna, AK 99669, (907) 262-9863, .


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 Theresa Tanner at or (907) 271-1799.