Cultural Diversity Committee

Chairperson: Sara Gilk – Baumer
Phone: 267-2535
Fax: 267-2442

Background and mission:
The Cultural Diversity Committee was organized in 1992 to increase opportunities and encourage active involvement of minorities and women in the Chapter. A drive to establish two $10,000 Cultural Diversity Travel Award Endowments began in 1994. Initially, major donations were received from the Western Division and individual members. The Executive Committee matched several of these donations and also contributed $3,000 of the proceeds from the 1998 AK Chapter meeting.

The first $10,000 endowment was reached in 1999. This plus the additional $3,000 was increased to $15,000 by contribution from the Executive Committee in 2004. The award provides funding to attend the Annual Chapter Meeting.

Award Procedures and Guidelines:
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. Award monies are derived from the interest off of a principal of the Cultural Diversity Travel Award Endowment. The committee tried to get as many deserving recipients funded to the meeting as possible with the available funding.

Announcements are made for the availability of this award and applications are sent to different government, university, private, native corporations, etc. throughout the state of Alaska. In addition, a reminder is sent out to the above prior to the application deadline.

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:
    1) Fisheries Biologist I, Fish and Wildlife Technician II or III, or natural resource position equivalent in the State of Alaska employment system.
    2) GS-7 or lower level position in the U.S. government employment system.
    3) Have an entry-level fisheries or related science position in the private sector.
    4) 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 and from the Chapter conference
    3. Lodging
    4. One Banquet ticket
    5. Chapter conference 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.

The Cultural Diversity Travel Award Committee will provide information on Committee activities to the Chapter Executive Committee and at annual Chapter Business meetings.