I believe that the fellowship is the perfect way to commemorate Jan’s legacy. She was a successful, female fisheries biologist, and what better way to honor her commitment to her field than by supporting and providing unique experiences to those who wish to follow in her footsteps. The most important highlight of my fellowship experience was the people that I met during the process, particularly, my mentor Gary Whelan. He introduced me to individuals within the agency and those working with the agency, the complexities of management decisions even with great science to back them up, and the ever changing nature of natural resource management as new problems arise.
Interacting in the management arena provides an avenue for students to see how the science that is done influences management decisions. How even with the best available science for decision making, decisions are not easy. The complexity of decisions is not evident to students until they venture into the management realm.
I recommend that fellows take every opportunity that is offered to them that will provide them the benefits they need as they move forward in their career, but to also use opportunities that they feel uncomfortable with. Stretching your bounds of comfort is the most important thing a graduate student can do in order to enter into the science community as prepared as possible. When you arrive at whatever jobs you end up with, you will be handed opportunities that will stretch your limits. Enjoy them and learn from them. I think that this advice goes for all graduate students, not just Fenske fellowship recipients.
I feel it is incredibly important that graduate students realize the value of having a home life and the value of interacting with lab mates and other graduate students in the department. You are in graduate school for more than just a degree and a single project, you are in graduate school to build life-long partnerships with individuals that will be in your field. These partnerships are incredibly important for success as a scientist. Also, some part of your life where science and school do not exist is important. In order to be successful, you do not have to spend every waking moment doing science. A balance needs to be struck between home and school.
Read Amy’s article “The Fenske Fellowship: A Graduate Student Opportunity in Fisheries Management” in the July 2009 edition of Fisheries Magazine.
Read Amy’s article “The Fenske Fellowship: Lessons in Fisheries Management and Life ” in the 2009 FW Spotlight Magazine.
Read Amy’s final fellowship report.