Author Archives: msufenskefellows


East Lansing, Michigan

Congratulations to the two new Fenske Fellows, selected for the 2015-2016 school year! Please welcome Master’s student, Elle Gulotty, and Ph.D. student, Andrew Carlson, to the Fenske community!

Elle will work on a project with her graduate advisor, Dr. Dan Hayes, and her Fenske mentor, Dr. Tammy Newcomb from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Andrew Carlson will work on a project with his graduate advisor, Dr. Bill Taylor, and his Fenske mentor, Dr. Troy Zorn, also from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. You can follow both of their Fenske adventures here on this blog.

Congratulations again, Elle and Andrew!

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East Lansing, Michigan

Congratulations to Molly J. Good, the new Fenske Fellow for the 2014 – 2015 academic year. Molly is a Ph.D. student in the Department at Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. As a Fenske Fellow, she will be working with her graduate advisor, Dr. Bill Taylor, and Bob Lambe, Executive Secretary of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) on a project regarding fisheries law enforcement, binational governance, and fisheries sustainability.

Congratulations again, Molly! The Fenske community is pleased to have you as a new member!

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2012-2013 Fellow Presents at FW GSO Research Symposium and MIAFS Annual Meeting

Lisa Peterson, the 2012-2013 Fenske Fellow, presented at the GSO Research Symposium on February 21st at the Kellogg Conference Center on MSU’s campus. Her talk, titled “2012-2013 Fenske Fellowship: Structured decision making for decisions about dams” received the best fisheries related presentation award. She quickly followed that up with a presentation at the MIAFS annual meeting in Holland, MI and February 26th.


The 9th Annual Graduate Student Organization Research Symposium program.

2014-2015 Fenske Fellow Application

Applications for the 2014-2015 Janice Lee Fenske Fellowship are due January 20, 2014. The application requirements can be found at:

Fenske Fellowship in the December 2013 issue of Fisheries magazine

Congratulations to 2012-2013 Fenske Fellow, Lisa Peterson, on her recent publication in Fisheries magazine!


Fisheries Magazine

Every day we are faced with decisions. They range from simple choices to intricate, multifaceted issues. Natural resource management is a field where nearly every significant decision is complex. Structured decision making is a way to approach these decisions in a systematic and rational way.When decisions need to be made about resources, making a good decision can save money, avert disasters, and protect fragile environments. Dam management is one of the many complex decisions faced by managers. With the push to restore native species, dam removal has become the focus of many project proposals. However, managers must take into account a variety of conflicting objectives, from aquatic connectivity to preventing the spread of invasive species. It is important to determine which objectives are relevant and to look at the trade-offs and uncertainties in a transparent and organized way. This is where structured decision making can be most useful.

Fenske Fellows Reunite in Little Rock!

At this year’s annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society, Fenske Fellows gathered at The Flying Saucer to share stories, experiences, and great food! After hearing about the research we’ve done, the connections and impacts we’re still making, and the mentorship we continue to receive, it’s safe to say that the Fenske Fellowship experience has enriched our graduate degree programs and has provided us with an opportunity unlike any other! The work we’ve done has been nothing but satisfying, and the support along the way has been wonderful. Although the weather in Little Rock was hot and slimy this year, it didn’t stop us from having a great time!


(From L to R) Dr. Dana Infante, Dr. Abigail Lynch, Marissa Hammond, Lisa Peterson, and Jess Mistak.

Lisa Presents her Fenske Project to the Council of Lake Committees

Lisa Peterson has been working with John Dettmers of the GLFC to develop a structured decision making (SDM) framework for riverine barrier decisions as her Fenske project. The purpose of this framework is to guide managers through a SDM process to make decisions about dams in a transparent and organized way. She presented her work to the Council of Lake Committees (CLC) at the beginning of May. She described the steps of the framework and some of the examples that would be included in the final product. The CLC showed support for her work and looked forward to receiving the finished framework. Following the meeting she received inquiries for more information from managers in the Great Lakes region; she is excited her work is resonating with people!


CLC Meeting Room (you can spot Lisa Peterson presenting in the back of the room!). Photo Credit: Nick Ebinger

New Fenske Fellow 2013-2014 Announced: Congratulations Marissa Hammond!

The 2013-2014 recipient of the Fenske Fellowship is Marissa Hammond. She is a student of Bill Taylor’s and we welcome her to this group of women following in Jan’s legacy. Congratulations Marissa! We look forward to hearing about you and your Fenske project!

Lisa talks with undergraduates at SMU about Jan Fenske and the Fenske Fellowship

On Wednesday, October 10th, Lisa Peterson was the professional development speaker at the biweekly meeting of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) group at Southern Methodist University. She participated via Google+ Hangout and told the students about graduate school, Jan and the Fenske fellowship, and being a woman in the sciences. WISE is an undergraduate student group with members from all four class levels and majors ranging from Mechanical Engineering to Biology.

This was a great opportunity to connect with younger female students and discuss Jan’s legacy. The group was really inspired by Jan’s story and impressed by the opportunities provided by the Fenske Fellowship. They all agreed that building a network of intelligent women with similar interests was a fantastic goal of the Fenske and that it would be good if there were similar opportunities across the country. The students were particularly interested in Lisa’s experiences as a woman in graduate school and asked many questions about what it is like, when they should apply, and what they could expect. Lisa very much enjoyed relaying advice and words of wisdom.

Lisa assists the GLFC at AFS 2012

As one of the first tasks for her Fenske project, Lisa Peterson assisted John Dettmers (her GLFC mentor) and Dale Burkett with a facilitated discussion on aquatic connectivity held at this year’s AFS conference in Minneapolis-St. Paul. At this day and a half meeting they encouraged a diverse set of participants to come and listen to short presentations focused on one aspect of this topic. These aspects included threatened and endangered species, aquatic invasive species, pathogens, contaminants, and fish passage. Short presentations on funding opportunities for aquatic connectivity projects and a basic model for decision support were given as well. Following each presentation, participants were invited to discuss and provide feedback on some of the knowledge gaps, data needs, and decision support tools they identified for this aspect. At the end of the second day, we also had a brainstorming session where participants were asked to think of other topics that may have been missed and the knowledge gaps and data needs associated with those. This was a great opportunity for Lisa to interact with other agency folks and stakeholders, as well as get experience on synthesizing different thoughts and ideas. Lisa also put together an exit survey for participants to fill out as an opportunity both to provide feedback to the facilitators on the process and to include any more ideas they had after the meeting was concluded. The next step is to digest the results from the AFS discussion and present outcomes and thoughts for moving forward to the Council of Lake Committees, which she will be doing at their meeting in October, soliciting further feedback from agency members on the most important next steps.

The end goal of Lisa’s project is to formulate a structured decision making tool to help agencies deal with new proposals for dam removal and modification; hearing all the different views and opinions at this AFS meeting has really highlighted for her the importance of a comprehensive and well-thought-out approach to making decisions pertaining to barrier projects. This is by no means a simple issue, but a tool for organizing all of the objectives and uncertainties will make it more approachable.