BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The American Fisheries Society Black Bass Conservation Committee and B.A.S.S. have awarded the fifth annual Noreen Clough Memorial Scholarships for Females in Fisheries to AnaSara Gillem, of Andalusia, Ala., a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and Shaley Valentine, of Hudsonville, Mich., a doctoral student at Southern Illinois University.
Noreen Clough blazed many trails in the field of fisheries. As the first female regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and later as the B.A.S.S. Conservation Director, her long and distinguished career was dedicated to the conservation and management of fish and wildlife. Clough passed away in January 2015 from pancreatic cancer. As a tribute to her, friends and colleagues established an endowment to provide a scholarship for female students working toward a career in fisheries conservation.
AnaSara Gillem.jpg“Noreen’s passion for conservation and the importance of recreational fishing is inspiring, and I am honored to represent her legacy,” said Gillem. “This scholarship helps me continue pursuing my goal of making a difference in the field of fisheries by protecting and advocating for sportfish species.”
Gillem started fishing farm ponds in Alabama with her father at an early age and quickly developed a love for fishing and fisheries science. While obtaining her fisheries degree at Auburn University, Gillem worked as a research technician with a lab that focused on black bass conservation and management. This time allowed her to expand her understanding of fishery techniques and gain valuable experience in a variety of field settings dealing with anglers and landowners. Gillem’s current research focuses on walleye and yellow perch recruitment in northern Wisconsin lakes in order to improve management and angling opportunities. After completing her master’s degree, Gillem hopes to continue a fisheries career as a biologist in a Southeastern state agency.
Shaley Valentine.jpgValentine’s family vacations revolved around fishing, and she continues that tradition through kayak fishing trips and teaching friends how to fish. At Southern Illinois University Valentine is researching 12 different species in the Mississippi River as a surrogate for the entire fish community to better understand where fish are born, migratory patterns, resources usage and how these patterns differ across the river. One specific area of focus is how the prey and habitat use of largemouth bass and bowfin differ.
“Largemouth are well-known, but anglers know much less about and have an animosity toward bowfin, so I am trying to compare the ecology of both species to better understand and bring awareness of them to anglers and fisheries managers,” explained Valentine.
In addition to her research, Valentine creates aquatic resource outreach programs and discusses her scientific career path, research and passion for fisheries with K-12 students. Her goal is to conduct research at an agency that promotes equal access to natural resources and allows her the freedom to mentor students to become fisheries professionals.
“Recreational fishing provided a strong foundation for my career,” said Valentine. “Because I am both a fisheries scientist and an angler who benefits from management, I have an enhanced understanding of the end goals and broader impacts of my own research.”
Gillem and Valentine will each be awarded a $1,000 scholarship to be used for college expenses.
B.A.S.S., which encompasses the Bassmaster tournament leagues, events and media platforms, is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 515,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), TV show, radio show, social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship, Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series powered by TourneyX, Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup Championship presented by Skeeter and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk.