BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — B.A.S.S. and Shimano have partnered to award the inaugural Helen Sevier Pioneer Scholarships to Elizabeth Eastman of Fairhope, Ala., and Dixie Morris of Valley, Ala. These scholarships not only honor Sevier’s leadership and long-term vision for the growth of sportfishing, but also recognize the efforts of young female anglers as they pursue fishing at the collegiate level.
“Shimano is thrilled to support Elizabeth and Dixie in their future ambition as anglers,” said Sarah Harper Burke, senior marketing manager, Shimano North America Fishing. “They are exemplary young women who are claiming their space within the fishing industry. We applaud their drive and encourage their pursuit of taking their fishing to the next level.”
Eastman, who is entering her senior year at Fairhope High School, grew up fishing the biodiverse Mobile-Tensaw Delta with her dad and sister. She plans to attend Louisiana State University, where she will compete on the fishing team while pursuing a degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture. In addition to a Top 15 finish at the 2022 Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation High School State Championship and serving as treasurer for her fishing team, Eastman is also active in dance, archery team, art club, marine life club, Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America and was named a National Archery in the Schools Program Academic Archer.
“Winning this scholarship connects me to some amazing women,” said Eastman. “It gives me a sense of support that will help me push through any barrier I may encounter. It also creates a sense of obligation to carry on the legacy that Helen Sevier started.”
Morris is a freshman on the Southern Union Community College Bison Fishing Team with plans to complete a pre-veterinary bachelor’s degree at Auburn University before veterinary school and a master’s degree. Morris had the initial idea to start her high school’s fishing team, the Valley Bass Team, and earned Top Angler (along with her teammate) three times while also helping to grow the team. Morris lives on the Chattahoochee River, with West Point Lake and Lake Harding providing other rich “home waters” for family fishing excursions. In addition to fishing, Morris is active in 4-H, Future Farmers of America and National Honor Society, an award winner in the SkillsUSA program and earned a Bronze Award from Girl Scouts.
“Winning the Helen Sevier Pioneer Scholarship has meant so much to me,” said Morris. “I was already looking forward to fishing on the Southern Union fishing team, but now I am even more excited because this helps to show women and young girls that they can achieve great things in a male-dominated sport. This has really encouraged me to step out and try for more scholarships and things that seemed unachievable.
“I want to thank B.A.S.S. and Shimano for choosing me for this award. I also want to thank Helen Sevier for making the pathway for the entire sportfishing industry.”
Sevier, the second full-time member of B.A.S.S. hired by founder Ray Scott in 1970, was a pioneer at all levels of the organization. During her 31-year career at B.A.S.S., Sevier oversaw a boom in membership as well as the expansion of Bassmaster’s media operation to include seven magazines and two television shows. Sevier was also instrumental in recruiting young people to the sport through the innovative CastingKids program. In 2004, Sevier was inducted into the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, and her induction into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame came in 2018.
Both Eastman and Morris earned a $2,500 scholarship.