BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The American Fisheries Society Black Bass Conservation Committee and B.A.S.S. are proud to announce the winners of the 2021 Noreen Clough Memorial Scholarship for Females in Fisheries.
AnaSara Gillem started fishing farm ponds in Alabama with her farther at an early age and quickly developed a love for fishing and fisheries science. While obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Fisheries at Auburn University, Gillem worked as a research technician with a lab that focused on black bass conservation and management.
Gillem's time at Auburn allowed her to expand her understanding of fishery techniques and gain valuable experience in a variety of field settings dealing with anglers and landowners, including time as a creel clerk. “I realized (while interviewing anglers) how important being an angler myself was to help me connect with them.”
She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Natural Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where her research focuses on walleye recruitment. Knowledge gained from her study will allow the Wisconsin DNR to better manage recreational walleye fisheries. After completing her M.S. degree, she plans to continue a fisheries career as a biologist in a southeastern state agency.
Shaley Valentine’s family vacations revolved around fishing, and she continues that tradition through kayak fishing trips and teaching friends how to fish. In applying for the Noreen Clough Scholarship, Shaley said, “Recreational fishing provided a strong foundation for my career. 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.”
Shaley is a Ph.D. student at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale where she is studying both short- and long-term habitat and prey use of a variety of species including largemouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill, channel catfish and their prey in the Mississippi River. This research is part of a collaborative project with other agencies and universities to understand fish throughout the river.
In addition to her research, Shaley creates aquatic resource outreach programs and discusses her scientific career path, research and passion for fisheries with K-12 students. Her career goal is to conduct research at an agency that fosters collaboration, promotes equal access to natural resources, tailors research to fit the needs of constituents and allows her freedom to mentor students to become passionate and determined fisheries professionals.