Females in Fisheries conservation scholarships awarded

Madeline Lewis (left) and Noel Schmitz were awarded the annual Noreen Clough Memorial Scholarships for Females in Fisheries.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The sixth annual Noreen Clough Memorial Scholarships for Females in Fisheries have been awarded to Iowa State University student Madeline Lewis and Noel Schmitz, who is studying at Ohio State 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 distinguished career was dedicated to the conservation and management of fish and wildlife. Clough passed away in January 2015. As a tribute, friends and colleagues established an endowment to provide a scholarship for female students working toward a career in fisheries conservation. 

This year there were 19 applicants from across the United States and Canada who exemplified what Clough hoped to see in future fishery scientists. From that strong field, the review committee selected Lewis and Schmitz.

Madeline Lewis received her master’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Management at Montana State University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Fisheries Biology at Iowa State University. Her current research involves evaluating population and movement dynamics of walleye and muskellunge in two reservoirs in Iowa to better understand how escapement, natural mortality and harvest mortality regulate sport fish populations. Lewis plans on graduating in spring 2025 and hopes to pursue a career as a state or federal research biologist.

Noel Schmitz’s thesis research is focused on climate-change-induced stressors, such as increased water temperature and hypoxia, impacting predator-prey interactions between smallmouth bass and invasive round gobies in the western basin of Lake Erie. She will be working on this project next summer as well to complete her master’s degree at the Ohio State University in December 2023. After finishing school, Schmitz plans to move home to Wisconsin to begin a career as a fisheries biologist with a natural resource agency.

Gene Gilliland, B.A.S.S. Conservation Director noted, “Both of these young women have a bright future in fisheries, but in addition to their academic strengths, they stood out from many of the other applicants because they were avid anglers.” 

Gordon Robertson, retired Vice President of Government Affairs for the American Sportfishing Association and a long-time colleague of Noreen’s added, “Noreen put a high value on lessons learned from recreational fishing from both a resource understanding and appreciation perspective but also from a perspective of understanding anglers and how they think and react to resource and social issues.”

Lewis and Schmitz will each be awarded a $1,000 scholarship as well as a certificate from the Southern Division American Fisheries Society Black Bass Conservation Committee.

A request for proposals for 2023 scholarships will be posted on Bassmaster.com next spring and circulated to colleges and universities across North America that have fisheries science programs.