LADSON, S.C. – The future within the ranks of natural resources and fisheries management professionals looks bright, at least when you know the backgrounds and career goals of the 2018 Shimano/B.A.S.S. Nation College Scholarship winners. The nine winners were notified of the $3,000 awards this past week. It was extra special for Virginia Tech junior Cantley Krafft from Radford, Va. since he heard the good news of his scholarship while competing in the 2018 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship.
Along with Krafft who gained fisheries experience as a biological technician for VA Tech’s Center of Aquatic Technology Transfer, the other winners include:
Charly Hope Crosby (Rock Hill, S.C.) who when not involved with her wildlife and fisheries studies at Clemson University, enjoys fishing for bass and tarpon.
Hunter Hatcher (originally from Spotsylvania, Va.) who earned a degree in fisheries from Virginia Tech and is pursuing his Masters at Mississippi State University, while still finding time for competitive collegiate bass fishing.
Kevin Lambert (Cape Girardeau, Mo.), now a graduate student in natural sciences and biology at Southeast Missouri University after earning a degree from West Virginia University, and who enjoys fishing for a wide range of species including bass and sunfish, along with apex predators like musky and sharks.
Peter Leonard (Russellville, Ark.) who is working on MS degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences at Arkansas Sate University and has been involved in numerous projects focused on sauger in Arkansas and salmon and northern pike in Alaska.
Summer Lindelien (Gainesville, Fla.), a University of Wisconsin-Superior graduate and now a graduate research student at the University of Florida, where she has done seasonal research work at the Gainesville Freshwater Fisheries Research office.
Stephen Stang (Bluemont, Va.), currently majoring in fish conservation at Virginia Tech where he is a member of its bass team, and already has fisheries experience with the Paint Bank State Trout Hatcher in Virginia, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
Riley Kilpatrick (Athens, Ala.), a recent graduate of Athens High School and a member of its bass fishing team who will major in biology with a concentration in environmental science at the University of South Alabama this coming fall.
Cody Salzman (White Hall, Ark.) earned a Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point and is currently working on an MS in Fisheries and Aquaculture at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff. He has worked with walleye, trout and Asian carp but spends his free time casting for black bass as the President of the UAPB fishing Team.
A key initiative of the Shimano Varsity Program in promoting conservation, the Shimano/B.A.S.S. Nation scholarships “help recruit students who already enjoy fishing and understand the importance of conservation efforts through their involvement with B.A.S.S. to pursue a college degree in natural resource professions,” said Phil Morlock, Vice President for Government Affairs/Advocacy at Shimano. “As a leader in the sportfishing business, we join our friends at B.A.S.S. in addressing the critical decline in professional natural resource managers who fish, all in hopes that the future of the recreational fishing industry is based on sustainable use and proper management of our public lands and waters.”
An expert panel in fisheries conservation selected the scholarship winners, including Shimano’s Morlock, B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland, and Chris Horton with the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation. There were scholarships available to both current college students and graduating high school seniors in both the U.S. and Canada.
“This year we had over 30 applicants for these scholarships and it was a very difficult task to narrow the field down to the nine that were chosen,” said Gilliland. “Based on the response we saw to this scholarship program, I think state and federal agencies will soon be able to recruit future fishery managers who really understand not only the biology, but the customer – the anglers who use the resource, because these students are anglers themselves.”
More information on the ‘Shimano Varsity’ program can be found at http://varsity.shimano.com.