Shimano Varsity Program scholarships awarded to 10 students

LADSON, S.C. — With colleges gearing up to start their fall semester, 10 students can now plan on financial assistance from Shimano, in conjunction with B.A.S.S. Conservation, to assist with tuition and other associated school expenses. As part of its ‘Varsity Program’ aimed at high school and college anglers, Shimano has announced 10 scholarship winners, including three graduate students, four undergraduates and three recent high school graduates.

Now in its fourth year, the Shimano ‘Varsity Program’ scholarships are a key initiative of Shimano’s program to assist high school and college students in pursuing degrees in various conservation, fisheries and wildlife sciences and management fields. “Our mission is being accomplished in helping students enter these important fields of studies, where a few of our past winners are already working for state DNR agencies and marine fisheries labs.” Each of the 10 winners receive $1,000 to be used for tuition, textbooks and living expenses.

The graduate student winners include:

  • Derek Kane from Lincoln, Nebraska, who was also awarded a Shimano scholarship last year and is a University of Nebraska graduate student whose thesis focuses on modeling fishing pressure to help managers.
  • Ethan Brandt from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, another past winner and a graduate student studying Fisheries Sciences at the University of Wisconsin/Stevens Point. His thesis focuses on the factors affecting walleye angling recruitment failure.
  • Nathan Thompson from Auburn, Alabama, and an Auburn University graduate student whose thesis work is on the distribution of redeye bass in the Tallapoosa River.

Undergraduate winners already pursuing their degrees include:

  • Morgan Noffsinger from Interlochen, Michigan, also a 2019 Shimano scholarship winner, attending Michigan State University with future plans for a career with the Michigan DNR, the National Park Service or NOAA.
  • Kyle Svachula from Niles, Illinois, another past winner attending the University of Wisconsin/Stevens Point studying fisheries science. His career goal is to work for a Great Lakes area state or federal fisheries agency.
  • Wyatt Sipple from Patriot, Ohio, a second-year scholarship winner studying wildlife conservation at the University of Rio Grande in southeast Ohio.
  • Jared Sparks from Rogersville, Arkansas, who is studying Environmental Biology at the University of North Alabama and who wants to work for the Tennessee Valley Authority’s conservation division.

Recent 2020 high school graduate winners include:

  • Ryan Baker from Holladay, Tennessee, who will be studying natural resources management at the University of Tennessee-Martin.
  • Garrett McDowell from Enid, Oklahoma, attending Oklahoma State University where his focus will be on natural resources ecology and management.
  • Gabriel Schmidt from Fall Creek, Wisconsin, who will be studying fisheries and aquatic biology at Bemidji State University.

“Seeing past Shimano scholarship winners earning the honor again shows that they have a true passion for our great outdoors,” said B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland. “We can expect these students to be future leaders in natural resources and fisheries/wildlife management.”

Shimano’s Varsity Program also helps young anglers learn about fishing tackle and techniques, provides industry networking opportunities at Shimano ‘Career Seminar’ events and stresses the role anglers have in fishing conservation and advocacy.

For more information about the ‘Shimano Varsity’ program, visit the program’s information page on the Shimano website at Shimano Varsity Program.

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