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Michael G. Scott Award Winners

Kaitlyn O’Brien

photo of Kaitlyn O'Brien

2017 Recipient

I am honored to have received the Michael G. Scott award. I am truly thankful to all the excellent professors, faculty, and fellow students of the Humboldt State University Fisheries Department. The sense of community in this department made my college experience more enjoyable and made California less frightening for a Colorado native.

While I have many wonderful memories of my time at HSU, two major attributes of this program have shaped me as a student and a hopeful fisheries scientist. One was the diversity of classes offered in the marine fisheries program. As a freshman, I was determined to work only on the biology and ecology of fishes, but a multitude of courses, particularly Dr. Andre Buchheister’s Fisheries Population Dynamics course, helped me realize the importance of understanding and analyzing the bigger picture. The classes here helped me discover passions that would have been unknown without the aid of the distinguished fisheries faculty. The second experience that shaped my time here was my work outside the classroom on the Marine Protect Areas of northern California. Thanks to Dr. Timothy Mulligan and a multitude of amazing graduate students I assisted on two MPA projects and gained valuable field experience. Not only did this time working on the MPA help solidify my love of field work, but it also furthered my understanding of statistical data analysis and prompted my first conference presentation at the American Fisheries Society Conference in the spring of 2017.

For my immediate future, I am happy to announce that I will be continuing my education at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and fulfilling my childhood dream of working with sharks as I will be assessing data limited chondrichthian stocks along the Atlantic coast. I hope to one day work for a federal organization, such as the National Marine Fisheries Services, on the protection and monitoring of valuable commercial and recreational species. I could not be more appreciative to the HSU Fisheries Department for the experiences and knowledge bestowed on me in my four years here. I truly do not know where I would be without this great community!

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