MSU women win recognition from fish and wildlife organizations

For the second year in a row, a Michigan State University (MSU) woman has received the Janice Lee Fenske Memorial Award from the Wildlife Society and the American Fisheries Society.

February 13, 2016

Jessica Mistak, American Fisheries Society; Tracy Swem, MSU; David Williams, Michigan Chapter of the Wildlife Society

For the second year in a row, a Michigan State University (MSU) woman has received the Janice Lee Fenske Memorial Award from the Wildlife Society and the American Fisheries Society. 

Tracy Swem, a doctoral student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, received the award at the annual Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference in January. Swem is studying climate change adaptation and wildlife in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula through the Applied Forest and Wildlife Ecology Lab at MSU.

Last year’s winner was Rebecca Blundell, an undergraduate in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, who also works in the Applied Forest and Wildlife Ecology Lab.

Swem’s advisor is Gary Roloff, an associate professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

“Tracy leads by example, is unshaken by flattery or criticism, possesses a spirit of humility and puts others before herself,” Roloff said. “She encourages her colleagues and has been a valuable mentor to my new graduate students and the undergraduates who work in my lab. Her commitment to wildlife conservation includes active participation with The Wildlife Society at all levels, from state to national, which is an important criterion of the Fenske Award.”

Swem and another graduate student created and launched MSU’s first study abroad trip to Fiji, titled “A Fragile Fiji: Integrating Ecosystems and Human Dimensions in the Face of Climate Change.”

“Being recognized for an award that memorializes Jan Fenske is such an immeasurable honor,” Swem said. “Not because of a plaque or a scholarship, but because fellow natural resource practitioners felt me worthy to be associated with her name. 

“Jan was a true hero -- a pioneer in her field, passionate, unwavering and positive – the type of person that carries a profession by raising up the people around her

Blundell agreed.

“Receiving this award last year was one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had,” said Blundell, who will graduate in May. After graduation, she will headto northern Iceland to continue participating in a long-term environmental biology project studying the population dynamics of midges in Lake Mývatn.

The Janice Lee Fenske Memorial Award recognizes undergraduate and graduate students for their achievements in the fields of fisheries or wildlife management. Winners are selected on the basis of their enthusiasm to protect fisheries and wildlife resources through management activities, selflessness and motivation to teach others, interest in professional involvement, integrity, positive attitude and compassion.

Two winners are recognized in the categories of fisheries and wildlife each year and receive $500 scholarships.

 

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