Lynch receives scholarship named for woman fishing pioneer

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CSIS doctoral student Abigail Lynch has been awarded the American Fisheries Society J Frances Allen Scholarship, which was established to encourage women to become fisheries professionals.

Award recipients will be honored at the society's annual meeting in Little Rock, Ark., on September 8-12.

The award was established in 1986 to honor Allen, who pioneered women’s involvement in the AFS and in the field of fisheries. An AFS story can be found in this magazine.

"Dr. Allen is a true inspiration to me and other female doctoral students," Lynch said. "As a fellow Virginian, I have worked in some of the same environments as Dr. Allen – Chesapeake Bay and Mountain Lake Biological Station. Though the locations have been the same, I imagine my educational and professional environment has been much different than Dr. Allen’s. While I have attended and presented in groups where women are still distinctly in the minority, I have never felt intimidated because of my gender.

"Dr. Allen and other prominent females in fisheries science have paved the way for such equality. I hope to, one day, become such a role model for other women to continue their studies in fisheries and diversify fisheries professions."

A Ph.D candidate in fisheries and wildlife with a dual major in ecology, evolutionary biology, and behavior, and a doctoral specialization in environmental science and public policy, Lynch’s dissertation research focuses on developing a decision-support tool to regulate harvest management strategies for lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) in a changing climate. Lake whitefish support the most economically valuable commercial fishery in the upper Great Lakes and are a sentinel species in the cold water fish community. Climate change has the potential to affect the distribution and abundance of lake whitefish and its fisheries.

Since coming to MSU in 2009, Lynch has published four peer reviewed papers, two guest columns, one book chapter, two co-edited books, and four outreach articles; she has presented at three national conferences and four international conferences; and she has received numerous awards that recognize her excellence in science and policy.

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