Newcomb receives 2022 CANR Outstanding Alumni Award

Tammy Newcomb, Ph.D., will receive the 2022 CANR Outstanding Alumni Award during ANR Week.

Tammy Newcomb, Ph.D.
Tammy Newcomb, Ph.D.

Tammy Newcomb, Ph.D., of Webberville, Michigan, will receive the Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Outstanding Alumni Award at the March 11 ANR Awards Program.

The CANR Outstanding Alumni Awards are given to those who have distinguished themselves by obtaining the highest level of professional accomplishments, and who possess the highest standards of integrity and character.

As an employee of the State of Michigan, she exemplifies public service. She has dedicated her professional life to ensuring the long-term conservation of Michigan’s aquatic and fisheries resources. She was the first female president of the undergraduate Fisheries and Wildlife Club. Tammy received a CANR Leadership Award and Scholarship and was the commencement speaker at the 1990 CANR graduation.

Newcomb earned two degrees from MSU, both a bachelor’s and doctorate in fisheries and wildlife, as well as a master’s degree from West Virginia University. Upon completion of her doctorate, Newcomb joined the faculty at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI). She built a strong research program as evidenced by her publications, research grants — including serving as co-PI on a grant for over $500,000 — and mentoring graduate students.

In 2002, Dr. Newcomb shifted her career focus from academia to a state management agency, when she took a position with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR).

Currently, Newcomb serves as senior water policy advisor for the MDNR and in that role is a member of the department’s executive team. She leads statewide issues for the MDNR such as preventing Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, and coordination of cross departmental issues related to the Great Lakes.  She recently led implementation of a newly created $5 million invasive species program for the State of Michigan and a $1 million innovation challenge on invasive carp.  She began her MDNR career as the Lake Huron Basin coordinator and previously held positions as the acting chief and assistant chief of the Fisheries Division; and as the research program manager for the MDNR Fisheries Division.

Over the past two decades, Newcomb has had a direct impact on fisheries and aquatic systems management in Michigan and the Great Lakes. She has led or coordinated state and multi-state committees tasked to develop strategies to protect the Great Lakes from invasive carp species. She has been the MDNR representative on issues ranging from groundwater withdrawal to the proposed use of aquaculture net pens in the Great Lakes. One of Newcomb’s current focal areas is PFAS contamination.

Her success is evidenced by receiving numerous awards, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civilian Service Commendation Medal in 2021. She also received the 2018 Fisheries Division Chief’s Guiding Light Award, the 2019 Director’s Award for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and both the Governor’s Tribute Recognition and the Director’s Award in 2008 for the Inland Consent Decree. She was also named the 2001 Outstanding Faculty member from the Virginia Tech Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.


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