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Pennsylvania American Fisheries Society Meeting at Juniata

Stephanie Letourneau
-Stephanie Letourneau ’20 , Environmental Science POE, Dimpled, outdoor loving, MD girl, pursuing passions

Juniata College hosted the Pennsylvania American Fisheries Society (AFS) Chapter’s 2020 Technical Meeting on February 6th and 7th. What is AFS you might be wondering? According to the website, it is “the world’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to strengthening the fisheries profession, advancing fisheries science, and conserving fisheries resources”. One of our professors at Juniata in the Environmental Science Department, Dr. George Merovich, is the President Elect for the PA AFS Chapter and helped plan this meeting. In addition, Dr. Merovich is the advisor for our student American Fisheries Society club on campus. This year I serve as treasurer for the club.

I was excited to be able to participate in the meeting by presenting my research from my internship over the summer at the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Virginia. The first day was full of speakers and research presentations from professionals, academics, and students. After my class was over that morning, I headed over to Ellis Ballroom to begin soaking up information. I walked in when Marc L. Yergin from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History was presenting on freshwater sponges.

My presentation was briefly after lunch. I have had a lot of practice presenting since I have given this same presentation many times prior, but I was nervous to present in front of my friends and two of my professors. I went up there and gave one of my best presentations ever. It enjoyed the experience and people asked great questions at the end.

That evening, the poster session was from 6pm-9pm. I went back to the meeting late because I had cheerleading practice. I gobbled up my dinner and ran up to the ballroom to socialize and enjoy the posters. At the end of the evening, they began announcing student awards. When announcing best student presentation, the chapter President, Dr. Greg Moyer, asked, “Is Letourneau still here?” and my eyes grew big. That was the LAST thing I was expecting. There I was, accepting an award, sweaty in my practice clothes, and looking completely unprofessional. I apologized profusely and they assured me it was alright, and my award was well deserved. I was floored by the circumstances, but honored that I was chosen.

The next day, participants had the choice of four different workshops in the morning. I attended the workshops: “Begin using R” and “Cyprinid ID”. Not only were these informative, but I was also able to network with other participants.

All in all, it was a successful meeting and I am humbled I was able to attend and receive such an honor.