Diversity and Inclusion Committee

The Western Division of the American Fisheries Society (WDAFS) Diversity and Inclusion Committee was established in 2017 and is currently composed of 21 members. Making any organization more inclusive requires commitment to learning, self-awareness, and openness to hear and support others. Please join us on this journey by participating in training opportunities, learning through these resources how diversity enhances society and science and how multiple viewpoints offer a fuller understanding of everything, and taking actions to support diversity. 

“Just as ecosystems need biodiversity to thrive, society needs cultural diversity to grow new possibilities. Monoculture deadens our collective potential.” Favianna Rodriguez in Harnessing Cultural Power

There is that great proverb — that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. Chinua Achebe, 1994 interview


To increase the participation and equitable treatment of members of the WDAFS, and further, to identify, recommend, and implement diversity and inclusion initiatives that benefit the fisheries profession. 


If you would like to become involved or provide recommendations on how we can improve, please contact Committee Co-chairs Laura Slater and Emily Chen at diversityinclusion@wdafs.org.


  • Develop and support initiatives that address leadership actions identified by AFS Equal Opportunities Section (EOS) in 2020, namely governance, membership, outreach and recruitment, affinity and support, education and training, equity and access, representation, and conferences, as well as the themes strategic planning and visibility.
  • Develop connections with the Society, Sections, Committees, Chapters, and Subunits to share information and collaborate on areas of overlap.

Accomplishments and Ongoing Work

  • Supported Western Division by responding to diversity, equity, and inclusion needs identified by leadership and membership.
  • Compiled resources on diversity and inclusion, which we will continue to promote and curate in collaboration with AFS Equal Opportunities Section and AFS Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
  • Developed and annually administered a Diversity and Inclusion Service Award and a Diversity and Inclusion Mentorship Travel Grant recognizing service and interest in leading with inclusion. 
  • Supported and shared successes in diversity and inclusion during WD Annual Meetings. 
    • 2021 Implicit Bias Training as Continuing Education, organized by Laurie Earley
    • 2021 Symposium “Diversity, inclusion, and equity: informing and adapting our approach to conducting and communicating fisheries science”, organized by Natasha Wingerter
    • 2021 D&I Contributor to WD Annual Meeting planning, including coordinating affinity group events, Cheryl Barnes
    • 2020 Virtual Spring Meeting plenary talk, “The Science Selfie: How to reframe your elevator speech to address social stereotypes, Natasha Wingerter
    • 2020 Symposium “Diversity and inclusion: crossing boundaries and navigating intersections of fisheries research and practice”, organized by Anna Lavoie (meeting was canceled)
    • 2020 D&I Contributor to WD Annual Meeting planning, including development of a Dependent Care Grant, Troy Baker (meeting was canceled)
    • 2019 Poster presentation “A Rising Tide: Engaging the AFS Community on Diversity and Inclusion”, Bekki Waskovich, Emily Klein, Larissa Lee, Cheyenne Owens, and Anna Lavoie 
    • 2018 Symposium “Turning the Tide: Enhancing Diversity and Inclusion in the Fisheries Profession”, organized by Cheyenne Owens and Larissa Lee
    • 2018 Oral presentation “Introducing the Western Division Diversity and Inclusion Committee”, Cheyenne Owens and Larissa Lee
  • Ensured policies reflect fair and equitable treatment of members. 
  • Performed voluntary survey of membership demographics and experiences during the 2018 WD Annual Meeting and reported findings during the 2019 WD Annual Meeting. 
  • Developed connections with AFS Equal Opportunities Section, AFS D&I Committee, AFS Membership Committee, WD Chapters, and WD Student Representative to share information and collaborate on areas of overlap.
  • Increased visibility of diversity and inclusion efforts by sharing successes in the WD newsletter and website.  
  • Coordinated with tribal fisheries programs, non-profit programs, and diversity-minded organizations to learn, collaborate, and strengthen our DEI initiatives.
  • Researched fundraising opportunities for funds that would support training, social or mentorship events, and other initiatives. 

Opportunities to Get Involved

  • Join our Committee
  • Support efforts at your Chapter, including:
    • Alaska’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC)
    • California – Nevada’s Outreach and Diversity Committee
    • Colorado – Wyoming’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee 
    • Oregon’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion External Committee
  • If you are seeking a mentor or would like to serve as a mentor to others, please let us know; we will do our best to match you with someone based on your personal identities and professional interests.