Diversity and Inclusion Awards

We wish to congratulate the recipients of the 2021 Diversity and Inclusion awards, Cheryl Barnes and Taylor Preul. Both recipients have demonstrated leadership in promoting diversity and inclusion in fisheries, and their service has supported involvement in fisheries-related activities by those who are from underrepresented identities. We thank you for your dedication to this worthy endeavor.

Diversity & Inclusion Service Award
Cheryl Barnes

Cheryl Barnes (she | her) is originally from California, where she earned a BS in biology from San Diego State University and an MS in marine science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. She moved to Alaska at the start of 2015 (first Juneau, then Sitka, and finally Anchorage) to complete a PhD in fisheries from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She now resides in coastal Oregon, where she works as a postdoctoral scholar associated with the University of Washington and NOAA Fisheries. Cheryl is generally interested in conducting research that informs marine resource management. Much of her work has focused on better understanding population and community dynamics of groundfishes in the North Pacific. Currently, she uses statistical models to evaluate biological and ecological responses to rapidly changing conditions in Alaskan waters.

Apart from fish, Cheryl is passionate about enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM. Wholeheartedly believing in the power of visibility, she shares that she is a first generation college student from a working class family and identifies as queer. Cheryl strives to bring her authentic self into her work and is committed to dissolving barriers to participation in the fisheries field. As part of these efforts, she serves as a member of the Western Division AFS Diversity & Inclusion Committee and as chair of the Alaska Chapter AFS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.


Diversity & Inclusion Mentorship Award
Taylor Preul

Taylor Preul (she | her) is originally from northern Wisconsin, and she earned her B.S. in Biology-Ecology from Northern Michigan University in 2017. Throughout her undergraduate career, she was involved in multiple diversity and equity projects while participating in student government. She has worked as an intern for the National Park Service (NPS) in Sleeping Bear Dunes, a technician for NPS in Yellowstone National Park, and a technician for Montana State University (MSU) on the Madison River. She began her M.S. program in Fisheries Management at MSU in 2018, and her research focuses on identifying phenotypic traits that may predict hatchery performance of westslope cutthroat trout. She plans to defend her thesis in Fall 2021. She has been involved with the American Fisheries Society throughout her graduate career and currently serves as President of the MSU student sub-unit. As President, she has focused on updating the organizational procedures to be equitable and inclusive and highlighting diversity and inclusion during activities and as reflected on the sub-unit’s website. After graduation, she plans to pursue doctoral research that incorporates human dimensions, environmental history, and/or political ecology.


Information on the Diversity & Inclusion awards presented by Western Division Diversity and Inclusion Committee:

Diversity & Inclusion Service Award – This award is presented to an AFS Western Division member who has demonstrated service to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in fisheries. The purpose of this award is to celebrate every day, unsung heroes who dedicate their time and passion to supporting participation and engagement among those who are underrepresented in fisheries. Nominees are scored for demonstration of their service to diversity and inclusion within AFS, their workplace or academic setting (for students), and their community and other groups not associated with AFS or their workplace, especially towards promoting involvement in fisheries and science.

Diversity & Inclusion Mentorship Award – This award is presented to a student or early career professional who is interested in further developing their diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership skills, especially towards promoting involvement in fisheries. Nominees are scored based on their interests and/or experience in fisheries, AFS, leadership, and supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage nominations for individuals who belong to underrepresented groups in fisheries, and AFS membership is not a required prerequisite. The award recipient will receive up to $1000 (USD) for meeting registration, participation in continuing education workshops, travel costs, and one year of AFS membership (if needed) to attend any meeting sponsored by the American Fisheries Society (e.g., chapter, Western Division, or national meeting) during the award year. For the duration of the year, the award recipient will receive mentorship by Diversity and Inclusion Committee members towards development and accomplishment of leadership goals supporting diversity and inclusion.

To nominate someone for either Diversity & Inclusion award, please write a one to two page summary of the contributions and accomplishments of the nominee, noting specifically how they align with the award for which they are being nominated. Self-nominations and peer-nominations are encouraged for both awards. We will follow up with nominees to request a CV or resume for additional information for scoring.

Please send your nomination materials to [email protected] by February 1, 2022. If you have any questions about these awards, please contact us at [email protected]. Award recipients will be announced no later than March 1, 2022.


Past Award Winners

Cheyenne Owens – Service Award
Karli Tyance – D&I Mentorship Award
Dr. Zach Penney – Service Award
Jesse Gordon – D&I Mentorship Award