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Buncombe County native Allison Bryan won a $3,000 scholarship and the privilege to work this summer with fisheries biologists from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the U.S. Forest Service after being selected to participate in the 2013 Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program sponsored by the American Fisheries Society.
Bryan, who recently completed her senior year at North Buncombe High School, is working with mentors Jacob Rash with the Wildlife Commission and Jason Farmer of the U.S. Forest Service to survey trout populations, monitor water quality and propagate freshwater mussels.
She was one of only 25 students selected from across the country, Mexico and Canada to participate in the Hutton Program, a summer mentoring program for high school students. The program’s goal is to stimulate interest in careers in fisheries science and management among groups underrepresented in the fisheries professions, such as minorities and women.
As a Hutton Program student, Bryan was awarded a $3,000 scholarship and was matched with Rash and Farmer because of their years of experience working in the field, where they have worked on aquatic systems throughout western North Carolina as fisheries biologists.
“As a fisheries biologist, I have had the opportunity to work in the natural resource field for several years,” Rash said. “Those experiences allow me to share insight with Allison regarding the importance of our fisheries management efforts and the techniques we use to achieve our goals.”
Bryan began work on June 1 and will complete the program on Aug. 16. After her summer stint, Bryan will attend North Carolina State University and major in environmental engineering.
According to AFS, the final reports of students and mentors who have participated in the Hutton Program show that students benefit substantially from their summer mentoring experience. For most students, the Hutton Program is their first exposure to a professional work setting where they learn what qualities are necessary to be successful in that environment and the importance of being able to function well as part of a team. The students gain an awareness of conservation issues and the importance of healthy aquatic systems; participate in projects that benefit habitat restoration, protection, and management; gain an understanding of what is involved in being a fisheries biologist; and learn about career opportunities in the field.
For more information about the Hutton Program, visit the American Fisheries Society webpage, http://www.fisheries.org. For more information on fishing in public, inland waters, visit the Fishing page.