September 12, 2019

2019 Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC Scholarship Recipients

Since 2008, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has awarded over $66,000 in scholarships to 39 students. The scholarships recognize outstanding commitment to academic pursuits in the field of freshwater fisheries. Here are this year’s scholarship winners:

Chenoa Flack

Thanks to a childhood spent exploring B.C. with my family, my appreciation for sport fishing and outdoor recreation began at an early age. My interests and hobbies have continued to gravitate back to the outdoors despite my laboratory-based education. These interests are what have driven me towards integrating my passions into meaningful work with B.C.’s fisheries.

I grew up in Chilliwack, B.C., but my heart belongs to the Thompson-Nicola region. Following my graduation from Thompson Rivers University with a BSc. in Chemical Biology, I volunteered with a wildlife rehabilitation centre while working in veterinary medicine. This experience with wildlife soon led me to BCIT’s Fish, Wildlife, and Recreation program, with hopes of working in conservation afterwards. My aspirations changed direction once again as I discovered the wonderful world of fish ecology in my first year.

I look forward to combining my genetics background with skills from my current program to find a career in sustainability and fish population health. I am honoured and grateful for Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC’s assistance in continuing my education in such a rewarding field.
Mark Frisson

I grew up in Comox B.C. and have been hunting and fishing since a young age. At a very early age I gained an appreciation for the unique and diverse natural resources we have here in British Columbia. I enjoy all the great fishing and hunting opportunities in B.C. I spend most of my free time fishing the east and west coast of the Island for salmon in the summer, hunting for black tail deer in the fall, and chasing winter steelhead across Vancouver Island in the winter months.

Late in elementary school I knew I wanted to pursue a career that would help protect and preserve our unique resources, particularly Pacific salmonids. I geared all my high school courses towards the sciences with the hopes of being accepted into the BSc Fisheries and Aquaculture program at Vancouver Island University (VIU).  I am currently entering my third year of the BSc in Fisheries and Aquaculture at VIU and the Freshwater Fisheries Society scholarship will help in the completion of the program. I am honored to receive this scholarship and would like to thank the Freshwater Fisheries Society of British Columbia.

Kaitlyn O'Neill

I grew up in northwestern Ontario, spending many summers fishing for lake trout at our family cabin near Kenora, Ontario. I have always loved the aquatic environment, and knew that I would like to work in this field.  I graduated in 2013 from the University of Guelph with an Environmental Science degree. My summer job during those undergraduate years was as an assistant aquatic biologist, conducting research with the Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Our aim was to better understand the effects of forestry on the aquatic environment. That job really sparked my interest in aquatic biology and defined my education and career path.

I am starting the second year of my Masters in Ecological Restoration, which is a joint program between the British Columbia Institute of Technology and Simon Fraser University. I have been conducting my Masters research on the Tsolum River this summer, with the aim of identifying groundwater/surface water interactions using temperature loggers. Identifying, protecting, and restoring critical thermal refugia for salmonids will be especially important in the face of our changing climate. I am interested in stream temperatures and flows, and would like to continue to study ways in which we can mitigate changes that will adversely affect fish health. I am incredibly grateful to have been awarded a Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC Scholarship, since this will help me further my studies in freshwater fisheries and ecological restoration. 
Katie Zinn

From a young age I knew I wanted to work with fish. I grew up in Coquitlam and was fortunate enough to spend my summers on the Sunshine Coast—that is where I learned that I had an affinity for fish.

I pursued a B.Sc. in Natural Resource Conservation at UBC’s Faculty of Forestry. During the second year of my B.Sc. I volunteered in the Pacific Salmon Ecology and Conservation Lab and worked as a wildfire fighter in the Kootenays throughout the summer. In the Kootenays, I was introduced to and fell in love with fly fishing. 

Fishing in the ocean and in freshwater have resulted in my passion for fish and my decision to pursue a M.Sc. last spring. I am studying freshwater fish ecology, specifically the effects of reduced streamflow on hypoxia and habitat use of endangered Salish sucker. As juvenile Coho salmon are also found in these habitats, I am studying the effects of hypoxia on them as well.

I feel extremely fortunate to be offered this award while I continue my graduate studies at UBC, with hopes of continuing to study salmon after completing my M.Sc.

Authors: Chenoa Flack, Mark Frisson, Kaitlyn O'Neill, Katie Zinn
Photos: Chenoa Flack, Mark Frisson, Kaitlyn O'Neill, Katie Zinn.