2017 Estuaries Section Elections

The Estuaries Section is fortunate to have excellent candidates for our Officer elections. Section members will receive electronic ballots in April. Elected officers will be installed at our 2017 business meeting in Tampa, FL. and will serve a 2 year term. Following are candidate statements from President-Elect candidate Catherine Johnston, Secretary candidate Geoffrey Smith, Secretary candidate Jim Vasslides, and Treasurer candidate Konstantine Rountos.

Position: President-Elect
Candidate: Catherine Johnston

Educational Background:
B.A. Bowdoin College (2012)
M.S. in Marine Biology, University of Maine (graduated August 2016; thesis “Shortnose Sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) Spawning Potential in the Penobscot River, Maine: Considering Dam Removals and Emerging Threats”)

Current Employer/Student Status:
Fish Biologist, Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Lodi, California

Please describe how you have been involved with AFS in general and with the Estuaries Section in particular:
I joined AFS in 2015, when I was a graduate student at the University of Maine in the School of Marine Sciences. At the same time, I joined the Education, Marine, and Estuaries Sections. In the summer of 2015, I received the Estuaries Section Student Travel Award to attend the annual meeting in Portland, OR. While in Portland, I went to the joint Estuaries and Marine Sections meeting and learned more about the Estuaries Section’s activities and members. I wrote an article for the Winter 2015 Estuaries Section newsletter and helped review applications for the 2016 Estuaries Section Student Travel Award. As a graduate student, I was also active in the University of Maine Student Subunit of AFS and served as secretary from 2015 to 2016. During my time in the Student Subunit, I helped organize many local outreach activities, skills workshops, and two local 5k “Spawning Run” races.

What goals do you have for the Estuaries Section in the next two years?
As the President-Elect, I would be excited to assist the rest of the executive committee with all the Estuaries Section’s activities, from organizing symposia at the annual AFS meetings to producing content for the website and newsletter. As someone working in the San Francisco Estuary, I’d hope to strengthen the Estuaries Section’s presence in my region. Estuarine health is a significant concern in the area, with a large volume of work done about estuaries, and this could be better represented in the Section with greater involvement from people in the area. As an early career scientist who just recently completed graduate school, I think my perspective on involvement in AFS activities as both a student and young professional could also be useful in guiding the Estuaries Section in promoting greater involvement of young people. Greater membership and involvement by young people would benefit both the Estuaries Section and AFS as a whole. I think that the Estuaries Section website can be a powerful tool to connect and inform members and others interested in estuaries. I’d like to see the website serve as a useful and current source of information, with news and announcements posted frequently. More frequent member contributions to the website, and other Estuaries Section products like the newsletter and Facebook page, can help keep members connected and up-to-date about the great work everyone does around the country concerning estuaries.

Position: Treasurer
Candidate: Konstantine J. Rountos


Educational Background:
PhD (Stony Brook University, 2014)
MS (Stony Brook University, 2008)
BS (Manhattan College, 2005)

Current Employer/Student Status:
Assistant Professor of Biology,
Department of Biology, St. Joseph’s College, Patchogue, NY

Please describe how you have you been involved with AFS in general and with the Estuaries Section in particular.
 I have served as the Treasurer for the Estuaries section since 2014, when I volunteered to fill the position from Anthony Overton. During this time, I have enjoyed serving as the Treasurer and working with members of the Executive committee and membership. Throughout my term, I have aimed to 1) maintain a high level of transparency, 2) grow the section membership, and 3) organize interesting symposia for the annual meetings. Specifically, this includes creating secure online accounts that fellow Executive committee members can access to see any section transactions or reimbursements in real time. In terms of growing the section, I created and maintain the Estuaries sections LinkedIn account, which as of today has 122 members. I have also been involved in organizing Estuary related symposia at annual meetings, notably at the Portland meeting.

My first introduction to the Estuaries Section came in 2012 at the section business meeting. I was immediately drawn to this section because of its professional aims and friendly community. In 2013, I attended the business meeting again, this time to accept the Estuaries Section student travel award. I was happily surprised that people remembered me from the previous meeting in 2012. It is now fulfilling to be able to create opportunities for students to come to annual meeting with the support of the Estuaries section. I look forward to serving the section for many years to come if elected.

What goals do you have for the Estuaries Section in the next two years?
My two goals for the Estuaries Section are to 1) increase and maintain our membership of young professionals, and 2) further develop our section’s role in supporting and developing interesting symposia, workshops, and online courses for AFS members. In particular, I would like to continue efforts to try and establish a special issue of Fisheries each year that is guest edited by the Estuaries Section.

Position: Secretary
Candidate: Geoffrey Smith

Educational Background:
PhD Candidate (University of Florida)
MS (University of Florida)
BS (New College of Florida)

Current Employer/Student Status:
PhD Candidate (University of Florida)

Please describe how you have been involved with AFS in general and with the Estuaries Section in particular:
I have been a member of the Florida Chapter of AFS since my first year of graduate school in the spring of 2009, and have maintained that membership since then. My advisor for my master’s research purchased an AFS membership for me as a birthday gift in 2009. Other than one brief period of time I have maintained that membership, and also subsequently joined both the Marine Fisheries and Estuaries Sections. I have presented and been a co-author on a number of presentations given at Florida Chapter, Southern Division, and parent society AFS meetings. At Florida Chapter meetings and the 2011 Southern Division Meeting held in Tampa, FL I have been a member of several committees that helped in the execution of those meetings. I have also reviewed papers for the AFS Journal: Marine and Coastal Fisheries. I have served as the Estuaries Section secretary for the past two years.

What goals do you have for the Estuaries Section in the next two years?
I would like to see the Estuaries Section maintain and possibly increase our current support for exceptional students attending the annual AFS meeting. This not only aids these student’s travel but ultimately can lead to greater student participation in the Estuaries Section. I’d also like to continue our sponsorship of workshops and symposia at the annual meeting, as this helps fund travel grants and future workshops and draws attention to our section at the annual meeting.

Position: Secretary
Candidate: Jim Vasslides

Educational Background:
PhD Ecology and Evolution (Rutgers University, 2016)
MS Ecology and Evolution (Rutgers University, 2007)
BS Natural Resource Management (Rutgers University, 1998)

What can I say, I really like New Jersey!

Current Employer/Student Status:
I am the Research Scientist for the Barnegat Bay Partnership, one of 28 National Estuaries Programs across the country.

Please describe how you have you been involved with AFS in general and with the Estuaries Section in particular:
I have been a member of AFS since 2005, when I transitioned from working primarily in freshwater wetlands to estuarine/marine systems. I immediately became active in the Mid-Atlantic Chapter, and have served that chapter as Treasurer and am currently serving as Student Judging coordinator. I was also part of the team that put together the winning bid for the 2018 AFS Annual meeting in Atlantic City, and will be the Spawning Run organizer. I have been a member of the Estuaries Section for several years, and was a moderator at the Resolving the Multiple Impacts of Anthropogenic Eutrophication on Coastal Fish and Fisheries session the Section sponsored in the 2015 National Meeting. I have also served as a reviewer for both Fisheries and Transactions.

What goals do you have for the Estuaries Section in the next two years?
Like many of you, I am always surprised that our section does not have a larger membership given the number of students and fisheries professionals that we all know who work in estuaries. Over the next two years I would like to focus on highlighting the benefits of section membership to students and early career professionals. While our section may not be the largest, it provides ample opportunities for those earlier in their fishery life histories to engage in meaningful leadership activities, including developing symposia and organizing special events (Monsters of…). I believe that continuing Karin’s efforts to bring in fishery-minded members of CERF and its regional affiliates should be continued.

I am also interested in offering educational/training opportunities on topics of interest to our members, and not just at national meetings. This could be particularly fruitful for cross-disciplinary themes, where we could use these opportunities to make ourselves better known to members of other sections.

 

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