The Kurt Grinnell Aquaculture Scholarship Foundation (KGASF) announced that it has awarded its first-ever aquaculture scholarships to three students – two representing US Tribes and one representing one of Canada’s First Nations.
Each scholar will receive $5,000 to pursue degrees in aquaculture, marine biology, and fisheries and wildlife science.
Established to honour the legacy of the late Kurt Grinnell, a Native American leader from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in Washington State, who saw aquaculture as a solution to Tribal food security, the KGASF provides financial assistance to Tribal and First Nations students who wish to pursue careers in aquaculture and natural resources, said Jaiden Grinnell Bosick, one of Grinnell’s two daughters.
Bosick, who fishes commercially in Alaska with her husband, serves on the KGASF Board, where she heads up the Scholarship Selection Committee.
“As a family and as a Board, we are immensely proud of these three scholarship winners,” said Bosick. “We all believe these students have a bright and shining future ahead and we look forward to their contributions to the field of aquaculture.” She added, “My dad would have been honoured and proud to know them.”
The scholarship award announcement coincides with the celebration in the United States of National Native American Heritage Month, which is celebrated every June in Canada as National Indigenous History Month, said Levana Mastrangelo, vice-chair of the KGASF board and Selection Committee member. “We believe that the scholarships made possible by the KGASF not only help these students financially, but for every scholarship winner, there is a strong connection to their Tribal or First Nation heritage,” she said.
Mastrangelo, the senior reconciliation advisor at Cermaq Canada, Ltd, belongs to the Ucluelet First Nation - Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government.
“In Canada, aquaculture plays a vital role in First Nation communities and is a path to self-determination and reconciliation,” she said, adding that “aquaculture provides many jobs and economic opportunities, as well as creating healthy seafood products.”
The inaugural scholarship winners are Michael Buck of the Yakama Nation in Washington State (whose Yakama Nation name is Ka-Kin-As); Alana Schofield of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Michigan; and Taylor Nichols of the Wahnapitae First Nation (WFN) in Ontario, Canada.
Michael Buck, enrolled at the University of Washington’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, has “a keen interest in historic fisheries in the Columbia River Basin including lamprey populations which were historically important to several Tribes in the Colombia River Basin.” He plans to use his scholarship to pursue his master’s degree.
Alana Schofield is enrolled at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, where she will pursue a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. Alana has experience in Tribal Fisheries and is interested in learning about aquaculture and aquaponics, with the goal of “returning to her Tribal Community and using her knowledge to advance tribal sovereignty and improve and protect the natural environment.”
Taylor Nichols has experience in aquaculture via a pickerel micro-hatchery with the WFN and is currently pursuing a Master of Science Degree in Biology from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. She is a graduate of Canada’s Dalhousie University.