Palouse Unit Officers 2016-2017

Shannon Blackburn
Gillies-Rector K _Pic

Vice President
Kat Gillies-Rector
Origin: Richland, Washington
Study: I am pursuing a Master’s of Science degree in natural resources at the University of Idaho. My research focuses on the population dynamics and management of White Sturgeon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River basin.
Involvement:  I have been affiliated with the American Fisheries Society since 2012.  As a graduate student, I became an officer to network with other students and fisheries professionals, help stay current with fisheries research, and engage with the local community and watershed. I am excited to be this year’s PUAFS president and hope to provide opportunities for students to develop valuable skills and make connections with peers and professionals.
Career Goals: Post-graduation, I hope to be employed by a state or federal agency conducting applied fisheries research and management.
Origin: Corvallis, Oregon
Study: I am pursuing a MS in Fish and Wildlife Sciences with a focus in fish ecology. My research focuses on the life history strategies of Chinook salmon in the Snake River. I am primarily interested in how anthropogenic changes to the watershed have impacted early growth and migration of juvenile Chinook, and how stable isotope chemistry can reveal aspects of individual environmental history.
Involvement: I first became involved with AFS after I attended my first Oregon chapter meeting in 2012. As an undergraduate with very little professional experience, the chapter meeting allowed me my first glimpse of science communication and networking in action. I immediately became involved with the student subunit at Oregon State University where I held the office of student representative to the state chapter. In that role, I led student field trips, hosted invited lecturers and skills workshops, and helped organize the 2013 Oregon Chapter AFS annual meeting. Since starting my degree at University of Idaho, I have wanted to be more involved with PUAFS. As VP I want to facilitate peer-to-peer mentoring opportunities both formal and informal, provide support for students hoping to connect with their local community through education and outreach initiatives, and help create a cohesive community within Palouse unit where students feel welcome and supported in their professional aspirations.
Career Goals: I hope to contribute to the conservation and management of threatened and endangered species by working as a research biologist at the state or federal level. I would also like to increase my involvement with the American Fisheries Society in a mentoring and student involvement capacity.
Stacey Feeken
Tucker Brauer
Origin: Vancouver, Washington

 Study: I am pursing my M.S. degree at the University of Idaho. My research focuses on the distribution and movement of wild and hatchery steelhead and angling effort in Idaho’s Clearwater River.

Involvement: I am excited to be involved in PUAFS and contribute to the future growth and success of the organization. Involvement in AFS is a great way to stay current with fisheries research. It allows students and professionals opportunities to network with others who are interested in the same field. It provides undergraduates with the chance to get involved in the fisheries community to gain valuable field and research experience.  My goal this year is to provide members with increased outreach opportunities.

Career Goals: fter completing my M.S. degree, I hope to work in fisheries management and contribute to the management and conservation of fisheries resources.

Origin: Twin Falls, Idaho

Study: I am currently in pursuit of my M.S. in Fisheries Science at the University of Idaho. My thesis research is focused on determining the population structure, movement dynamics, and population characteristics of invasive Burbot in the Green River Basin, Wyoming.

Involvement: I have been a member of the Palouse Unit since my time as an undergraduate at the University of Idaho. PUAFS has given me countless opportunities to network, collect experience, and advance myself as a fisheries professional. I am excited for the privilege to act on this year’s executive committee and give back to the organization that has helped me so much.

Career Goals: Once finished here at U of I, I plan on pursuing a career in fisheries biology and management with a state agency in the intermountain west. I also plan on continuing to be active in the parent society AFS throughout my career.



Graduate Representative
Austin Anderson
Email: [email protected]


WSU Representative
John Loffredo
Email: [email protected]

Origin:  Danville, CA

Study: I am pursuing an M.S. degree in Natural Resources from the University of Idaho. My research is focused on juvenile steelhead habitat selection and fine scale movement, and the influence these have on growth and survival. I am performing this work on a wild population of steelhead in the Lapwai Creek Basin, a tributary to the Clearwater river.

Involvement:  I have been a member of the Palouse Unit since I began as a graduate student at the University of Idaho in 2016. I have enjoyed participating in outreach events like the Lapwai STEM fair as well as having the opportunity to attend the Idaho chapter AFS meeting this past spring. I am looking forward to another great year of outreach events and networking opportunities.

Career Goals:  After completing my M.S. degree I hope to continue working towards the conservation of freshwater and anadromous fishes in a management capacity. I hope to do this with a state or federal agency.

Origin: East Hampton, Connecticut. Back Eastville, USA. I rag but my childhood spent in the creeks and on the lakes of my hometown nestled in wooded suburbia sparked my scientific curiosity, in doing so, gave me a career path which I am careening head-long all across this great country. After graduating from Green Mountain College in 2012 with bachelors in Forestry and Biology I started my fisheries career by sheer luck with a summer gig in the Sawtooth and White Could mountains shocking for Bulltrout. Since then I have had stints at a commercial salmon hatchery in Prince William Sound, Sea Lamprey Control with FWS in the U.P., high mountain lake surveys with IDFG out of Salmon, and flood survey mapping with the USGS in the waterways surrounding Boston.

Study: Currently pursuing a M.S. degree in Natural Resource Sciences from Washington State University under Dr. Barry Moore. Using methods and theory from fisheries management, aquatic ecology, and limnology I am investigating the seasonal trophic positioning of invasive northern crayfish in Buffalo Lake, a large-oligotrophic lake on the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in central Washington.

Involvement: I have been around members of AFS for years but have not joined the professional society until coming back to graduate school in 2016, where I attended the Idaho Chapter meeting in Boise. Since becoming WSU representative for the Palouse student chapter sub-unit I have helped to organize stream clean-up events on Paradise Creek through our sub-units partnership with the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute. During my tenure as an ex-com member I hope to expand our club’s appeal on the Pullman campus by reaching out to non-traditional fisheries groups. Habitat engineers, stream ecologists, and wildlife students to name a few; it is my goal to share the AFS mission with these groups, find common ground, and work together to enrich everyone’s experience and professional development.

Career Goals: Upon graduating I hope to travel more and stress less! I’ll be quite content with a fisheries or habitat biologist position with a state, federal, or tribal agency working to protect waterways, the things that live there, and getting people interested in getting outside!


Undergraduate Representative
Julie Browning
Email: [email protected]

Origin: Boise, Idaho

Study: I am currently an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science, double majoring in Fisheries Resources and Wildlife Management at the University of Idaho within the College of Natural Resources.

Involvement: I have been an active member within the Palouse Unit of the American Fisheries Society since my sophomore year. I attended the Idaho Chapter meeting through the student unit this last spring. I absolutely love the experiences I have had, and am now able to promote AFS activities to future members.

Career Goals: After I graduate I plan to pursue a Master’s degree in Alaska that involves aquatic and terrestrial interactions, but details are still to be determined. I am extremely happy with my career path thus far, and I am excited to see where my education and membership within AFS takes me.


SAC Representative

Charlie Kerrick

Email: [email protected]

Origin: I was born and raised in Caldwell, Idaho.

Study: This semester I will be wrapping up my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Fishery Resources.

Involvement: Although I have been a member of PUAFS since my freshmen year of college, I didn’t start making the most of my membership until last year.  After attending a field trip doing radio telemetry on the Clearwater River, I realized how beneficial the club could be for myself and other students trying to expand their knowledge of fisheries related career paths.  Once I started regularly attending the meetings, I learned that the more service I give to the club, the greater it will impact my life along with other people’s lives in the long run.

Career Goals: Once I obtain my bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho, I’d like to work as a fisheries technician for a state agency somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.  After I have gained enough experience doing that, I would like to go on to get my master’s degree and eventually a PhD in fisheries.  Hopefully by then I will have gained enough experience and creditability to become a college professor so that I can teach undergraduates how to effectively make a positive impact in the world of fisheries


Education/Outreach Coordinator

Sierra Zierler

Email: [email protected]

Origin: Meridian, Idaho

Study: I am currently working towards my undergraduate degree in Fishery Resources, as well as a minor in Wildlife Resources.  I am currently a senior, and plan to graduate May of 2018.

Involvement: I have been a member of PUAFS since my freshman year, but became more active my sophomore and junior years.  Being a member of this club has allowed me to make connections with professionals, advisors with in the college, as well as advisors outside the university. This club has also provided me with valuable experiences in the field and in the Moscow community.

Career Goals: After I graduate with my B.S, I plan to take a small break from school to gain skills in the field of marine biology, with an emphasis on marine mammal rehabilitation.  Once I have some experience under my belt, I then plan to attend graduate school along the North West coast.  Long term, I would like to work for private organizations that primarily work with rehabilitation of larger sea mammals (e.g. seals, otters, etc.) along the west coast.


Faculty Advisor

Dr. Michael C. Quist
Email: [email protected]