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A Feb. 14 deadline is fast approaching for high school students to apply for one of four American Fisheries Society’s Hutton Scholar paid internships that will be available through the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission this summer. The AFS’ Junior Fisheries Biology Program internship and mentoring program is a summerlong, hands-on education experience designed primarily for minority and female high school students.
The AGFC has increased its eight-week internships from two last year to four in 2023, adding two internships for high school students to work in the Education Division conducting fishing education, as well as the two it has provided in the Fisheries Division alongside fisheries biologist mentors.
“I’m really excited to pair students with a mentor and help them see fisheries and conservation through an education lens,” J.J. Gladden, AGFC assistant chief in the Education Division, said. “Fishing is a way to teach people how conservation and fisheries management works through understanding fish needs and habitat.”
Gladden said the two education division interns will be paired with a member of the AGFC Fishing Education team, working “side-by-side with people in fish culture and management to learn what our agency does, so they can spread that knowledge to their peers and be better equipped for a career in conservation.”
The program is a partnership between the American Fisheries Society, with its Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program, and the AGFC, which will fund the internships at a cost of $3,000 each, with the scholars also receiving an all-expense-paid trip, from AFS, to the Hutton Scholars Summit (the location has not yet been determined).
To apply, students must go to the Hutton Scholar website for the application and complete each step and all required fields in five sections along with submitting the student’s most recent transcript and a student reference form (which the student’s reference may submit by email). Incomplete applications will not be considered.
The program is open to all current high school students in the classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025 regardless of race, creed or gender. Past participants of the Hutton Program are not eligible.
Students are selected by the members of both the Hutton Oversight Committee and the Hutton Review and Selection Committee. Students from Arkansas that are selected will be paired with an AGFC mentor within a 30- to 45-minute commute of the student’s home. For example, a student intern from southwestern Arkansas was mentored last year by Dylan Hann, an AGFC fisheries district supervisor based in Hope.
An AFS Hutton Scholar internship could be the beginning of a lifetime of work within the field of outdoors conservation and study in the world of conservation agencies, particularly for someone from traditionally underrepresented groups in fisheries science and management. Nationally, since 2001, 750 high school students have received a Hutton internship and 787 biologists have served as mentors. In the past 10 years, 72 percent of the interns attributed their internship to increasing their interest in fisheries, aquatics or environmental science studies and careers.
Darrell Bowman, the AGFC’s assistant chief of fisheries and a former Hutton Program mentor and AFS member, is serving as the AGFC’s point of contact. Students who serve as Hutton Scholar interns in the Fisheries and Education divisions will be immersed in the work of the AGFC, Bowman said.
The Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program was established in memory of Robert F. Hutton, who served as the AFS’ first executive director. The AGFC participated in the program from 2002-06, when it was solely funded by the AFS, with 12 students and 12 mentors involved.
The eight-week internships will be scheduled between June 1-Sept. 1. Bowman says the AGFC will develop a project specifically for each student and supervise each intern in all aspects of the program.
For more information on the Hutton Program, visit https://hutton.fisheries.org.