Who are we?


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The American Fisheries Society is the oldest and largest society for fisheries scientists in the world with over 9000 members. We are the Student Subunit of the Ontario Chapter of AFS, formed in March 2007, to represent fisheries students and young professionals from across Ontario and abroad. We provide student members with opportunities and information on AWARDS and EVENTS through this site, our Instagram, and Twitter account. We also contribute to the Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Chapter, organize student retreats and journal club meetings. Check out NEWS and EVENTS, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter for more information!



AFS-OC  Student Subunit Officers

Jacob Burbank
Connor Reid
Jordanna Bergman AFS-OC bio photo.jpg
Jordanna Bergman

Jacob is a fish ecologist and conservation scientist whose research interests lie in developing an understanding of the ecology and life-history of imperilled fish and the importance of terrestrial inputs to stream fishes, particularly in urbanized areas. Currently Jacob is pursuing his Ph.D. under the supervision of Michael Power at University of Waterloo and Andrew Drake at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Jacob's thesis is focused on understanding the ecology and life-history of a freshwater species at risk in Canada, Silver Shiner, to improve species conservation and recovery efforts. In his spare time (when not obsessing over the mighty Silver Shiner) he loves to get outdoors, camp, canoe and wet the occasional line.

Jacob has been a AFS-OC member for some time and is excited to serve you as President of AFS-OC student subunit. He will bring loads of enthusiasm to all our fun and exciting fishy events.

Connor is a Ph.D. candidate at Carleton University, co-supervised by Steven Cooke (CU) and Jonathan Midwood (DFO). He studies the welfare implications of using electrical immobilization as an alternative to chemical anaesthesia in fish, focusing on how electric currents impact critical biological functions such as heart rate, immunology, and brain activity. Over the next few years, he will focus on generating useful evidence for researchers and animal care authorities to help with the creation of informed guidelines and recommendations about electro-immobilization in fisheries research.


Connor is a new member of AFS-OC who is looking forward to helping with and participating in the events and initiatives lead by the student subunit.

Jordanna is a conservation scientist and aquatic ecologist based out of eastern Ontario, Canada. Although her previous experiences focused mainly of marine ecosystems, for her PhD, she’s turned her attention to freshwater systems which need our help more than ever. Jordanna is currently a PhD Candidate at Carleton University supervised by Dr. Steven Cooke and Dr. Joseph Bennett. For her thesis, she is investigating the ecological connectivity of Canada’s historic Rideau Canal as experienced by both native and invasive fish species. The goal is to work collaboratively with social scientists, Parks Canada (the primary stewards of the canal), and hydraulic engineers to develop multidisciplinary and integrative approaches to supporting management strategies and conserving Ontario’s economically-important, and beautiful, freshwater ecosystems.

Jordanna is a new member to AFS-OC and is looking forward to contributing to the organization as its new secretary-treasurer.



Early Years – Pre-Student Subunit

As the AFS parent society grew, smaller AFS affiliated “chapters” began to form across the United States and Canada. In Ontario, two of these chapters formed to represent the Northwestern (formed 1979, incorporated 1995) and Southern (formed 1988) regions of the province. In 2004, members of the two chapters agreed to merge and form one chapter to represent all of the Ontario AFS members. It was at this time that a small number of students stepped forward to represent the student members of the newly amalgamated Ontario Chapter. Between 2004 and 2007, Lynn Bouvier, Nick Lapointe, Andrew Drake, Mark Poos, Andrea Bernard, Bill MacLeod, Shari Sokay, Jarrod Stackhouse, Steve Marson, Karen Murchie, Greg Elliot, Melissa Robillard, Katie Stammler and Caleb Hasler acted as AFS-OC student representatives to provide a voice for students and young professionals in the chapter. A number of these representatives continued to work with the chapter and were ultimately responsible for shaping the AFS-OC Student Subunit (the Subunit).

The creation of the Subunit

The first major step to create the Subunit was taken in 2006 with the development of a student focused section of the AFS-OC website. This section was devoted to providing information for students regarding research and job opportunities, scholarship and awards, and institutions that were well known for fisheries research. With growing interest from the student membership, student reps soon focused their attention from simply providing information to providing additional opportunities within the chapter. These included but were not limited to education, professional development, training, and collaboration. In the spring of 2007, AFS-OC Executive Commitee (ExComm) and the student reps changed the chapter bylaws to include students in the executive committee, thus recognizing a Student Subunit of the Ontario Chapter of AFS. In the same year, the parent society accepted the bylaw changes, officers were incorporated into the ExComm, and the Subunit was made official.

2007-2008 Term

After receiving a letter from the parent society that accepted the creation of the Subunit, the ExComm and its members nominated students for three executive positions. These three students would act as Pro tem officers until officially elected in the Fall of 2007.

President (Pro tem): Mary Finch
Vice President (Pro tem): Mike Donaldson
Secretary-Treasurer (Pro tem): Andrew Drake
Faculty Advisor: Steve Cooke

The AFS-OC AGM of 2007 was the location for the earliest events by the Student Subunit. The most notable activity that the Subunit developed at the 2007 meeting was the silent auction, which in combination with a raffle draw has become a tradition of the Subunit in subsequent years of the AGM. Students raised over $700 in the auction/raffle, which was used to help develop a fund to support future student-oriented events. In the fall of 2007, Mary Finch, Michael Donaldson, and Andrew Drake officially stepped in as the Subunit ExComm for the 2007-2008 term. The Subunit planned and executed the first official student subunit event in the fall, which was a Class-2 backpack electofishing certification course with the Trent University Institute of Watershed Science. In late February 2008, the Subunit organized and hosted the 2008 AFS-OC Student Colloquium and Winter Retreat at Queen’s University Biological Station in Kingston. The event included a number of excellent student presentations, social dinners, ice fishing, snowshoeing, skiing, and one incredible snow storm!

2008-2011 (Three Terms)


Student Subunit Executive
President: Caleb Hasler
Vice President: Monica Granados

Secretary-Treasurer: Connie O’Conner

The 2008-2011 Subunit helped to organize a Student-Mentor Lunch, Student Colloquium on employment opportunities, Career Fair, Student Social, and assisted the Ontario Chapter ExComm with general conference organization and administration at the 2008 AFS Annual Meeting in Ottawa. The Subunit also received AFS-OC funding to support the undergraduate Ontario Ecology and Ethology Colloquium 2009. In March 2010, the Subunit and the Toronto Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology and Sea Choice hosted a screening of “The End of the Line” at University of Toronto. The screening was followed by an excellent talk by Stacy O’Malley of Sea Choice. Members of Canadian Aquatic Resources Sections (CARS) and the Subunit also hosted a student colloquium at the Canadian Conference for Fisheries Research (CCFFR) in 2011. Here the panel shared their experience and fielded questions about careers and education.

2011-2012 Term

Student Subunit Executive
President: Lee Gutowsky
Vice President: Andrew Ecclestone
Secretary-Treasurer: Sarah Steele

The 2011-2012 Subunit officially began serving the student membership in September 2011. The 2011-2012 Subunit planned and hosted a welcome social/BBQ and organized the traditional silent auction and raffle at the AGM in 2012. The social/BBQ allowed students and professionals to mingle and develop relationships over food and drinks, while the silent auction provided a chance to win prizes and raise money (~$700!) for the Subunit. Interactions between students and professionals throughout the meeting encouraged many students to later attend the Ecology and Evolutionary Ethology Conference 2012 (EEEC) held in Windsor. The Subunit subsequently took the initiative to host an EEEC social event that included drinks, food, and a door prize.

While Andrew Ecclestone has graduated and started his career in fisheries, both Lee Gutowsky and Sarah Steele continue to volunteer with the Subunit. The most recent achievement of the 2011-2012 Subunit is the development and sponsorship of a brand new “Outstanding Mentor Award”.

2012-2014 Term

Student Subunit Executive
President: Lee Gutowsky
Vice President: Jake Brownscombe
Secretary-Treasurer: Sarah Steele


2014-2015 Term

Student Subunit Executive
President:  Jake Brownscombe
Vice President: Vivian Nguyen
Secretary-Treasurer: Robert Lennox

2015-2016 Term

Student Subunit Executive
President:  Vivian Nguyen
Vice President: Jacqueline Chapman
Secretary-Treasurer: Jill Brooks

2016-2018 Term

Student Subunit Executive

President:  Jacqueline Chapman

Vice President: Michael Lawrence

Secretary-Treasurer: Alice Abrams

East Region Representative: Peter Holder

2019-2021 Term

Student Subunit Executive

President:  Alice Abrams

Vice President: Jacob Burbank

Secretary-Treasurer: Britney Firth

East Region Representative: Peter Holder

Kawartha Region Representative: Ashley Smith