Brandon HarrisView all stories
Graduate student Brandon Harris is well on his way to becoming a fisheries biologist as he soaks up all the knowledge and experience he can at Grand Valley State University’s Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute.
“The quality and level of research that’s being done here is preparing me very well to work in the fisheries biology field, so I expect my transition from college to be a smooth one,” Harris said. “A lot is expected out of you at Grand Valley, and more specifically at AWRI. Our projects are very developed and field-intensive and we are expected to publish our thesis results.”
Harris was one of the students to receive an assistantship at AWRI this year, a highly sought after and very competitive position. As a graduate assistant, Harris helps his advisor Carl Ruetz and researches methods for estimating non-game fish abundance while attending classes. He specifically focuses his research on the abundance of Lake Sturgeon in Michigan’s lakes. Grand Valley pays for Harris’ tuition and provides him with a stipend for his work.
“If I hadn’t received this assistantship, I would probably be at a different school,” Harris said. “But Grand Valley is where I wanted to be and I think my experiences here will make me more successful than somewhere else. The research that we’re doing here is pretty incredible and starting to gain a lot of recognition from other universities.”
According to Harris, his involvement with AWRI has given him some great opportunities. He has been exposed to scientific conferences around the country and met countless researchers in the field. Harris recognizes that AWRI is quickly growing and has a pressing need for more space.
“AWRI is a really solid research institute – and with the new field station, it will only get better. This new field station is going to increase the research opportunities exponentially. Currently, we’re limited by the lack of space and we’re operating at the maximum capacity.”
In all, Harris feels as though Grand Valley is fully preparing him for a professional career after graduating with a masters of science in Biology with an aquatic science emphasis.
“My favorite thing about being at AWRI is the availability of resources. You have everything you need at an arms-length away. You have the most cutting-edge scientific instruments, boats, as well as a lot of great professors who are always willing to give some good advice.”
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