Graduate students are a vital and critical part of our mission at the Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI). Hands-on student training and development has been a hallmark of AWRI since its inception, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. However, the depth of training is greater and more intense at the master's level.
AWRI's participation in the biology graduate program began only five years ago, and it is still growing and developing. Some of our recent graduates provide us with a strong indication that the program is on the right track. For example, Matt Breen graduated last year after working with Carl Ruetz on movement of mottled sculpin. Matt received an American Institute of Fishery Research Biologist Research Assistance Award, won the Best Student Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, and recently published one of his thesis chapters in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, one of the leading fishery journals. Matt is now employed as a fishery biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Another recent graduate who worked with Carl Ruetz is Kristin Nelson. Kristin's thesis was titled: "Distribution of Dreissena mussels in Great Lakes coastal ecosystems: Are wetlands resistant to invasion?" Her interest in fish and invasive species has led to a monitoring specialist position with the Michigan Council of Trout Unlimited. Janel Hagar was a graduate student who worked under the guidance of Rick Rediske, studying toxins released from cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) in seven West Michigan lakes; Janel is continuing her education by pursuing her Ph.D. at Clemson University in South Carolina.
The accomplishments of these three students provide a flavor for the diversity of work conducted here at AWRI. We are proud of them and all the students that are involved in our program. It is both satisfying and rewarding to see our students succeed, and to know that they are using the education and training that they received here to make the world a better place to live.