American Fisheries Society

East Carolina University Student Subunit


The East Carolina University Student Subunit of the American Fisheries Society (ECU-AFS) was founded in 1998.  Our mission is to facilitate the education of students interested in fisheries sciences through research, service projects, and interactions with fisheries scientists, professionals, and fellow students.  ECU-AFS is also part of the AFS Tidewater Chapter, which encompasses AFS members from North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland.  ECU-AFS and the Tidewater Chapter also belongs to the AFS Southern Division, which adds members from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington D.C., West Indian Islands, and West Virginia.


ECU-AFS averages 25 members each year, which consist of both graduates and undergraduates.  Members also come from a variety of different programs on campus such as the Department of Biology, Institute for Coastal Science and Policy, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, and the Coastal Resources Management PhD Program.  Some of our members have also held positions with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.  ECU-AFS currently has two faculty advisers, Drs. Roger Rulifson and Anthony Overton. 

Community and Campus Events

Each year, ECU-AFS participates in numerous community and campus events.  Some of these events include Big Sweep, which is the annual clean-up of Green Mill Run, a tributary of the Tar River that runs through ECU campus.  Another event is “Barefoot on the Mall,” which is a spring carnival held on campus.  This is a great opportunity to spread our name throughout campus as well as raise funds.  In the past, we have sold lunch combos, homemade dog biscuits, pie-your-professor raffles, henna tattoos, and bake sales.  ECU-AFS also volunteers for the annual Shad Festival in Grifton, NC.  Each year, ECU-AFS runs a kiddie fishing pool where small kids can catch magnetic fish and win prizes.  ECU-AFS also provided fly-fishing demos and displayed fishery research gear and equipment.  Other events include volunteer time at the local food bank, “Take-a-Kid Fishing Day,” and assisting with the “Ocean Awareness Summer Camp” that is held on campus.

Annual Meeting and Banquet

Since 1999, ECU-AFS has organized a formal meeting/banquet each year, which is attended by fishery professionals, alumni, and their guests.  This well-attended event (60-70 individuals) includes a poster social, catered dinner, and an invited speaker.  Some of the attendees represent the AFS Executive Committee on the national, division, and chapter level.

Professional Meetings/Conferences

ECU-AFS also works hard to send members to professional meetings/conferences even if it falls outside of the American Fisheries Society such as the Joint Meeting of Icthyologists and Herpetologists, Acoustical Society of America, Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, The Coastal Society, etc.  Most members have received full or partial funding (travel, lodging, registration) to attend these meetings.  Funding comes from the ECU Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) in addition to ECU-AFS funds.  Members are encouraged to attend these meetings to gain experience in presenting their research and to meet other students and professionals in their interested field.


ECU-AFS has received top honors from both the American Fisheries Society and East Carolina University.  ECU-AFS received the “Student Subunit of the Year” award from both the American Fisheries Society (National Level) and the Southern Division in 2006 and 2007.  ECU-AFS also received “Organization of the Year” from East Carolina University in the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 academic years.  ECU-AFS Past President, Dee Dee Barry, received a student leadership award from East Carolina University for the 2006-2007 academic year.  ECU-AFS faculty adviser, Dr. Roger Rulifson, received “Adviser of the Year” from East Carolina University for the 2006-2007 academic year. 

Student members have also been recognized by AFS, which includes the Eileen Setzler-Hamilton Memorial Scholarship and the John E. Skinner Award.  In addition, some of our members have received awards on their research posters and presentations at select AFS meetings.