Nominations are being sought through Jan. 31 for the Alaska Humanities Forum’s second cohort of Alaska Salmon Fellows, an effort to facilitate conversations about salmon issues and identify innovative opportunities to strengthen this resource for generations to come.
Only 16 Fellows will be chosen for the 18-month program. They will be expected to make an exceptional commitment to contribute and reach beyond their current knowledge to lead in making a difference, with an understanding that successful systems change requires increased and improved collaboration, said organizers at the Alaska Humanities Forum.
Each person selected will receive a personal award of $5,000 at the start of the program and $5,000 upon successful completion of the program to advance their efforts toward achieving an innovative systems change.
The Salmon Fellows will be required to take part in four gatherings throughout the program, plus bi-weekly online meetings, and to complete readings, pursue connections between sessions and develop innovative projects to promote a strong future for Alaska’s salmon and people. The program also covers travel expenses associated with all gatherings.
Kameron Perez-Verdia, president and chief executive officer of the Alaska Humanities Forum, said the Salmon Fellows program, supports their mission “to connect Alaskans through stories, ideas and experiences that positively change lives and empower communities.
“We want to bring together a diverse mix of people with wide ranging connections to salmon including commercial, recreational, subsistence, policy and cultural,” Perez-Verdia said. “We serve as host and convener for this challenging and important topic creating the opportunity for participants to grow as leaders, and learn about different perspectives and find common ground to shape the way that we address salmon and a range of complex issues that affect the lives of all Alaskans,” he said.
Among the first cohort of Salmon Fellow, who are still at work, is Kris Norosz, of Petersburg, who retired in 2017 after years as the government affairs official for Icicle Seafoods in Alaska.
“I’ve been in fisheries for almost the whole time I’ve been in Alaska, which will be 40 years in June,” Norosz said. “Out of the 16 Fellow (in her cohort) at least half of them I had not met previously and had not heard of them before, and for me that has been really enjoyable and the fact that we are so geographically diverse.
“Difference experiences people have brought (to the cohort) have been good for me, and I enjoy the fact that people are from different disciplines, because it has made me look at things differently,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed the readings we have done. I have pursued additional readings on my own. If I were working full time and doing this, it would be more challenging.”
Her advice to people considering application to be a Fellow is to think about the commitment, “the amount of time it takes depends on how committed somebody wants to be,” she said.
“I would advise anyone thinking of applying that it is a commitment and if they say they are going to do something they need to do it. There are a number of gatherings for multiple days that you need to be able to commit to, and if you are not there, your voice is not heard. It is important to be fully committed and to show up,” she said.
For details on applying or to nominate a fellow, visit https://www.akhf.org/alaska-salmon-fellows
Online applications must be completed by Jan. 31.