Dr. Tom Kwak Candidate for Vice President

Tom Kwak

Background ­— I have served students, agencies, and science as the Leader of the NC Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and Professor of Applied Ecology at NC State University for the last 19 years.  The road to this position was winding and lucky, beginning as a kid raised on my family’s fish camp on the Kankakee River, IL — working, paddling, boating, fishing, and playing in the river and its floodplain.  This aquatic early life stage sent me toward the University of IL, where I earned BS and MS degrees in Ecology, with fisheries work and mentorship at the IL Natural History Survey.  I earned my doctorate degree in 1993 at University of MN in Fisheries, studying the productive trout streams in SE MN.

My first faculty position was at San Diego State University, as a Research Assistant Professor, followed by the Assistant Unit Leader and Associate Professor at the AR Coop Unit at University of AR.  But I landed my ultimate dream job as the Leader of the NC Coop Unit at NC State University in 1999, and continued to pursue my scientific goals of researching flowing water fisheries to enhance their conservation and management — all the while seeking to make a lasting contribution by changing the lives and careers of students and young scientists through teaching and mentorship.


Professional Activities — The American Fisheries Society is my home and family for over 30 years, and I strive to be a good member — giving back as much as I’ve gained.  I have broad exposure as a member and officer of 4 chapters and 3 divisions, including President of the NC Chapter and President of the Education Section of the parent society.  I’ve chaired 10 AFS Committees, including Nominations, Awards, and Oversight and served as member of 14 more.  I served as Program Chair for AFS meetings at state, division, and parent society levels, including the 2018 SDAFS Meeting in San Juan, PR — see you there!  And I participate in numerous agency, academic, and multi-institution councils, task forces, and committees.

I’ve served as major advisor for 30 graduate students, and mentored an army of talented young scientists.  Together, we’ve published over 90 journal articles and book chapters and have been recognized with 21 Best Presentation Awards at scientific society meetings.  I’ve personally been honored with 20 additional society and agency awards and recognitions for service and scientific accomplishments.


Vision — The “Bubba Division” is my home and arguably the most active and effective in the AFS.  I have a deep appreciation for our members, their science, and our human and natural resources, and thus, my vision for the Division focuses on three goals.  (1) Enhance the number, diversity, and quality of our members through support and encouragement.  (2) Strengthen the ability for our members to communicate our science with each other and others that may apply it.  (3) Stand up for our science and resources to ensure that our expertise, knowledge, and products are relevant in natural resource policy decisions.  We are all keenly aware that our Nation is politically divided, and these are among the most challenging times that we’ve faced as fisheries professionals.  If you honor me with this important post, I can promise you that I will fight with all my strength and ability to ensure that our science is considered a priority and applied to protect, conserve, and sustain our fisheries and aquatic resources for the broader society and future generations!

Vote HERE!