Paige Crane of Blacksburg, Va., a freshman majoring in wildlife science in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, got a jump on her college studies by participating in the Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program over the summer. 

The Blacksburg High School graduate was one of 25 students chosen from across the country to participate in the program, sponsored by the American Fisheries Society.

Each student in the program is awarded a scholarship and matched with a professional mentor for a summer-long, hands-on experience in fisheries science. Emmanuel Frimpong, associate professor of fisheries science in the college’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, mentored Crane as she participated in his National Science Foundation funded research. 

Crane studied how the bluehead chub, a local fish species, makes nests to improve its environment for breeding, and how this reproductive behavior benefits numerous other fish species.

“I’ve learned so much this summer and have been able to get involved in the field that I’m going into in the fall,” Crane said at the conclusion of the program. “I’ve loved being able to work outside and learn things that are going to be applicable to my classes. I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to gain all this lab and field experience.”

“Working with a team of older students, I’ve gotten a lot of advice about Virginia Tech and classes, and it’s really made me excited to get started!” she added.

The principal goal of the Hutton program, which is open to all junior and senior high school students, is to stimulate interest in careers in fisheries science and management among groups underrepresented in the fisheries professions, including minorities and women.

“Paige has been a pleasure to have in my lab this summer,” Frimpong said. “She is curious, a quick-learner, enthusiastic about her work, a great team player, and tough in the field. These are some of the most desirable traits in a young fisheries professional.”

“She fulfilled the objectives of the Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program very well,” he continued. “I look forward to continuing to work with her as she begins her studies at Virginia Tech.”

Written by Leah Dick of Pulaski, Va., a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.