Nominating students underscore Perkin’s heart for students, passion for fisheries
Perkin was recognized for his leadership in the Texas A&M Student Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.
According to the Division of Student Affairs, Advisor of the Year Awards are given to outstanding faculty or staff advisors who exhibit strong leadership qualities and are committed to a philosophy of shared responsibility, character development and service.
“Individuals recognized for this award demonstrate an exceptional commitment to working with students outside of the classroom, as well as expertise that benefits their respective student organizations,” Division of Student Affairs writes.
Perkin was nominated by a handful of students involved in the Texas A&M Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, who said that he is a model mentor in the classroom and the field.
Debunking fears and inspiring achievement
Lauren Yancy is the current president of the student chapter, and says that since her first AFS meeting as a freshman at Texas A&M, Perkin has challenged her to overcome her fears and achieve her goals in the discipline.
Yancy said that she will never forget how Perkin first introduced himself and addressed the student chapter. Perkin told the students a story of his own experience as a student, who had doubts about his ability to be successful as a fisheries scientist.
He spelled out his journey to show students that with passion, dedication, and the right people behind them, they can reach their goals.
“I often set goals for myself that I think I will be able to attain, rather than ones I’ll have to go above and beyond to achieve because of the fear that ‘I am not smart enough,’” Yancy said. “Since Dr. Perkin told that story in AFS, I have not pushed aside any potential careers as ‘unattainable,’ because I realized that I don’t know what I can and can’t do, unless I try.”
Yancy said that Perkin is the epitome of the perfect mentor for students to learn from and look up to. She explained that Dr. Perkin is inclusive of students, encourages them to contribute to research and discussions, and challenges them to think critically as fisheries scientists.
She said his hands-on approach to learning also provides valuable opportunities for students to grow and develop important skills.
“If a student is willing to put in hard work, he will absolutely match it to get them involved with research or learning experiences,” Yancy said. “He is also very generous in providing opportunities for the students to learn fisheries techniques, using his own gear and sampling tools that they otherwise would not have access to.”
A passionate, dedicated mentor
Perkin’s other nominators echoed many of the statements about his dedication to students and passion for fisheries.
“After meeting Dr. Perkin I have grown more excited, motivated and inspired to be in this field. He exudes passion and encourages excitement,” one nominator wrote.
This individual, a senior at Texas A&M University, stated that Dr. Perkin has grown her interest in research, challenging her to “wake up a bit earlier to read relevant research reports” and grow her understanding of work that’s being done in the field.
Another AFS member underscored these comments about Dr. Perkin with her own experiences, noting her gratitude for the role he has played in her own academic journey.
“Dr. Perkin has worked side by side with me to develop a project and has introduced me to people within the field of fisheries to expand my network,” she wrote in her nomination letter. “He has challenged me in ways that will make me a competitive candidate for graduate school, while making sure I am comfortable with all that is on my plate.”
This same student stated that her experience isn’t unique, and affirmed that Perkin extends the same effort to other students hoping to get involved.
“Dr. Perkin has not only extended himself to help me; he has been responsible for involving numerous other undergraduates in research,” she wrote.
She stated that Dr. Perkin not only cares deeply about their academic achievements, but also seeks to provide avenues for students to gain more experience in the field, to better set them up for success after graduation.
This kind, passionate, and resourceful mentor, she writes, is transforming students in AFS.
“In the short time I have known him, I have seen how a young professor with passion and drive can make a huge difference, not only in an organization like TAMU AFS, but in students’ lives.”