Elizabeth Figus is an applied social scientist and Fisheries PhD Candidate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her research focuses on integrating local knowledge of commercial fishermen into fisheries management, using case studies in Poland and Alaska. Elizabeth draws on training in Sociology (BA, Mount Holyoke College), International Relations (BA, Mount Holyoke College), Central European Studies (MA, Jagiellonian University, Poland), and fisheries science (PhD Candidate, University of Alaska Fairbanks) to develop interdisciplinary approaches for creating and maintaining sustainable coastal fisheries worldwide. She is keenly interested in small-scale fisheries, community-based management, and cooperative management. Elizabeth is committed to furthering applied anthropological methods, especially in the field of Fisheries. After completing her PhD, Elizabeth hopes to continue her career in a line of work that allows her to mold together qualitative and quantitative analysis methods in order to present coherent narratives of fishermen’s local knowledge to broad audiences of scientists and stakeholders.
Statement: I would love to serve in the student seat on the Board of Directors for the Society for Applied Anthropology. I can bring a strong skillset and lasting commitment to the SfAA Board, and I believe that Board membership at the SfAA will be an invaluable learning experience. After my first meeting, I knew that the SfAA would become part of my conference schedule for the rest of my life. As an interdisciplinary student in a natural science-based university department, SfAA meetings have provided me not only with a breath of fresh air each spring, but also much-needed critique and feedback on the social science methods used in my ongoing fisheries research.
I have attended SfAA annual meetings twice, acting as a student volunteer on both occasions and co-organizing a two-part oral presentation session for graduate students during 2017. My experience includes service as the Secretary/Treasurer on the Board of the Socioeconomics Section of the American Fisheries Society, as well as Secretary on the Board of a non-profit in Southeast Alaska, The Cape Decision Lighthouse Society. My experience as an interdisciplinary PhD Candidate has taught me the importance of forging my own path to make a difference in my field(s), while working with a diverse team of collaborators in order to ensure success.
As student member of the Board, I will be able to promote and exemplify the mission of the SfAA, to be broadly inclusive of professionals across a wide range of work settings, as we work to investigate the principles of human behavior and the application of these principles to contemporary issues.