Students receive financial assistance from Bass Fishing HOF to further fisheries and natural resource studies

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – 8/1/23 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Supporting those whose future career paths will focus on healthy fisheries, essential access, and clean rivers, lakes and reservoirs, the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors has announced the 10 recipients of the inaugural Fishery Management Scholarship program stipends. Each of the winners will receive a $2,500 stipend to assist with undergraduate and post-graduate educational needs during the 2023-24 school year. 

“Through the Board’s many contacts in fishery management positions at state, federal and provincial levels, we are aware of the need for future fishery and natural resource professionals,” said BFHOF Board president John Mazurkiewicz. “We also know many of those same folks come from the ranks of recreational anglers, especially those who enjoy bass fishing. This project not only abides by our mission of celebrating, promoting and preserving the sport, but it also has an impact on well-managed recreational fisheries throughout the U.S. and Canada. Along with assisting these students financially so they can pursue their educational goals, the Bass Fishing HOF is also doing a small part to support the business side of our sport. There’s no need to manufacture and/or buy bass tackle, boats and other essential gear if there is a shortage of healthy bass fishing waters in which to use them.” 

Six of the recipients are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in their chosen fields while the other four are working toward a master’s degree. The recipients are (in alphabetical order):

Ryan Baker 
Hometown: Holladay, Tenn. 
College/University: University of Tennessee at Martin  
Area of Study: B.S., Wildlife & Fisheries Biology 

Sawyer Batterson 
Hometown: Providence, Pa. 
College/University: SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry 
Area of Study: B.S., Fisheries Science  

Natalie Coash 
Hometown:Grand Rapids, Mich. 
College/University: Auburn  
Area of Study:M.S., Fisheries & Aquatic Science  

Abigale Culberson 
Hometown: Waterville, New Brunswick, Canada 
College/University:University of New Brunswick at Fredericton 
Area of Study: M.S., Environmental Management 

Nicholas Foster 
Hometown: Lakeview, Ala. 
College/University: Birmingham Southern  
Area of Study: B.S., Environmental Science 

Trevor Johnston 
Hometown: Flower Mound, Texas 
College/University: Texas A&M 
Area of Study: B.S., Wildlife & Fisheries Management 

Terra Martinez 
Hometown: Las Cruces, N.M. 
College/University: New Mexico State 
Area of Study: B.S., Wildlife & Fisheries Management 

Marcus Prull 
Hometown: Maquoketa, Iowa 
College/University: Auburn 
Area of Study: M.S., Fisheries & Aquatic Science 

Max Rubino 
Hometown: Craig, Mt. 
College/University: Auburn 
Area of Study: M.S., Fisheries & Aquatic Science 

Dade Vincent 
Hometown: Graham, Ky. 
College/University: Murray State 
Area of Study: B.S., Fisheries Biology

According to noted fisheries biologist Gene Gilliland, who is both a 2022 Bass Fishing HOF and also chairs the Board’s conservation committee, the assistance program drew 39 applicants, all of whom had to show their passion for the sport by being a member of either B.A.S.S. or Major League Fishing.  

“We then enlisted the assistance of key individuals in senior positions in fishery management and government affairs in the review process,” said Gilliland. “They poured over the applications, transcripts and recommendation letters to come up with the top 10.”  

Among those who participated in the selection process were Phil Morlock, Director of Government Affairs with the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association; Chris Horton, Senior Director of Fisheries Policy with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation; Ross Self, Chief of Inland Fisheries for the South Carolina DNR; and Dr. Mark Rogers, Tennessee Cooperative Fishery Research Unit Leader at Tennessee Tech University.  

Mazurkiewicz noted that programs like the BFHOF’s conservations grants and the now Fishery Management Scholarship stipends would never be possible without the support the Hall receives from past inductees, professional anglers competing on the B.A.S.S and MLF tournament trails, bass anglers nationwide who support the Hall’s annual online auctions, and many leading companies involved in the bass fishing industry.  

The BFHOF Board will announce details and application requirement for the 2024 Fishery Management Scholarship program later this year. It again expects to award at least $25,000 to up to 10 students looking to pursue degrees in natural resource fields with an end goal of becoming a practicing fishery manager. 

The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame will honor the Class of 2023 at its annual induction ceremony on September 28th  at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium adjacent to the Bass Pro Shop flagship store in Springfield, Mo. Glen Andrews, Bruce Holt and Mike Iaconelli will be inducted. 

“Special thanks again go to B.A.S.S. and MLF, along with Phoenix Boats, for being presenting sponsors at our upcoming 2023 induction ceremony and festivities,” said Mazurkiewicz. “The evening has finally reached that ‘must attend’ status in the sport, and because of it, bass anglers in the U.S. and Canada see the benefits.” 

For more information, visit the BFHOF website at