Your Hosts

Aaron Bunch

  • Current PhD Student advised by Dr. Troy Farmer, Dept. of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, Clemson University
  • MS in Fisheries and Aquatic Science, University of Florida (2008)
  • BS in Fisheries and Wildlife Science, North Carolina State University (2006)
  • Interests:  Family man, angler, hunter, hiker, camper, foodie, hobby farmer (former), photographer, sports fan, dog lover
There is an undeniable gap in diversity within the fisheries profession.  I have lived it for 15 years having rarely worked directly with a student or biologist of color.  Diversity and inclusion are critical components of education and employment, which ultimately leads to better workplace environments, higher profitability, and most importantly, happier people.  There are clear social, political, ethical, and moral benefits.  My goal is to be part of the solution which is to create equitable access and inclusive research circles for communities historically underrepresented in natural resources.  It’s time to break down barriers and biases while working towards improving diversity throughout the fisheries profession.  

Deon Kerr

  • Future MS Student advised by Dr. Troy Farmer, Dept. of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, Clemson University
  • BS in Aquatic Biology, Bowling Green State University (2020)
  • Interests:  Euro-style carp angling, things that go vroom, car racing

Please come prepared with an open mind ready to think critically. Humans struggle between what is right and wrong. Our personal morals and ethics are shaped by cultural norms and the ones that surround us including our family, friends, classmates, and colleagues. Our podcast would like to critique your philosophy by challenging some of your personal beliefs regarding right and wrong. We want you to ask yourself this “Is the way I am viewing this situation or issue correct or is it wrong?” “What is it that I am not seeing?” These are great questions to start with and it is very important to answer them honestly. Try not to find an answer based on what benefits you but what’s centered around the truth of the matter.

Cassidy Miles


I am a White Queer Cis-Woman 

  • Current MS Biology student at Western Illinois University advised by Dr. Jim Lamer of the Illinois Natural History Survey 
  • BS in Biology, Southwestern Illinois University of Edwardsville (2013)
  • Interests: Roller skating, roller derby (pre-coronavirus), hiking with my dog, picking up trash, outreach and education 

The organisms and systems we study are diverse and evolve over time. Why doesn’t this apply to us conducting the research?  We need to learn together and grow together. I hope to normalize questioning the “norm” and being allowed to change your mind about something. It is okay to mess up as long as you own up to it, learn, and keep trying! Let us break down barriers so that any and all have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, whether that be recreationally and/or professionally! 


Lian Guo


  • PhD Candidate in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
  • BA in Organismal Biology from Scripps College
  • Studying thermal ecophysiology of juvenile river herring
  • Interests: science communication, cooking/baking, puzzles, traveling anywhere with beautiful water and aquatic life, diversity and inclusion

The quality of our fisheries science and management is limited by the talent and perspective in our workforce. It’s time to ask ourselves the hard questions: Why are we missing certain groups of people from the fisheries workforce? How do those people feel when they’re in the room? What systemic barriers can we remove to radically transform who can access and feel included in our profession? Social issues influence every aspect of our work, and it’s time we talk about and address it!

Thank you for checking out the Fisheries Diversity and Inclusion Podcast!
We encourage you to join us to explore success stories, learn more about systemic barriers to inclusion, and meet some amazing fisheries professionals.
For suggestions on topics or to provide constructive feedback, you can email us at [email protected].

Recent Episodes

Jan 19, 2023

Ep. 16 – Inclusive Hiring Practices

Those who hire in fisheries are facing new challenges in recruiting large and competitive applicant pools. Co-host Lian Guo speaks with Hadley Boehm and George Scholten about why hiring an excellent team of people also means hiring a diverse team of people, and reflect on the Inclusive Hiring training that Hadley led for supervisors in George’s workplace. Check out the resources and survey that Hadley shared during the episode below!

Feb 16th, 2022

Ep. 15 – Black Labor in White Spaces:
A Conversation with Dr. Ambrose Jearld, Jr.

Dr. Ambrose Jearld Jr. led an incredibly successful career in fisheries science and academic programming, and worked in predominantly white spaces for most of his life. Co-host Dr. Lian Guo spoke with Ambrose about his barriers and successes in building a career while Black, while working to further diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Please celebrate Black History Month (and every month) by centering Black voices and experiences.

Dec 8th, 2021


Aaron Bunch (co-host) emphasizes that inclusion can happen now—in an instant—with genuine positive communication directed at someone who has a different identity than you. A person feeling included really comes down to an individual having a sense of belonging and value within a group of people. Over the past year as hosts of the Fisheries Diversity and Inclusion Podcast have interviewed guests, significant themes have emerged in context to “inclusion.”

We challenge you to use inclusion principles into your daily routine and set the following goals with people who are not like you: (1) find commonality through daily chats and do more listening than talking, (2) become a mentor, whether its formal or informal, (3) build meaningful relationships, and (4) be willing to be inclusive out loud as an ally.

The publication discussed in the podcast can be found here.

Oct 13th, 2021


Cassidy Miles (co-host; She/Her) embarks on a topic that is often misunderstood.  Dig in and find out why.  Podcast guest, Dr. Jason DeBoer (He/Him) of the Illinois Natural History Survey joins in the conversation. 

The article we reference in the episode is found here:

Quote mentioned in the podcast:

“We need to be clear that there is no such thing as giving up one’s privilege to be ‘outside’ the system. One is always in the system. The only question is whether one is part of the system in a way that challenges or strengthens the status quo. Privilege is not something I take and which therefore have the option of not taking. It is something that society gives me, and unless I change the institutions which give it to me, they will continue to give it, and I will continue to have it, however noble and equalitarian my intentions.”

− Harry Brod, “Work Clothes and Leisure Suits: The Class Basis and Bias of the Men’s Movement,” in Men’s Lives, ed. Michael S. Kimmel and Michael Messner (New York: Macmillan, 1989), 280.

Sept 22nd, 2021


Deon Kerr (co-host) dives into an important topic when it comes to equality in fisheries.  Financial barriers are real.  Financial disparities can be a primary deterrent to entering the fisheries profession.  Dr. Brian Sidlauskas, associate professor and curator of fishes at Oregon State University, joins the conversation and brings in examples of how employers and academic faculty can support their employees and students (graduate and undergraduate) to overcome financial barriers. 

Sept 8th, 2021


In this Part 2 of 2 series, multiple co-hosts team up to lead a discussion as we continue the conversation with Dr. Ivan Arismendi.  Students, faculty, and guests within the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation at Clemson University sit in on this unique podcast episode.  Students ask some great questions and Dr. Todd Petty (Dept. Head) joins Dr. Arismendi to give insight on how academia can facilitate and improve DEI in the fisheries profession.  

Check out these great publications referenced in the talk!

Aug 26th, 2021


The American Fisheries Society (AFS) established a career achievement award, named after the first female AFS president, Dr. Emmeline Moore (1927-1928), to recognize efforts of an individual member in the promotion of demographic diversity in the Society.  In 2020, Dr. Ivan Arismendi of Oregon State University won this prestigious award at the AFS Virtual Annual Meeting. 

This podcast (Part 1 of 2) is a recording of Dr. Arismendi’s spring seminar presentation to students, faculty, and guests within the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation at Clemson University.  Dr. Arismendi discusses in detail examples of unconscious bias, he paints a picture of our profession through published research and statistics, and provides important messages for listeners.  Have a listen and be looking out for Part 2 where we dive deep into discussion with Dr. Arismendi in a follow-up episode!     

Check out these great publications referenced in the talk!

Aug 5th, 2021


Lian Guo (co-host) jumps back into discussing a collaborative transdisciplinary research effort in this PART 2 portion of a two-part series. If you missed Part 1, be sure to have a listen first! Collaborative transdisciplinary research may be more challenging that your average research project, but the results are worth it! Listen to part 2 of our conversation with a transdisciplinary research team as they chat about their experience doing transdisciplinary research for the first time as early career researchers. We also speak with Dr. Nicole Motzer, Assistant Director for Interdisciplinary Science at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, to get her perspective on why transdisciplinary research is important in fisheries and what tools exist for getting started in this type of research. To hear more reflections and recommendations on the transdisciplinary research process, check out the team’s publication: LINK

Jul 21st, 2021


Lian Guo (co-host) facilitates a great discussion on subsistence fishing. Collaborative transdisciplinary research efforts are an integrative way to approach socio-ecological fisheries issues. Meet a team of six researchers who completed a transdisciplinary fisheries research project, all while they were graduate students! In part one of two episodes, the team will share how they studied this research question: how are the fishing practices of urban marine subsistence fishers acknowledged and protected by urban and environmental policy? You can check out their published research paper here: LINK

Jan 27th, 2021


Lian Guo and Aaron Bunch collaborate on a great conversation with Dr. Andrea Reid.  Have you ever thought about the history of the land you are on right now?  Look around you.  Many places are named after Native American/Indigenous Peoples.  Dr. Reid discusses many important aspects of the relationship between Native/Indigenous Peoples and Fisheries.  She discusses her open access paper which defines the concept of Two‐Eyed Seeing (Etuaptmumk in Mi’kmaw) which embraces “learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, and from the other eye with the strengths of mainstream knowledges and ways of knowing, and to use both these eyes together, for the benefit of all,” as envisaged by Elder Dr. Albert Marshall. Please visit the podcast link to access more resources related to this episode.

Dec 2nd, 2020


Aaron Bunch and Deon Kerr welcome two new co-hosts, Lian Guo and Cassidy Miles, who have shown dedication and leadership in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in the American Fisheries Society (AFS).  You might remember them from Sept. 9 episode 4 when we discussed DEI Day which occurred during the AFS Virtual Annual Meeting.  We loved their spunk, knowledge, great voices, and dedication so much we asked them to join the podcast team!

In this week’s episode of the “Fisheries Diversity and Inclusion Podcast”, We are joined by Ernest Muhammad, SCDNR biologist and Executive Director of the LowCountry Alliance for Model Communities, who will discuss the details of a grassroots initiative in the South Carolina LowCountry that blends community programs, STEM education, research, and outreach. Also learn about the “Gullah Geechee” people who live along coastal communities of the southeast coast.

This podcast was video recorded as part of the recent AFS Virtual Annual Meeting!  If you would rather see us in action, feel free to check us and other important D&I content here

In this week’s episode of the “Fisheries Diversity and Inclusion Podcast”, Aaron Bunch interviews members of the AFS Equal Opportunities Section planning committee to preview an important day that AFS has themed “Diversity and Inclusion Day“. 

Although, we hope you decide to register for the 2020 AFS Virtual Annual Meeting, the specific content described in the podcast is FREE to anyone who would like to register.   

In this week’s episode of the “Fisheries Diversity and Inclusion Podcast”, Deon Kerr and Aaron Bunch have a powerful and truly educational discussion with Jerad Green who has dedicated his life to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in academia and elsewhere.  This is a great opportunity to learn from an expert on the Black Lives Matter movement.

SHARK WEEK DEI SPECIAL!!!  Aaron Bunch spends time with Executive Board members of the Minorities in Shark Sciences (MISS) to discuss their important mission.  Check out their awesome website and consider donating to their cause.  These researchers have a passion for sharks, and want to pave the way for future generations!  

This week we are previewing a new podcast hosted by by Aaron Bunch and Deon Kerr all about diversity and inclusion in the field of fisheries. In this podcast they’ll be talking about a variety of topics that affect all of our lives.