Student Affairs Committee

The Student Affairs Committee (SAC), established in 1989, is an integral part of the society since students make up half of the AES membership. Our student membership not only delivers insightful research at society meetings, but is also responsible for several key roles and events. The SAC, which is committed to the service of all students in the society, oversees these responsibilities and events. Many of the society’s annual awards are student-focused, designed to recognize and support the high quality of AES students members’ research.

The SAC is a standing committee, and its members are appointed (or re-appointed) by the AES president on an annual basis. The Committee serves from one annual meeting until the next. After each annual meeting, the SAC chair contacts the current President to discuss the next year’s SAC chair and members. As a body, the committee examines graduate student concerns and needs within AES. It also suggests policy changes to the President and to the Executive Committee. It serves as a direct link between students and AES leadership to ensure the needs of all members are recognized.

Get Involved

How to get involved with the SAC and its activities

Any student AES member in good standing may consider themselves a candidate for participating in, and helping with, student activities and events. The SAC will circulate vacancies for leadership roles at the annual meeting, as they become available.

The SAC runs a store at each annual meeting, which also serves as a gathering and meeting place — not only when volunteering, but at any other time you’d like to take a break from the conference, connect with fellow students, or learn about opportunities to become involved.

Outside of the AES meetings themselves, there is a Facebook page for students to remain connected.

SAC Chair

The SAC chair delegates assignments and duties to its members, and to work closely with them on all aspects of those duties and in the development of new ones as needed. Additionally, the chair must keep in contact with the President (and Board of Directors if necessary) regarding presentation and approval of new ideas for future meetings, student body needs and requests and adding new members to the SAC. The chair coordinates SAC meeting events and needs for the annual AES meetings. Any monetary needs for this need to be discussed with the AES President and Treasurer in advance.

The chair presents an SAC report at the annual Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and general business meetings. As such, the chair should make every attempt to be at the annual meetings, or forward their report to the President. This report is intended to provide updates on SAC activities for the past year. The chair organizes and runs the annual student business meeting. It is important for the chair to contact the Executive Committee soon after each meeting to arrange for the Student Business Meeting to be included in the agenda for the following year’s meeting. The formalization of this student meeting has been of enormous help to the SAC and student body.

2023/2024 SAC Chair: Ashley Dawdy email

Leadership Roles

SAC Leadership Roles

SAC leaders work in coordination to meet the needs of the AES student members and society as a whole. They play a large role in running the AES Store during annual meetings. These are specific duties performed by each position on the committee followed by the current leader in each role:


AES Store Coordinators: Manage store logistics including setup/takedown, volunteers, store items, and transactions. Michelle Edwards + 1 available position
Annual Student Workshop Coordinator: Works with SAC members to decide on a workshop topic, recruits panelists, and coordinates the event at the annual meeting. Triana Arguedas
Annual Student Auction and Donation Coordinators: Manage donations ahead of and during the conference, as well as managing the auction itself and associated transactions. Ashley Dawdy
Meeting T-shirt Coordinator: Coordinate the design contest for each meeting’s t-shirt, as well as ordering and distributing shirts at the annual meeting. Emily Sapp
Webmaster: Publishes information relevant to students on the society website, such as student award winners and the activities of student members outside of the annual meetings. Cecilia Hampton
Facebook Group Administrator: Moderate the AES Student Facebook page. Matthew Bernanke
Members at large: Assist with activities of the SAC as needed, such as in the roles above.  2 positions available
Post-doc and early-career representatives: Advise the SAC from the perspective of one working in the field of elasmobranchs after finishing their education. Bryan Keller and Cheston Peterson


How to submit comments and questions

The purpose of the SAC is to represent and address the needs of AES student members. Please email us with questions, ideas, or concerns which you feel apply to this group.


Upcoming Events

The SAC will advertise information for upcoming social events on the AES Student Facebook page, “Students of the American Elasmobranch Society

Recent Events

Student workshops: Recent topics and panelists

  • 2023: How to Get a Job in Shark Science (Tonya Wiley, Bryan Frazier, Catherine Macdonald, Kady Lyons)
  • 2022: Career Path Fair ()
  • 2021:
  • 2020:
  • 2019: Mental Health in Graduate School (Dr. Paula Williams, Dovi Kacev, Beth Bowers, and Kyle Newton)
  • 2018: No workshop because of Sharks International
  • 2017: Integrating Science and Policy (Bob Hueter, Sonja Fordham, and Nicholas Dulvy)
  • 2016: The Ins and Outs of Securing Funding (Dean Grubbs, Kyle Newton, Chris Lowe, and Bryan Frazier)

Annual Meeting Events (Recurring)

1. Student Auction: Each year at the annual meeting, the SAC organizes an auction to support student awards. Donations range from elasmobranch books and art to acoustic receivers. There is a silent auction component, which can be seen and bid on at the SAC store, and a live auction component at the closing banquet.

2. Student Workshop: Each year, the SAC organizes a lunch-time workshop on a topic suggested by student members. This event comprises a panel of experts (mostly AES members), followed by lots of time for questions and discussion.

3. Student Social: The SAC hosts a casual social close to the conference venue – they will advertise this in the conference program and pre-event emails.


AES Store

The SAC organizes and runs the AES Store at each year’s annual conference. We rely upon student volunteers to help run the store, sell merchandise, and provide information about the annual meeting to the members of AES. Working at the store is a great opportunity to meet other members of the society, while helping to run one of the society’s primary revenue generating sources. Proceeds from the AES Store help fund student travel.

To sign up: The AES Store coordinator will contact all students with volunteer requirements ahead of the annual meeting; if you have no required hours, please contact the store coordinator ahead of the annual meeting to volunteer. If you are competing for or receiving an award please see the Awards Funding page for requirements specific to that award funding. Thanks for your support!