The Sally Leonard Richardson Award
Given annually for the best student oral paper presented at the Annual Larval Fish Conference.
This prestigious award, presented by the AFS Early Life History Section for the best student presentation at the Larval Fish Conference, commemorates the life and work of Sally Leonard Richardson. Sally was a dedicated and accomplished scientist, who passed away unexpectedly in 1986 while on her way to the Tenth Annual Larval Fish Conference in Miami. So bereaved by her passing was one of her friends and colleagues, that this anonymous benefactor appropriated personal funds to establish a ‘best paper’ award in her memory. Subsequently, a second individual also contributed to the cause. Thus, the inaugural Sally Leonard Richardson Award was made in Miami in 1986.
A committee was established in the Spring of 1988 to consider the long-term future of the Sally Richardson Award. The committee recommended that the Richardson Award should become a student award, that is should not be restricted by citizenship, nor by membership in the Section or its parent society; and that the local committee of each Larval Fish Conference appoint judges, execute the competition, and conduct a raffle to generate funds which, along with other donations, would increase the Award Endowment Fund. In addition, this committee developed judging criteria for the Award (see below). Winners have been selected annually since 1988.
The status of the award was reassessed in 1997 by an ad hoc committee. In consultation with the original benefactor, the committee recommended that the Richardson Award should “remain a student award because Sally was so involved in stimulating students” (the words of the benefactor). The committee also recommended that the endowment be increased to become self-supporting, and hopefully increased in the future. In 2000 the Richardson Award Committee was changed from ad hoc status to a standing committee in recognition of the importance of the award. The Section also moved to double the endowment by twice transferring money from the general account of the ELHS to the Richardson Award Endowment Fund, so that interest alone would cover the award. At the same time the Section doubled the cash prize for the award from $150 to $300 for 2000, and again from $300 to $600 for 2001. The Sally Richardson raffle was changed from mandatory to voluntary, at the discretion of the LFC Local Organizing Committee. The Sally Richardson Award Committee now administers the competition, appointing judges and selecting the winner, while the Local Committee schedules the student papers.
Currently, the award is accompanied by a handsome plaque, a $600 check, and, at the request of the originating benefactor, a reprint of Sally’s obituary report published in Copeia. Students are strongly encouraged to review the judging criteria and present their work at the Larval Fish Conference to compete for this prestigious award. Inquiries about the Sally Richardson Award or contributions to the Award Endowment fund should be directed to Grace Klein-MacPhee, Chair of the Sally Richardson Award Committee.
Following with tradition, there will be a RAFFLE to raise funds for the Award.
Please consider donating something to this worthy cause. Bring your donations with you, or send them to us in advance of the meeting. Popular raffle items include books, illustrations, T-shirts, hats, "fishy" items such as bric-a-brac, wall hangings, mugs or vases, jewelry, ties, etc. You might also consider items from your own country, state or region (such as regional wines or micro-beers), or anything that might appeal to attendees.
All items to be raffled will be displayed near the Registration Table and you will have the opportunity to buy tickets (at a nominal price) and take a chance to win those that most interest you.
As always, proceeds from this event will be added to the Sally Richardson Endowment Fund, and will provide future funding for awards, student subsidies, and other worthwhile causes.
Judging Criteria for the Sally Leonard Richardson Best Student Paper Award
1. Research, Management or Cultural Value - 35 Points
A. Originality and Conclusiveness - The value of the study in communicating and presenting unique or innovative methods, concepts or interpretations and/or the relevance of the study findings to scientific and management activities.
B. Technical Merit - The value of the analytical content of the material presented. This will be influenced by the adequacy and appropriateness of any analytical methods or statistical procedures used in the study, by the accuracy and consonance of the interpretations with the study results, and by the awareness and evaluation by the speaker of any limitations in the methods, hypotheses, results and implications of the paper.
C. Scope and Complexity - Are the findings of broad general interest or applicability rather than site specific?
2. Structure and Content - 20 Points
A. Organization - The value of the paper in terms of the structure of the presentation. This will be influenced by both thematic and logical development of the scope of the paper, the background and historical context for the study reported upon (i.e., purpose and orientations), serial progression of results relating to the purpose or hypotheses for undertaking the study, and formulation and expression of logically derived conclusions, interpretations, and implications of the study results.
B. Understandability - Do both the presentation and the paper, if available, present the material so it can be readily understood by workers not engaged in that particular specialty or locality?
C. Effort - How much effort was involved? Two weeks, six months, two years?. Was the study carefully planned and conducted, or did it develop as a by-product of other work? Did the author use pertinent literature?
3. Presentation - 30 Points
A. Verbal - The value of the paper in terms of the manner in which it is delivered. This will be influenced by voice quality, enthusiasm, grammar, eye-to eye contact with the audience. posture and non-verbal body actions, pronunciation and articulation, and a sense of sensitivity toward the audience.
Does the author speak clearly? Does the author hem, haw, and digress, or does the author stick to making the points as succinctly as possible? Does the author keep the audience interested or bored? Is the author at ease, or uptight?
B. Visual aids - The value of visual materials (slides, overheads) in abetting or enhancing the oral delivery and presentation. This will be influenced by the visibility of the aids, the simplicity and comprehensibility of the aids, the relevance of the visual aids in clarifying oral subject matter or in reinforcing oral comments. Speakers should talk to the audience and only look towards the visual aid when necessary to make a specific point. Visual aids should always be adjunct and not integral to the oral presentation!
Does the author use slides judiciously to illustrate findings? Can graphs or tables be easily grasped, or does it take ten minutes to find out what is being demonstrated?
4. Abstract and Title - 10 Points
Does the title accurately describe the subject? Does the abstract concisely state the principle objectives and scope of the investigation, describe the methodology, summarize the results and state the principal conclusions?
5. Other Considerations - 5 Points
Does the presentation evoke questions and discussion or is there a dead silence? (This is often difficult to grade as the author may have answered most questions in the presentation. Audience reaction may be helpful in grading on this point.)
This may be used to indicate the general impression of the presentation, and to reward unique or attractive points, such as the judicious use of humor, or other features which do not fit exactly into the other criteria. It should be considered as extra and not automatically awarded.