Michigan Sea Grant Extension Educators Meaghan Gass and Dan O’Keefe received awards this winter that celebrate their career achievements and the power of partnership.

Meaghan GassMeaghan Gass, based in the Saginaw Bay region, received the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Division Partnership Award. The award is presented to individuals and organizations that have shown dedication and enthusiasm for developing creative and innovative approaches to recreational fisheries or protection of fisheries resources.

Michigan DNR staff celebrated Meaghan’s hard work in her region, noting that, “[I]n just a few years as a Sea Grant educator, Meaghan has built a strong network of stakeholders in the [B]ay region and is a trusted source of information for natural resources management and protection.”

Dan OKeefeDan O’Keefe, serving west Michigan, was honored with a prestigious Distinguished Academic Staff award from Michigan State University. The award celebrates academic specialists and MSU Extension staff who embody extraordinary achievement, excellence, and exceptional contributions in their field. Dan’s commitment to sharing science-based information makes him a valuable asset to recreational anglers, charter fishers, lake management agencies, and others in his seven-county district. He has launched several community science initiatives that help anglers gather vital fishery data, including the “Great Lakes Angler Diary” virtual reporting app.

As an Ottawa County Parks employee noted in support of Dan’s award nomination, “Not every educator is a research scientist and not every scientist is a true educator. However, O’Keefe is one of a few people who does both very well.”

Well done, Dan and Meaghan! We look forward to safely celebrating with you in person soon.