February 10

Auriel Fournier

Auriel M.V. Fournier, PhD Candidate
Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
University of Arkansas

Life Inside the Lab

What is your research topic? I study wetland management and bird migration.

What was your best day of science? Oh that is hard, there have been many good ones. Everytime I get to go out and catch my study species’ is a great day. Last fall I got invited to give a keynote talk about my research, which was pretty awesome.

What was your worst day in science? Probably the day a mistake I made killed a bird. I thought I was going to lose my job and never do science again.

profilepicAuriel M.V. Fournier will be defending her PhD in February & has a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Management. Follow along with her science at @RallidaeRule on Twitter.

What is your favorite piece of technology or equipment you get to use in your job? ATVs

What does your average day look like? 9 months of the year I’m in the office every day, arrive around 730, am here until around 5. I work on papers, analyze data, teach some semesters, meet with students and collaborators. The other three months I’m in the field, so I’m working nights doing surveys, and days running my research project.

Life Outside of Lab

Where did you grow up? Northwest Ohio

What profession did you think you would be when you were a kid? Scientist

What do you do to relax outside of lab? Watch TV, crochet, cuddle with my dogs.

Do you have any pets? Two dogs, Luna and Nova

These little cuties are named Nova and Luna. Their hobbies include long walks, and barking at squirrels.cy29ojnwqaa48rz

Do you have any fun hobbies? No, only boring hobbies 😉 I enjoy cooking, crochet, board games, birding, backpacking, rock climbing.

What is your family life, and how did it develop along with your career? I met my husband in undergrad, we were in the same major, so our careers have been running at the same time, though not always in parallel. He spends a lot of time working elsewhere in the country throughout my PhD.

Big Picture

What was your biggest motivation to obtain your PhD? I wanted a career doing conservation focused research.

What is your best advice for girls interested in science? Never stop asking questions, know that the road is going to be bumpy, but there are many of us here to help you through it, you’re going to have to work harder than some of your peers for the same thing, so get ready.

Why do you think it is important to have more women in STEM? If we want the best science to happen we need to have the best of everyone, women, men, racial and ethnic groups, people with disability, members of the LGBTQ community, religious and cultural groups, etc, etc. If we only have white guys in science, we only get the best science they can do, and that just isn’t good enough.

Is there any one event or person who/that made you want to be a scientist? I was very lucky to have an entire village of people, starting with my parents and growing from there to encourage my love of science growing up and helping me find my way into a good university for undergrad and now into graduate school.

Auriel is at the grand prismatic spring in Yellowstone National Park11800275_10152982705065423_7969202949754173411_n

Why were you drawn to science? Did you ever consider another career path? How close was your schooling related to your current job? I’ve wanted to be a scientist and I’ve been fascinated by birds since I was very young, so my career path isn’t very surprising. I occasionally dabbled in other things growing up, writing, art, music, but science was always there to some extent.

Are there any women in STEM who are inspiring you right now? I find Katherine Crocker (@cricketcrocker) really inspiring.


10931240_10152555611080423_4669211033784967392_nAuriel is holding a Yellow Rail while collecting feathers for a migratory connectivity project.

What is your favorite book? Oh that is hard. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is always good
What is your favorite desk snack? Chocolate, or veggies and hummus
What is your favorite cartoon? I’m not a big cartoon person.
What would you listen to while writing? Lately the soundtrack to Hidden Figures
What was your favorite subject in high school? Science
What is the strangest thing on your desk right now? Probably a dog toy that looks like BB8.
Organization nut, or curated chaos? Good balance of both, my work is well organized, my belongings are not.
What color socks are you wearing? None, I wear sandals/go barefoot whenever possible.

Contact Auriel on Twitter @RallidaeRule

Auriel’s Blog can be found here: aurielfournier.github.io