Thursday, April 16, 2015

I am Auriel Fournier, and this is How I Work

Today, I have invited Auriel Fournier to share with us how she works. Auriel is a Phd Candidate in the Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Arkansas. She has a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Management from Michigan Technological University and has worked with birds in 10 states over the past decade on various projects. Her current work focuses on rail migration and wetland management and how to manage inland wetlands for the widest diversity of species. she describes herself as an avid birder, environmental educator, R user and outdoor enthusiast. She is passionate about getting people excited about their natural resources and increasing the diversity of people who are in science, and who enjoy the outdoors. Check out her website aurielmvfournier.com and Twitter account @RallidaeRule .

Current Job: PhD Candidate (3rd year) with the Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit - University of Arkansas
Current Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA
Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy S5
Current computer: Dell desktop at school (Windows 8), 2011 macbook pro on the go (Yosemite), sometimes take over husband's desktop (also Dell) at home (Windows 7)

Can you briefly explain your current situation and research to us?
I am a full time student who is supported by a research assistantship in the summer and fall and a teaching assistantship in the spring. During the fall I am out in the wetlands of Missouri surveying birds for most of the semester for my dissertation research. When I'm not in the field I spend most of my time in the office writing, modeling and teaching. I'm part of a lab that studies a variety of different birds and their migration and habitat needs.

What tools, apps and software are essential to your workflow?
I do all of my stats/programming/data management in R, so I spend a lot of time in R Studio. I use Evernote to capture things I find online that I want to keep long term. I use Xodo for pdf reading/annotation on both my desktop and tablet. I use Git/Github to maintain version control on my data and code. I use Dropbox to keep all of my other materials synced between all my devices and backed up. I use Mendeley for citation management, which might not be essential on a daily basis, but when I'm doing a lot of writing it is essential.

What does your workspace setup look like?
At work I have a standing desk (just converted a few weeks back and loving it!). My standing desk is just made out of some old shelves and milk crates/cinder blocks on top of my old sitting desk. I have a fatigue mat I stole from home to keep my feet happy and am barefoot/in my socks most of the time. I do most of my work during the week at my office at work. My office is a group office, with my five labmates, and the floor's lunch fridge and sink. Its a pretty busy space. I spend most of my day with headphones on.

On the weekends/evenings I often work at home, normally I save my reading for this time and just read on the couch, but I will occasionally commandeer my husband's desktop computer and work there.



What is your best advice for productive academic work?
Break things up into small pieces, schedule your time so that you have time for reading/writing at least every other day if not every day.

How do you keep an overview of projects and tasks?
I have a five year plan set up in an Google Drive spreadsheet to help me keep track of the big picture with deadlines (both hard ones, and self set ones), (inspired by this: ). This helps me set and maintain monthly/semester goals. The last 3 years of the plan are pretty vague right now except for a few meetings I want to attend, since I have no idea where I will be job wise.

For the day to day I use Wunderlist to maintain my projects. Each MS has its own list with due dates and so I can look at project specific tasks or look at what is due for this week as a whole.

Besides phone and computer, do you use other technological tools in work and daily life?
I have an asus memo tablet that I use for reading/annotating pdfs. I would like to use it more for note taking but haven't been able to afford a good enough stylus yet.

Which skill makes you stand out as an academic?
For an ecologist I have very strong quantitative and coding skills. I am also very passionate about the organisms (rails) and system (wetlands) I study.

What do you listen to when you work?
Typically music, I have a few playlists on spotify that I cycle through. Some are more upbeat music, but often its just classical or something in the background. I often overlay it with coffivity to drown out my five office mates.

What are you currently reading?
I'm currently rereading Game of Thrones in preparation for Season 5 coming out in April. I would love to say I do tons of great non-work related non-fiction reading, but that is just not the case. If I'm not reading for school I'm either catching up on blogs or reading some kind of fantasy novel.

Are you more of an introvert or extrovert? How does this influence your working habits?

I am more of an introvert by nature, I don't enjoy spending time with people I don't know well and even then I often prefer working alone. As a result I spend a lot of time with my headphones on in the office and don't jump into conversations unless someone pulls me in specifically.

What's your sleep routine like?
I am up between 6 and 620 every day so I can catch the first bus to campus. I am normally in bed by 10, and trying to sleep by 1030. I am not the best sleeper, so while this might sound like a lot of sleep, it often isn't. I use twilight on my phone/computer to red phase my screens at sunset to help me sleep and I try to switch over to my kindle for reading before bed.

What's the best advice you ever received?
Almost nothing worth doing is easy, always try to work towards long term gains, the short term victories are rarely worth it.

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