Brainy Girls: Hi Brenda! I'm so happy that you're available for an interview. To start off, what's your job title? What do you do, and who you work for? Any other relevant tidbits?
Brenda Moraska LaFrancois: I’m an aquatic ecologist with the National Park Service. Lucky for an aquatics person like me, I’m stationed in the very watery upper Great Lakes region. There are so many different kinds of water here, from little ponds and streams to some of the biggest lakes in the world, and the parks here are affected by a range of interesting issues, some local, some global. Mostly I help park staff develop research and management projects related to water pollution, invasive species, climate change, etc., but sometimes I’m involved in regional or national things. For example right now I’m coordinating some projects for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a federally funded effort to clean up and restore Great Lakes ecosystems.
- Ask questions. Curiosity is extremely cool.
- Do science. Learning about science is interesting, but actually doing it and realizing that you can discover things yourself is awesome.
- Keep an eye out for opportunities. Extra-curricular science groups, internship programs and short-term jobs are fun and will give you the experience you need to choose your path.
- Don’t be afraid to explore other fields. Those experiences will broaden your perspective and keep the creative wheels spinning – and might just make your science stronger too.