Just because your early career was hell doesn’t mean others’ has to be

Read the full story at Culture Study.

When Dr. Auriel Fournier was an undergraduate ecology student, her mentors would tell her about research opportunities that she should absolutely, no question, take — it’s how they’d advanced in their careers, and it’s how she should advance, too.

“Everyone told me, you need to pay your dues, you need to get your foot in the door, you need to demonstrate how passionate you are,” Fournier, now a conservation ecologist, said. “And I was like, I am really passionate! I work really really hard! But I also have to pay rent, and eat!” 

Today, Fournier is the director of the Forbes Biological Station near Havana, Illinois — and she’s become an outspoken advocate against unpaid STEM labor. Her appeal is straightforward: “We’re only hearing from the people who made it,” she tells audiences of various professional associations at conferences. “We’re not hearing from everyone else. It’s survival bias. And as scientists, we should find that really alarming.” 

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