AWI’s Flournoy Named 2020 Mirzayan Fellow

January 29, 2020

By Brock Parker

Dr. Nikaela Flournoy smiling.Dr. Nikaela Flournoy has been selected for the 2020 Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program with The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

The fellowship is a 12-week training and educational program that hosts early career individuals at The National Academies in Washington, D.C. They spend their time learning about science and technology policy and the role that scientists and engineers play in advising the nation. According to The National Academies, the Mirzayan Fellowship “offers a unique opportunity to obtain the essential skills and knowledge needed to work in science policy at the federal, state or local levels.”

Flournoy, a postdoctoral fellow in the Alabama Water Institute, has spent the past three years focusing her research on interdisciplinary coastal biogeochemical studies. She has been investigating the impact of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster on the biodiversity and ecosystem services in marshes and nearby habitats. She has combined bench, field and computational approaches to profile microbial communities in coastal areas affected by the spill.

As a Mirzayan fellow, Flournoy intends to learn how to apply her interests in coastal resource sustainability and science policy with her dedication to broadening participation in STEM for workforce development in areas of national need.

Flournoy was named as a Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative scholar with the Alabama Center for Ecological Resilience in 2018. She is also an advocate for the importance of early engagement in science, resource accessibility and retention of underrepresented minority students in STEM fields.

In 2016, Flournoy earned her Ph.D. in biological sciences from The University of Alabama. She also holds a Master of Science in microbiology from the University of Iowa and Bachelor of Science in biology from Alabama A&M University.