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In the Field: Where Inspiration, Mentorship and Funding Come Together

VIMS Team Virginia

In 2019, a team of fisheries biologists from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) traveled to Nepal to study the country’s freshwater fishes. Their goal was to understand how national parks—primarily designed to protect large land animals—may also protect fish habitats and diversity. Thanks to the terrific photos they took to chronicle their experiences, we can “accompany” Dr. Mary Fabrizio, Dr. Troy Tuckey, and Vaskar Nepal (Ph.D. candidate) on their expedition. Their journey began at an American Fisheries Society (AFS) meeting in 2018 in Puerto Rico. Fabrizio asked Nepal, “What are your career goals? What do you want to accomplish?” She wanted to give him the tools and experience to achieve his goals. Nepal responded, “I’m halfway through my Ph.D., but I don’t know anything about fishes in Nepal. That is something that bothers me; that keeps me awake at night.”

The next morning, Fabrizio responded: “Vaskar, I had an epiphany last night. I realized I have some money from an award to study fishes in Nepal. Would you be interested in doing that?” They were on their way. Their next step was to join forces with Troy Tuckey and look for ways to pool their resources to fund their project. Luckily, they had all earned accolades and financial backing: a Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence (Fabrizio); a Dean’s Fellowship (Nepal); and an award from the W&M Development Support Fund (Tuckey). The three then submitted their joint proposal to Reves and received the 2019 Reves Faculty Fellowship. And that's where we join them... Continue to follow along on their photo journey...