Katie O'Reilly holding a turtle while in a wetland.
Katie O’Reilly holding a turtle while in a wetland. Photo provided by Katie O’Reilly
1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?

Pro-pun

3 Do you have any pets?

No

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

Many stuffed animal fishes including a large rainbow trout pillow

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?

Cooking

6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?

Savory

7 Do you speak any other languages?

Spanglish, thanks to living in Miami for four years!

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

Forensic medical examiner

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

Herpetology, because amphibians and reptiles are the coolest (behind fish, of course)

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Somewhere I’ve never been! There’s so many places I’ve yet to visit. A couple of my top choices would be the Patagonia region of South America and the Great Barrier Reef.

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

Super healing ability

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Bob’s Burgers

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

In addition to taking multiple naps, I’d get caught up on adult responsibilities like making food and doing laundry. And then maybe even read for fun!

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

My laptop, sunglasses, and a sense of humor

15 What beverage gives you life?

Coffee does in fact keep me alive

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

17 What did you want to be be when you grew up?

Marine biologist

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

A desire to explore and learn about the awesome world around me, and to share that with others.

19 What got you excited in science?

National Geographic videos, particularly the Really Wild Animals series

20 What excites you about science now?

People working across disciplines to tackle some of our most pressing challenges like global climate change and biodiversity loss.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Diet Mountain Dew

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

Trivia

23 What is your favorite game?

Batman: Arkham City

24 What is the last book you read?

Life and Death of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

“Saying no to others is saying yes to yourself” – a reminder that taking care of yourself is important!

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Traveling solo

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

It’s not just all about grades! Learning also happens outside the classroom – don’t be afraid of new experiences!

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Going for a run

29 What is the last thing you watched?

An episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown while on the treadmill

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Fish ear bones (AKA otoliths)

31 What is your favorite animal?

Birds (j/k) #TeamFish forever, and specifically freshwater fish.

32 What is your favorite book?

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Pizza from my hometown

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

As someone living in the Midwest U.S., that first day in spring where it’s finally above freezing and the sun comes out – everything just seems to come back to life!

35 What is your favorite plant?

Bromeliads, a group of tropical plants that contain their own little universes. Their leaves hold rainfall like little buckets. Other leaves and debris fall into these reservoirs, and animals such as tree frogs, snails, flatworms, tiny crabs, and salamanders can spend their entire lives inside them.

36 What is your favorite science fact?

Even though Earth is 70% water, freshwater accounts for only a small fraction of that (3%). And of that 3%, only about 1% is easily accessible for humans.

37 What is your favorite season?

Fall

38 What is your favorite smell?

Walking through a damp forest after rain

39 What is your favorite sound?

Rain when you don’t have to go outside.

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I’m determined and creative.

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

Halcyon

42 What is your proudest moment?

Being awarded the NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship and working in Washington, D.C. for a year in the federal government.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

I’d like to be a palm tree – flexible and resilient enough to withstand a hurricane.

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

All of the (fresh)water! Living in the Great Lakes region of North America means I’m never far from a wetland, river, or lake.

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

In junior high, I made it to the state level of the National Geographic Geography Bee competition two years in a row.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Kory Evans (@Sternarchella)