Sarah DuRant in a forest. Photo provided by Sarah DuRant
Sarah DuRant in a forest. Photo provided by Sarah DuRant

Sarah is an ecophysiologist that dabbles in disease ecology, stress physiology, bioenergetics, and animal behavior. Broadly she explores how organisms respond to environmental stressors, including natural (heat waves, disease) and man-made (toxicants) stressors, and the implications these responses have for an individual’s offspring. Most recently her research focuses on the interplay between parental environment and offspring phenotype in birds, focusing on how temperature and disease shape avian incubation behaviors. In addition to her research, she’s passionate about helping students develop professional skills that are critical to success in STEM fields, but aren’t formally taught in most graduate programs. Sarah is mom to a toddler and enjoys the outdoors.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?


4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?


5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?


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

Bee keeper or Cafe owner

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


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


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

Cloning myself

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

Read Beryl Markham’s memoir West with the Night

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

Cook and binge watch something on Netflix

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

Tea, beautiful swimming spots, and books

15 What beverage gives you life?

Cream Earl Grey

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

Bridge to Terabithia

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

Ambitious. Haha! But it’s true. I told my teacher that I didn’t know what I wanted to be, but I wanted to be at the top.

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

My daughter. Curiosity.

19 What got you excited in science?

Maternal effects.

20 What excites you about science now?

Maternal effects. At least I’m consistent:)

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Skipping work to binge watch something

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I can say the alphabet backwards as quickly as I can forwards. This skill won me $20 once, but otherwise is useless.

23 What is your favorite game?

Right now it’s Wingspan, but I’m also a fan of Settlers of Katan

24 What is the last book you read?

A Gentleman in Moscow

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

Work related: Do something every week that will help you get tenure. Life related: Happiness comes from within, you can’t wait for it to come to you.

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

I’d like to be less scared of heights.

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

Ignore societal expectations and just figure out what makes you happy.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

hot bath, British drama, cup of tea, good book, watercolors, hiking, swimming, a HIIT workout

29 What is the last thing you watched?


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

Probably a wood duck embryo. Although, I took a deer brain to show and tell when I was 10. Yep. I did that.

31 What is your favorite animal?

Wandering Albatross

32 What is your favorite book?

Maybe Poisonwood Bible

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

collard greens and corn bread

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

A vacation day

35 What is your favorite plant?


36 What is your favorite science fact?

Fetal cells can live in the mother’s tissues for decades

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

The earth after a summer rainfall

39 What is your favorite sound?

These days it’s silence. toddlers are loud

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I follow through.

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


42 What is your proudest moment?

Not sure, but a couple of contenders include:
1)The birth of my daughter.
2)Being awarded a CAREER grant after moving my lab and having a baby pre-tenure.
3) receiving a women’s advocate award.
My students make me pretty proud, too.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Live oak

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

The limestone rivers

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I want to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.

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

Dana Hawley (@HawleyDana)