Happy Birthday Audree Fowler

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

Aquarium volunteer Audree Fowler will mark her 80th birthday on Monday, Oct. 7. The following information appeared in a volunteer newsletter several years ago, but her remarkable career bears celebrating again.

Google Audree Fowler, long-time Santa Monica Pier Aquarium volunteer, and scores of entries appear. Want to delve into the world of protein sequencing? This retired UCLA biochemist’s published works are available. The annual selection of the Audree Fowler Fellows in Protein Science (recipients of the fellowship she endowed at UCLA’s Molecular Biology Institute) shows up too. And then there’s the reference to Scottish country dancing.

“Scottish country dancing was my hobby for 30 years,” Audree explains. “I finally stopped six years ago, but [the dancing] took me to Edinburg to summer school as well as to Victoria to dance. I still have many friends from that time.”

Wednesdays wouldn’t be the same without Audree, who has volunteered at the Aquarium since 1999, when she retired as the director of UCLA’s Molecular Biology Institute. She’s logged 1,866 volunteer hours, and a few years back was awarded a Heal the Bay “SuperHealer” award. While Audree is also a docent at the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica, she is ever the ambassador for the Aquarium; one August evening she rented the Aquarium to introduce the marine center to a group of Annenberg docents.

Born in Los Angeles and raised on a farm in Long Beach, Audree says she’s been at UCLA “forever.” She was a trailblazer for women in science: Audree earned her bachelors degree in chemistry in1956 and went on to earn a Ph.D in the nearly all-male biochemistry division in 1963. “There was one gal ahead of me in the program and one behind me, and we three were it. Today, women make up at least half of the students coming through graduate level science programs.”

Audree’s passion for travel has led her to embark on many UCLA alumni trips, on Elderhostel tours around the globe, and she continues to travel to conferences for the many science-based associations to which she belongs. If she misses a couple of Wednesdays at the Aquarium, staff knows when she returns it will be with an assortment of pens and pencils to share and she’ll be sporting some crazy new socks that tie in to her travels.

Happy Birthday, Audree!

Want to join Audree as a volunteer at the Aquarium? Learn how you can get involved.