Dr. Fournelle is Emeritus Faculty in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. While his main research focus centers on applications of EPMA to geological and paleontological samples, he has contributed to a wide range of geological, biological, and materials projects, such as hot dogs, cosmetics, and the human brain. After a period of time as a college dropout,  arc-welder, and community organizer in the 1960s and 1970s, Dr. Fournelle returned to school and received a B.S. in Geology in 1983 from the University of Maryland. He continued his higher education at Johns Hopkins University, getting his first taste of EPMA on Aleutian volcanic rocks using an old MAC microprobe at the Carnegie Institute of Washington Geophysical  Laboratory.

He earned his Ph.D. with Prof. Bruce Marsh in 1988. After a postdoc at the Smithsonian Institution with Dr. Bill Melson, Dr. Fournelle was hired to manage the Eugene Cameron Electron Microprobe Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, replacing retiring Microbeam Society charter member Everett Glover. There, he oversaw the replacement of an aging Applied Research Laboratory SEMQ instrument with a CAMECA SX51, and more recently with a new CAMECA SXFive FE. In 2020 he stepped down as Director of the facility but continues to be active in research. He taught  advanced courses in Geology and microbeam techniques for 26 years, and his online class notes have been used by students and researchers worldwide.

Dr. Fournelle has served as MAS Director and MAS Chair of the organizing committee for the Microscopy & Microanalysis 2020 Annual Meeting. He is currently Chair of the MAS Archivist Committee and has spent countless hours working to preserve  historical records of early pioneers in EPMA and other microanalysis techniques. Working closely with fellow archivist Michael Marko at the Microscopy Society of America, Dr. Fournelle has conducted  dozens of oral histories with important scientists involved with the development of our modern EPMA instruments, including Peter Duncumb, Kurt Heinrich, Klaus Keil, Joe Goldstein, and several  individuals who worked with Raimond Castaing.