Kate grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills, hiking, camping, paddleboarding, and sledding in the Tahoe Basin. Hoping to explore a new part of the country, she moved to Western Massachusetts to attend Smith College. While she initially thought that her future was in research, she traded the pipette for a pen and pursued science communication instead. This led her to spending a summer in Hawai’i on the island of O’ahu as an intern for Mālama Maunalua, an organization dedicated to restoring the health of the Maunalua Bay through science, education, and local stewardship. She then jetted off to spend her junior year studying abroad in France where she landed an internship with the Sustainable Lifestyles and Education team at the Paris branch of UN Environment. She graduated with a degree in biology and a new appreciation for how effective science communication has the ability to inspire anyone to learn more about the world around them and make an impact.
That’s what brought Kate to Seed, where she found the powerful intersection of science, storytelling, and design in one place. Passionate about making science more accessible, she strives to reframe science as intriguing and engaging, rather than daunting and complicated. She enjoys finding new ways to talk about the impact of microbes on our health and world and finds that she has the opportunity to learn something new every single day.
In her free time, Kate enjoys nature walks, puzzles, and pilates. She takes special interest in cooking and baking—she often finds herself treating the kitchen like a lab as she experiments the best way to boost flavor (her biggest finding? Brown butter makes everything taste better—she wrote about the chemistry of it here). She’s also attempting to take up mountain biking. Please wish her luck.
In conversation with Kate:
Six word story of your life. On a mission to explore joy.
What was your first brush with science? Collecting tadpoles and being utterly astonished when they grew legs.
Why do you think bacteria are important? For the same reason why sunlight, water, or oxygen are important: because life depends on them. We are so intricately connected to bacteria that the act of completely removing them from our lives would result in the absence of life. We need them as much as they need us.
How do you define science? I know there’s a more complicated “scientific process” that I saw graphics of in middle school, but essentially science boils down to explaining the world by asking questions and attempting to find answers. Reworking a recipe to feature your favorite flavors is as much science as sampling rocks from Mars.
How do you define health? Beyond just physical; it includes mental, emotional, social, and even financial health.
What are you currently reading / listening / watching? (microbiome-related, ideally) Reading: Spillover by David Quammen, Clean by James Hamblin is next on my list Listening: Podcasts all day—my favorites are ReplyAll, Radiolab, Short Wave, and By the Book Watching: The Expanse, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and One Strange Rock
Favorite microbiome-nurturing food? Garlic. Garlic garlic garlic.
Scientist, dead or alive, you'd like to eat with? Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson
Microbiome perturbation you're trying to give up. Cookies (but I’m not trying too hard)
Favorite science joke or best mindgasm fact? When a whale dies and falls to the bottom of the ocean (aptly termed, “whale fall”), it introduces a deluge of nutrients to an otherwise barren landscape, which can sustain a rich and diverse ecosystem for up to 100 years.
One fact most people don't know about you: I am Wilderness First Aid certified.