Katie Westby

Postdoctoral Research Associate


“I often find mentoring the students rewarding. The best part for me, even though it ends up being the most work for me, is seeing them get an independent project going.”

Can you talk a little bit about that?

“Every single one of our fellows always has an independent project. The projects are often experimental, because that is mainly what we do. We usually have a small list of half-baked project ideas; we're not just handing them a project. We let them choose from what they're interested in after they've been here a little while and have figured out where their interests lie. We also have students that just completely come up with their own thing and we foster that too.

But we always also try to get them to do something that has the potential to be published or be part of a larger publication. I don't like doing things just to do them. So even though they're learning and not really sure how the whole process works, I always try to get them to do something with the possibility that if it works out great, something bigger can come from it. I watch their faces light up when they realize they've got a project and have worked out the methods and they're like, ‘Alright!’ I love that. I think that's really fun.”

Katie was a lead mentor for Kim Medley's Mosquito Team during summer 2018. Learn more about their urban ecology research here and their container mosquito research here.