Rachel Becknell

Graduate Student


“Most recently I’ve had a bunch of moments where I’ve learned some important lessons and it’s mostly been through taking on much more than I can handle. I’ve learned that I can handle more than I thought, but at the same time I need to ask for help. I need to have a community of people behind me getting this research done. It’s amazing how much I’ve gotten done just in the past two weeks having our team here, and they’re great students. I’ve told myself, ‘If I’d had people helping me, if I just asked for help sooner, how much would I have been able to get done without getting so stressed out?’

Also, I think I’ve learned a lot about mentoring as a woman in science. Just today I mentioned to the women on the team, ‘Hey, step up and just immerse yourself in the work and ask questions. Challenge yourself!’ Because I feel as a woman in society, we’re taught to stand back and men are taught to jump in and ask questions. I told them, ‘This is your opportunity over the summer to really learn.’

I didn’t have female role models when I started out as an undergrad and it would have been nice to have one to guide me. I’d like to do that for other people.”

Rachel is a member of Scott Mangan's Natural Enemies team and a PhD candidate in the Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology graduate program at Washington University. Learn more about her process-based ecological restoration research here.