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Meet Kathryn Massana!


Kathryn Massana is a third year PEER scholar in the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Kathryn’s upbringing in Puerto Rico, undergraduate research at Berea College, and spirit of adventure influence her when researching parasitic plants. She seeks to incorporate theoretical study and empirical fieldwork when pursuing her research interests, something she thinks is important for next-generation scientists. While working in Dr. Brian O’Meara’s lab, her research focuses in on improving model-based inferences in biogeography, processes/traits that influence diversification in organisms & how environments influence species distributions across biomes.

Kathryn initially heard about PEER from fellow graduate students and even though the funding opportunities were attractive, the program’s purpose and activities are what convinced her to apply. Kathryn explains ”I value diversity and I’ve benefitted from great mentors in both my undergrad and graduate study, I’ve found both of those traits in PEER.”

She further notes, “PEER has helped me disseminate my research by providing funding for conference travel so I can present and share my findings. It also has made me feel more included in the University because I’ve gotten to know faculty from different departments and I have a great support system in my cohort. It’s really helpful to have a network of people with different perspectives and interests.”

In the future, Kathryn aspires to continue her research in a post-doctoral program and become a Professor at a research University. Furthermore, she seeks to hone her mentorship skills to give future students of hers the same experience she received at her alma mater and at UTK.

Kathryn’s story is Progress, Made by PEER. Share her story and tell us how you make #Progress in your own way.

Find out more about Kathryn by visiting:

Lab Website

Personal Blog