Unique Scientist: Katherine Hatcher

Time to meet Katherine Hatcher (She/her)! Katherine is a neuroscientist excited about hormones, circadian rhythms, & interdisciplinary science in the USA!

What kind of scientist are you?
I am a biologist, who happens to love brains, hormones, behavior, and physiology. I am a Neuroscience PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

What made you want to become a scientist?
I HATED science growing up! It was my least favorite subject. I thought it was just memorizing a bunch of facts. Little did I know I had been engaging in biologist behaviors for a long time – including a strong love of all things nature documentaries and Discovery Health. I found myself in science because I thought I wanted to go to medical school, so I joined a lab in college in order to “boost my resume” for medical school applications. The more I engaged with the real scientific process, the more I fell in love with research and by the end of my junior year I knew I wanted to pursue a career in science.

“I HATED science growing up!”

Katherine Hatcher

What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
I am a #UniqueScientist because not only am I a woman in science, but also because of my battle with mental health. I have been struggling with mental illness since I was around 9 years old, and my symptoms went through a peak in my mid-20s, right during the beginning of graduate school. I do a lot of things a scientist “shouldn’t” do because of my mental health – I often talk about a lot of this stuff on my Instagram account @grad_selfcare.

What’s something cool you do outside of work?
I do A LOT of stuff outside of work! I run my Instagram (@grad_selfcare), where I hold very frank discussions about the grad school/academic life in regards to mental health, self-care, and overall wellness. I’m an amateur boxer. And just launched my podcast, Endocrine Disruptors, in early August! I’m also an avid beer drinker.

If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
I am extremely passionate about science education and literacy. When I was growing up, I viewed science as just memorizing a bunch of facts… I did not realize the beauty of science. And I think this is because how we teach it – we just ask students to memorize a bunch of random facts, and do not ask them to apply or learn about the bigger picture. This turns many people off of science at a young age, leading to lack of engagement and literacy throughout their lifetime.

“When I was growing up, I viewed science as just memorizing a bunch of facts… I did not realize the beauty of science.”

Katherine Hatcher

Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
There are so many strong and inspiring women around me, and they have been integral in my development as a scientist. My undergraduate and PhD research advisors, many members of my committee… they are all unique women with diverse stories and they inspire me every day to be myself, to pursue my passions, and strive to be a better scientist.

Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
I just launched my podcast!


#WomenInSTEM

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