Episode 068: Meet Disease Ecologist Kaylee Arnold


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Disease ecologist Kaylee Arnold shares with us her research on kissing bugs, particularly how their gut bacteria and environments impact the transmission of Chagas disease. We also hear why learning through application and research has been so important to her, and how the #BlackandSTEM hashtag has helped her find a community of Black scientists.

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Show Highlights

  • 02:30 - 17:00    Introduction to Kaylee and all about her research
  • 17:00 - 18:00    How kissing bugs got their name 
  • 18:00 - 21:00    Science teaching methods that were and weren't helpful for Kaylee
  • 21:00 - 25:00    #BlackandSTEM
  • 25:00 - 29:00    One way to encourage Black students and students of color to consider science professions

 Show Quotes 

"A thing that stuck out in my mind that I did experience in elementary and middle school was a lot of rote definition memorization. I know that definitions and terms are important, but I think that I didn't always see the application. It was very separate. So I know I spent a lot of time copying definitions down, and I don't think I ever absorbed then or really realized what they meant." [20:00 - 20:25] Kaylee Arnold

"It wasn't until I started my PhD program that finally when I was 26 years old that I finally saw a Black woman that was doing science. And that was just wild to me. And I think about how many people are maybe deterred and think, 'Oh, well that's not for me,' because I never saw any Black women in that profession." [24:00 - 24:20] Kaylee Arnold


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