College of Arts and Science
The Division of Biological Sciences congratulates graduate students Levi Storks and Katherine (Katy) Guthrie whose science education efforts were recognized with awards from the MU Graduate School.
Storks and Guthrie were both selected for the Sandra K. Abell Science Education Award, which recognizes the outstanding achievements of a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in the life or physical sciences who has demonstrated a dual passion for teaching and research.
Storks was also given the Mary Elizabeth Gutermuth Award for Community Engagement. This endowed award is given to a graduate student who has a history of and interest in community service through engaged scholarship.
The awards were announced in a video that served as the 6th Annual Graduate and Postdoctoral Awards Ceremony.
Storks is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Manuel Leal’s lab. He is using a combination of laboratory and field experiments to evaluate the potential forces shaping the evolution of cognitive abilities in lizards. He has secured five grants in support of his research, in addition to his Life Sciences Fellowship and four travel grants, and has presented his research at numerous national and local conferences and meetings.
Storks is passionate about sharing his passion for science with the broader public. He founded “Science on Scales,” a program that uses amphibian and reptiles to talk to the general public about ecology, evolution, and conservation. He also leads MU’s Science on Wheels, a program that gives graduate students an opportunity to share their research with audiences throughout Missouri. Recently, he developed an online training course for graduate students in Science on Wheels on best practices for communicating research to the public. On top of all of this, Levi has chaired the Biology Graduate Student Association and served as the graduate representative on the Division’s Diversity Committee and MU Engagement Awards selection committee.
Guthrie is a fifth-year graduate student in Dr. Paula McSteen’s lab. She is using a combination of genetic, molecular approaches and bioinformatic techniques to study reproductive development in maize. She was awarded a highly competitive USDA-NIFA predoctoral fellowship as well as a Life Sciences Fellowship in support of her graduate research in addition to securing three travel awards to present her research at a number of national and regional conferences, including the last four Annual Maize Genetics Conferences.
Guthrie is enthusiastic about sharing her love for genetics and science with undergraduate students. She has mentored four MU undergraduate research students in the lab and is a volunteer peer mentor for the MU THRIVE Program and the MaGNET program, both of which aim to broaden participation of underrepresented students in science through peer mentoring. As part of her graduate program, she also has completed a Minor in College Teaching, co-taught an online course on genetic diseases for undergraduates and assisted in two other undergraduate courses, and participated in the Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders in Science program.