Heidi Waite*


Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UC Irvine, Expected 2023
M.Sc., Biodiversity, Conservation, and Management, University of Oxford, UK, 2018
B.S., Biology, University of Central Florida, 2017


Thermal tolerance of intertidal mussels across life stages


Heidi grew up exploring the Florida coastlines and estuaries. Following her passion for the marine world, she completed a bachelor’s degree in biology while conducting research on shoreline restoration and microplastics. She then headed across the pond to learn more about protecting the nature through conservation. There, she completed a MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation, and Management at the University of Oxford, UK. From across the pond to across the country, she then moved to southern California to pursue a PhD. Now as a PhD student in Dr. Cascade Sorte’s climate change lab at UCI, she studies how thermal tolerance develops across the intertidal mussel’s life stages – from larvae to adults. In addition to research, she enjoys organizing marine outreach events and participating in STEM diversification initiatives like Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Outside of lab, she enjoys being outdoors hiking, rollerblading, bouldering, or cycling.

Why is science communication important to you personally?

Science is fun, right? I think so! However, many out there find it’s too hard or convoluted. I want others to feel just as excited that I do about cool, new science out there. I had so many great communicators growing up that showed me that science is for everyone! I want to continue that legacy and make science accessible. Dense and wordy science articles tend to exclude the majority of people, especially underrepresented groups, from learning and taking part in the conversation. I want to help break down those barriers and encourage diversity in STEM. In addition, good science communication can bring awareness to conservation issues and develop a sense of environmental stewardship.


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