Karen Love

Degree program: 
Biology and Society
Greenville, South Carolina
MS candidate

What are you researching?

My work examines the relationship between conservation and zoological institutions in the United States. Using the Phoenix Zoo as a case study, I investigate the development of an institutional identity centered on conservation, the impetus and implications for developing such an identity and how this development will shape the future of zoos. 

What are your plans after graduation?

I am hoping to work for a Zoo or Aquarium in the future, but for now I am happily employed as an instructor for the Roper Mountain Science Center.  

What is one important thing you learned your first year as a grad student?

I think the most important thing I learned in the first year, that has continued to be the most important thing, is that collaboration is key. In grad school you are surrounded by people who are experts (or near experts) in their fields, so you should absolutely take advantage of the opportunity pick their brains. Meet with them, ask them to review your work, chat with them about theirs. Expanding your horizons will strengthen you as both a student and researcher. 

What helpful tip do you have for new graduate students?

Ask for help, look for resources, and don't get lost in your work. Part of success in grad school is being involved in the department activities, reading groups, etc. I didn't do nearly as much of that as I should have, and I think that contributed to some of the challenges I faced. I think building relationships with peers and mentors is incredibly important.