Sarah Knutie on the beach with sea lions lounging behind her. Photo provided by Sarah Knutie
Sarah Knutie on the beach with sea lions lounging behind her. Photo provided by Sarah Knutie

Dr. Knutie is an Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut. Her lab studies the evolutionary ecology of host defenses against parasites and how environmental factors affect host-parasite relationships. For example, she works on the effect of urbanization on the relationship between an invasive parasite and Darwin’s finches in the Galapagos Islands. She is a first generation college student and hopes to use her experiences during her academic journey to help and support other students that are on similar paths. Website:

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Pets? No…. furbaby: Charlotte (indoor cat)

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

Is there anything else?

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

Conversational Spanish (learned in the Galapagos)

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

Own a coffee shop and/or bakery

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

If I were to switch careers within science, I would want to work at a field station.

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Place I’ve been before: Minnesota; New place: Vietnam

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?


12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

The new movie: “Parasite”. Do it now.

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Hike in the woods alone

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

My genetically and non-genetically related family, including my cat.

15 What beverage gives you life?

Coffee, coffee, coffee

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?


17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

I had no idea. I was a computer science major as an undergrad until I switched to EEB as a junior (super, super seniors for the win)!

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Seeing and supporting the success of others

19 What got you excited in science?

Feeling like I was actually good at something. (+ birds when I got over my fear of them)

20 What excites you about science now?

Watching a student develop a new idea for a project.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Reality tv

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I don’t think that I have any secret talents. I was in an Opera when I was a teenager but can’t sing to save my life now.

23 What is your favorite game?

Not a fan of games.

24 What is the last book you read?

The Wizard and the Profit by Charles Mann

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Work hard and kick ass. Everything else will fall into place.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

I am not afraid of anything anymore but I used to be afraid of birds, water, and heights!

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Stop trying to please everyone else and be yourself.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Hiking in the woods.

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Parasite (movie), The Bachelor (TV)

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

For the field? KY Jelly (for a field experiment).

31 What is your favorite animal?

Titicaca water frog aka aquatic scrotum aka Telmatobius culeus

32 What is your favorite book?

I don’t think that I have a favorite book at the moment. I don’t read for fun as much anymore.

33 What is your favorite comfort food?


34 What is your favorite day of the year?

The day that I arrive in Minnesota to start my field season.

35 What is your favorite plant?

Pitcher plant

36 What is your favorite science fact?

Barnacle penises are ~8x the length of their bodies and thus barnacles have proportionally the largest penises in the animal world.

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Pine forests during the summer.

39 What is your favorite sound?

My nieces voice.

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

That I’m a ride-or-die friend

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?


42 What is your proudest moment?

Holding my niece for the first time.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Red pine

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

Friends, access to nature, direct flights to Minneapolis

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

Although outgoing, I’m a total awkward introvert.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Kiyoko Gotanda @photopidge