Katherine Hatcher wearing an orange shirt that says "This is what a neuroscientist looks like". Photo provided by Katherine Hatcher
Katherine Hatcher wearing an orange shirt that says “This is what a neuroscientist looks like”. Photo provided by Katherine Hatcher


Katherine is a neuroscientist, educator, podcaster, and lover of all things cats and beer. She will be finishing her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in May 2020 and moving on to a postdoc at Albany Medical College in July 2020. Katherine’s PhD research has focused how environmental exposures affect behavior and the brain. In her postdoc, she will be investigating how different brain areas are involved in regulating hormone release and reproductive function. Outside of the lab, Katherine advocates for improving overall wellness for academics on Instagram (http://www.instagram.com/grad_selfcare) and Twitter. Also, Katherine loves hormones, and talks about them through her podcast Endocrine Disruptors (http://www.endocrinepod.com). You can learn more about Katherine at her website kmhatcher.com

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

I have 3 cats – 2 black cats (Batman and Brother) and 1 torbie cat (Buffy)

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

I’m a huge fan of desert foliage – so I have a lot of cacti and desert-themed decor

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?


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

I would either work at a brewery or bakery

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

Something with animals – either animal conservation, or reproductive health

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

New Zealand

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?

Watch: Schitt’s Creek, Parks and Rec
Read: Mrs. Kelly’s Monster by Jon Franklin (a short piece he won a Pulitzer for writing. You can find it onlin!) and the Percy Jackson books – just recently read them for the first time!
Listen: I’m a little biased, but you can check out my podcast! Endocrine Disruptors

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

I’m likely snuggling with my cats, catching up on my shows and meal prepping; if it’s the summer, I’m likely in the pool!

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

1. Coffee
2. A good pair of headphones
3. My closest friends

15 What beverage gives you life?

Coffeeeeeeeeeee. And a good beer (I’m partial to IPAs)!

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

Not Quite a Miracle by Jon Franklin – read this in college and realized how amazing SciComm could be if done well

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

Either a singer or a veterinarian

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

I am goal driven. If I have a goal, I want to achieve it and there is very little I will let stop me.

19 What got you excited in science?

Learning how the human body works (didn’t realize I liked science until college!!!)

20 What excites you about science now?

There is SO MUCH we don’t know about how the brain works! And the techniques and tools available for answering those questions are super cool.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

I drink WAY TOO MUCH sparkling water.

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I am really good at guessing actors based on their voice (but never remember their names).

23 What is your favorite game?

The Diablo games on PC

24 What is the last book you read?

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

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

Always try for something. If you don’t try, the answer will always be no. So don’t let that decision be made for you by not trying.

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


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

Learn to love yourself and take care of yourself first.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

1) Reading for leisure and 2) Creative outlets. My favorite creative things to do are cross-stitching, embroidery, podcasting, painting, cooking, and baking.

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Schitt’s Creek

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

I always have a protein bar in my bag that is at least 6 months old.

31 What is your favorite animal?

Cats, camels, and wolves

32 What is your favorite book?

I don’t have one. But I thoroughly enjoyed the Hunger Games series

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

A bowl of pasta with a little cheese and butter

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

I don’t have one, but I love any excuse to get together with friends or family I don’t see often.

35 What is your favorite plant?

Anything in the cactus category

36 What is your favorite science fact?

I definitely don’t have ONE favorite. But I love that the smallest bones in our body are our ear bones (the malleus, incus and stapes).

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

A good meal with a lot of fragrant herbs and spices

39 What is your favorite sound?

The little brrrp noise cats make when you wake them up from a nap

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

My resilience

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


42 What is your proudest moment?

I continue to have them, but most recently was when I gave my thesis proposal – I gave an awesome seminar! Anytime I set my mind to something and I make it happen, despite many obstacles.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

American sycamore

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

Currently in Urbana, IL: I love the beer culture here! Plenty of good breweries and a couple of great bars that serve lots of tasty beer

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I have suffered from Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder since I was a teen. This has made my journey particularly difficult. Until recently, I tried to hide it from people. But a few years ago, I started sharing my story. And sharing my journey in science as authentically as I felt comfortable. This has helped me immensely with my healing. And it also has allowed me to connect with some amazing people I don’t think I would have ever met otherwise. That’s what my Instagram @grad_selfcare is about!

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

Earyn McGee (Twitter: @Afro_Herper)