Student Highlights: Kaitlyn McKnight


Class:  Graduate

Major:  Ecology

Hi! I’m Kaitlyn — a dedicated researcher with a passion for ecology and mathematics. I am originally from Dayton, Ohio, the birthplace of aviation pioneers, the Wright Brothers, and I would say my interest in the natural world was sparked early on. My favorite thing to do as a kid was to go hiking with my dad around our local metroparks, and any time I saw water, my shoes and socks were off in an instant and I was in up to my knees.

I obtained my bachelor’s degree in wildlife and conservation biology from Ohio University, where I also minored in plant sciences and earned certifications in environmental science and GIS, aiming to become a well-rounded ecologist. After completing my undergraduate studies, I began a career in fisheries, working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service. My work primarily involved field-intensive research in the Great Lakes and across streams in the intermountain west. Seeking to further enhance my skills, I decided to pursue a PhD here in Wyoming, focusing on developing advanced statistical, theoretical, and data analysis techniques.


My research explores the temporal variability in population abundances, a phenomenon found in many natural systems that significantly influences key ecological processes. One focus is on quantifying synchrony across species or locations, examining how correlated population fluctuations are through time. My research integrates perspectives from population and community ecology to gain a comprehensive understanding of synchrony across ecological hierarchies and spatial scales.


Every year, we award fellowships to graduate and undergraduate students attending the University of Wyoming or one of Wyoming’s community colleges in order to provide them with the opportunity to do “real” research. Occasionally, we feature one of these students and their research on this blog. For more information about our student fellowships, visit our College Programs page.