Lexi Kenna

Degree: Master of Science in Ecology

Thesis: Invertebrate Herbivory of Trees in the Piedmont Understory in Response to Soil Warming


Recipient of the Robert A. Sheldon Memorial Award – 2020

Graduate Award - Odum School of Ecology, UGA – 2019

What has become your favorite quote?

There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.

― Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing

What was your greatest epiphany in the last two years related to pursuing your degree?

Scientific research should not only be shared in scientific spaces, but should also be effectively communicated to non-scientific audiences. Progress towards improving our environment and changes in policy is made through thoughtful and deliberate translation of scientific insights to digestible information for general audiences.

What would be your ideal job in life?

“My goal when I began my graduate degree was to pursue a career in urban freshwater conservation and management. In January 2019 I began working as an environmental scientist in Atlanta and was able to finish my degree in 2020 while working full time. I really enjoy my job and can’t wait to see where this career path leads me.”

What was your coolest/most surprising research finding?

Soil temperature does not have an impact on insect foliar herbivory of tree seedlings in the GA Piedmont. This is opposite to what I expected and is likely driven by soil type. The old, highly weathered soils we have here in the Southeast don’t respond as strongly to warming as northern latitude soils. In the context of climate change, this is likely good news.

Share advice you would give somebody entering graduate school:

Science is best when it is collaborative, always be willing to discuss and share your work! Also, don’t be afraid to occasionally give yourself a break.

What are your immediate next steps (within the next few months)? ​

I’m going to spend time with family and my dog, and actively pursue my career goals.

Congratulations, Lexi!​

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