Kristen completed her Bachelor's degree at Ohio Wesleyan University and then worked as a research technician at the Kellogg Biological Field Station before joining Dr. Christine Mayer's Benthic Ecology lab. Kristen completed a Master's degree studying the interactions between burrowing mayflies (Hexagenia limbataand H. rigida), and invasive zebra and quagga mussels (Dreissena polymorpha and D. bugensis respectively). Her dissertation work built upon her Master’s thesis and she examined whether Hexagenia derive protection from fish predation in Dreissena clusters and if short periods of hypoxia, which often develop in Lake Erie and other productive lakes, interfere with this relationship and force Hexagenia out of Dreissena-cluster habitat to seek well-oxygenated waters. Kristen was very excited about being a graduate fellow in the GK-12 program and having the opportunity to communicate her love of science and the environment to current high school students. One of her future goals is to conduct research that will make a difference in the field of freshwater aquatic ecology and to become involved in public outreach programs that teach the public about the economic, environmental, and societal importance of healthy freshwater ecosystems. She feels that being a fellow in the GK-12 program gave her many of the skills needed to achieve these goals.