Kathleen Rust is a 2019-2023 Self Graduate Fellow pursuing a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology. She received a B.A. (2012) with high honors in anthropology and German from the University of Texas at Austin. She earned an M.A. in anthropology (2018) from Hunter College City University of New York. Her master’s thesis work involved collecting morphometric data from fossils to investigate the phylogenetic affinities and origins of the Sivaladapids – a distinct clade of extinct adapoid primates that existed well into the Miocene of Asia. Her research suggests a new possible evolutionary scenario for the origins and evolution of Sivaladapidae. During her graduate studies, Kathleen was recruited as a biological anthropology educator in the Sackler Educational Laboratory for Comparative Genomics and Human Origins at the American Museum of Natural history (AMNH). Her role at the AMNH enabled her to communicate the science of the latest research in paleoanthropology and discuss the importance of evolution and genomics with visitors to the lab of all ages. At the AMNH, she also developed curricula covering primate and hominin evolution for visiting school groups and public outreach events. For her Ph.D., Kathleen aims to continue studying Sivaladapid systematics and hopes to investigate primate origins by combining molecular and fossil data. She also plans to uphold her commitment to outreach and science communication by participating in public outreach and education events through the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History.
Mentor: K. Christopher Beard, Senior Curator- Biodiversity Institute, Distinguished Foundation Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology