I’m Kaeli Swift, Ph.D. Since I was a kid I’ve loved wildlife—especially birds—and asking questions about animal behavior and cognition. While an undergrad at Willamette University (2005-2009), I discovered that crows and other corvids offered the perfect marriage of these interests, and I have been hooked on them ever since. In 2012, I was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to pursue this passion as a graduation student at the University of Washington. As a Masters and Doctoral student (2012-2018), I dedicated myself to understanding what American crows do in response to dead crows, as well as what adaptive motivations might drive their response. My graduate research included both field-based projects observing wild crows, and non-invasive/non-lethal functional imaging studies aimed at understanding what was going on in the crow brain during these experiences. After graduating, I spent a year as a Post-Doctoral researcher at the University of Washington studying the foraging behaviors of Canada jays in Denali National Park. Visit the Previous Research and Publications pages to learn more about these projects. Currently, I am a visiting lecturer at the University of Washington where I teach a variety of ornithology and wildlife ecology courses.
No matter what my current or future job titles are though, science communication will forever remain a core part of my identity as a scientist and person. As a child, I struggled immensely with school. While I loved science, I did not see myself as someone who could become a scientist. Even outside of those with learning disabilities, women remain vastly underrepresented at the most high profile and visible levels of science communication. I aim to be a part of the growing number of women seeking to change this, and welcome any opportunity to bring science to the public. I regularly give public talks to audiences ranging from elementary students to careered academics. Video, audio, and print reports of my research have been featured by National Geographic, PBS, the New York Times, The Atlantic, Ologies podcast, Science Friday and many others. For collaboration or to schedule a speaking event, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.