Kate obtained her BSc Biology major and Environment minor from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, in 2008. As part of her degree, she did a Panama Field Study Semester where she completed a research project as an intern at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) Noas Research Centre on fiddler crab Uca deichmanni burrow characteristics in relation to reproductive cycles with fellow student Zoé Joly-Lopez.
After a summer working for Bird Studies Canada as a High Elevation Landbird Program field assistant surveying remote areas for Bicknell’s Thrush, she worked for Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada. She conducted a variety of migratory bird field work: shorebird surveys, point counts, passerine banding, assistance with radar and geolocator deployment and retrievals with the elusive Bicknell’s Thrush. During this time, she also coordinated the Atlantic Canada Shorebird Survey volunteers in the Maritimes provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island and the Maritimes Nest Record Scheme.
In Febuary 2011, she left her home in Canada and journeyed to South Africa to start graduate studies researching African Penguin Spheniscus demersus as part of a multi-disciplinary research team investigating the Benguela current and an ecosystem approach to fisheries. Kate is researching the foraging stratedgy of breeding African penguins on the western Cape at Robben Island. The African Penguin, endemic to southern Africa, became listed as Endangered under the IUCN Red List in 2010. The research aims to answer questions of how foraging behaviour and effort varies with prey availability at this colony and what links might exist with demographic parameters such as chick condition. Her PhD thesis is titled: 'Factors influencing the foraging behaviour of African Penguins (Spheniscus demersus) provisioning chicks at Robben Island, South Africa.'