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Senior Scientist for Public Engagement
Originally from upstate New York, Kim received her BS in 1992 from Cornell University and her PhD in 2002 from the University of Kansas in ecology and evolutionary biology. She served as the curator of ornithology and mammalogy at the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates and as a research associate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell from 2002 to 2013.
Kim’s research has focused on bird behavior, diversity, and macroevolution, allowing her to travel throughout Central and South America, as well as to South Africa and Papua New Guinea to conduct research. In 2005, she was featured in Nature’s Deep Jungles three-part series, where she danced like a Red-capped Manakin to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean." This clip of video was extracted and posted to YouTube, where it went viral and has been viewed millions of times, spawning many knock-offs. The video brought great fame and many fans to a deserving but otherwise little known bird. Her research on the Club-winged Manakin was featured in National Geographic in May, 2012.
Recently, spurred by the birth of her own two children and the increasing urgency of the climate change crisis, Kim decided to reorient her career to become more active in science outreach. She is now using her scientific literacy, background in ornithology, and communication skills to serve as Senior Scientist for Public Engagement with BirdNote.