Kate McDonald


Kate McDonald

Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology
STEM LEARNING SPECIALIST

Joined Connecticut College: 2016

Education
B.A., Connecticut College
Ph.D., Wesleyan University


Specializations

Biology

Neuroscience

Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

Kate McDonald is interested in the neurobiology of learning and memory. For her doctoral dissertation, she studied song learning in the zebra finch. Her research focused on investigating the link between the dendritic morphology of neurons that control song production and the development of song. In addition, she explored the role of social experience on neuronal morphology in the adult songbird.

Since completing her doctorate, she has taught a variety of biology classes and laboratories, including General Biology, Human Biology and Anatomy and Physiology. She has taught Manchester Community College, Goodwin College and Wesleyan University, experiences that have shown her the value of flexibility in teaching. She is constantly looking for new ways to improve her students' understanding and to encourage and incorporate discussion, questions and in-class activities throughout her courses. She likes to incorporate outside resources, including videos and interactive websites and believes that active learning and a hands-on approach is best for most students.  

Believing that early exposure to the scientific process and science writing can really help students develop a better understanding of the topics they study, she includes primary literature and mainstream science articles on a variety of topics covered in class. Her primary focus is to make sure every student has a solid understanding of the material being covered and to keep the discussion moving forward to make the class interesting and engaging.

She is member of the National Association of Biology Teachers and the Connecticut Association of Biology Teachers, attending conferences and workshops to develop new skills and techniques and explore new approaches for use in the classroom.

She will be teaching Cell, Accelerated Cell and Organisms at Connecticut College.

Publications and presentations by Kate McDonald

  • McDonald KS (2016) The Neurobiology of Birdsong: Changes in Neuron Structure and Vocal Learning in the Adult Zebra Finch. Manchester Community College Community Science Lecture Series, Manchester Connecticut.
  • McDonald KS, Kirn JR (2012) Anatomical plasticity in the adult zebra finch song system. J Comp Neurol 520(16): 3272-86.
  • McDonald KS, Kirn JR (2009) Anatomical correlates of adult song plasticity in the zebra finch. Society for Neuroscience National Meeting, Chicago Michigan.
  • McDonald KS, Kirn JR (2006) Morphology of pre-motor song control neurons continues to change after crystallization in the zebra finch. Society of Neuroscience National Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia

Major in Biological Sciences. 

Contact Kate McDonald

Mailing Address

Kate McDonald
Connecticut College
Box #5213
270 Mohegan Ave.
New London, CT 06320

Office

New London Hall 403