Mounica Kota


I’m queer and I’m a PhD student in ecology, evolution, and behavior. //

Hello! I’m a behavioral ecologist and a PhD student in the Ecology, Evolution and Behavior department at the University of Minnesota. I did my BA in Conservation Biology at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia, before moving up to the great white north to pursue my PhD. I study animal communication, specifically in the context of sexual selection and mate choice. I am fascinated by the interplay of natural and sexual selection and the way that these interactions drive the expression of sexual signals. I worked with birds in my undergrad, but currently work with insects—specifically, the Pacific field cricket Teleogryllus oceanicus. As a queer woman of color, I am happy to share my story. STEM is diversifying rapidly, but still has leagues to go. I enjoy mentoring and am involved in a lot of scientific outreach work. I am proud to be the very representation that I would have loved to have when I was younger, and will continue to fight the good fight for visibility!