Dr. Karin Gastreich earned a B.S. in Biology at Rice University and a Ph.D. in Zoology at the University of Texas at Austin. She conducts research in animal behavior, community ecology, plant-insect interactions, and biodiversity conservation. She also engages in interdisciplinary work exploring the interface between literary and scientific modes of inquiry. Dr. Gastreich’s most recent research focuses on native bee communities in remnant habitats of the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area. This research is conducted in collaboration with KC Wildlands/Bridging the Gap, Kansas City Parks and Recreation, and the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Before coming to Avila University, Dr. Gastreich lived for many years in Central America. There, she conducted research in tropical biology and served as Director of the Undergraduate Semester Abroad Program for Duke University and the Organization for Tropical Studies (Duke/OTS). At Duke/OTS, Dr. Gastreich managed all semester and summer undergraduate field programs. She also oversaw the establishment of the Native American and Pacific Islander Research Experience Program. After nearly a decade providing innovative leadership for Duke/OTS, Dr. Gastreich accepted a faculty appointment at Avila University, returning to the greater Kansas City area where she grew up. Dr. Gastreich is happy to be part of the Avila faculty, giving back to her home community by inspiring a new generation of scientists and scholars.
When not conducting research, advising, fulfilling administrative responsibilities, or teaching, Dr. Gastreich writes fiction. She is a recipient of the OZMA Award for fantasy fiction and the Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency, as well as a winner of the Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest. Her women-centered fantasy trilogy (The Silver Web) has been favorably reviewed by top editorial magazines such as Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. Dr. Gastreich has also published short stories in Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, and World Jumping.