Wolverine Stories: Kilee Davis

As told by Tori Hooper and Alessia Love

I am grateful for trusting UVU with my college experience. It has exceeded my expectations and provided a safe and fulfilling learning environment for me to grow personally and professionally.

Kilee Davis

Photo by Kennedy Evans


My name is Kilee Davis. I’m a first-generation student studying biotechnology. Born in Blackfoot, Idaho, I was primarily raised by a single mother, who set the example for me as an independent, strong woman in science. While in middle school, I was an avid learner and involved with orchestra, theater, robotics club, piano, and track. I fell in love with science at a young age while attending a charter school that focused on learning science and technology. My mom worked in a microbiology lab, and there were many times I got to tag along with her, which furthered my love of science and encouraged me on my chosen career path.

I started my journey with Utah Valley University (UVU) during high school through a concurrent enrollment program. This program allowed me to take college credits while meeting high school requirements. The professors, environment, and accessibility drew me to continue my education at UVU. I started off on a path toward an associate degree in biology and was later attracted to the biotechnology program.

While studying at UVU, I have been privileged to work closely with some of my amazing professors. A turning point in my education was being accepted into the UVU research lab under the guidance of Dr. Michaela Gazdik-Stofer. This took me outside of my comfort zone, as I didn’t have confidence as a scientist. I had to remind myself the importance of being proactive and taking initiative, even when it causes discomfort. Dr. Gazdik has been a great influence during my college career. My relationship with her has given me so many opportunities and more faith in myself. She encouraged me to apply for my fellowship with Station1, which was an amazing experience I would never have imagined being able to participate in.

Station1 is a fellowship program focused on socially-directed science and technology, integrating biotech with social sciences to produce ethical and sustainable outcomes. Every summer, they offer a prestigious 10-week internship filled with undergraduate students from around the world. Dr. Gazdik saw my potential, convincing me that I would be a good fit for this opening. While I was definitely nervous, I quickly saw it as an opportunity to build my resume and gain applicable experience. I was ecstatic when I learned I had been accepted alongside three other UVU students.

I was determined to make the most out of the internship by fully applying myself and learning as much as possible. In my time at Station1, I was hosted by the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute (GMGI), where I learned from knowledgeable mentors and developed lifelong relationships with my fellow colleagues.  My experience with GMGI taught me so much about the importance of accessible and sustainable science practices, while Station1 encouraged a growth mindset, focusing on self-awareness and equality in the STEM community. I enjoyed having a space to be vulnerable while learning more about the humanities of science and our capacity to create change.

As a woman in STEM, I am constantly breaking through glass ceilings. I am grateful for the strong female models I’ve had the opportunity to work with at UVU and Station1. They have shown me how to stand up for myself and my work in a male-dominated industry. My goal is to empower young women and be the kind of role model I look up to.

My prospective path after graduation is to gain experience in a research lab before continuing my education in bioinformatics, which was inspired by my internship. I am grateful for trusting UVU with my college experience. It has exceeded my expectations and provided a safe and fulfilling learning environment for me to grow personally and professionally. UVU goes above and beyond for its students, providing valuable opportunities that have prepared me for my future endeavors. I am proud to be part of the Wolverine community that is actively improving the student experience while creating an inclusive environment for women and minorities.