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CBS People: Kelaine Haas

This College of Biological Sciences alum helps undergraduates knit together the perfect research experience.

Photo of Kelaine Haas


What do you do?

I am the Undergraduate Research Coordinator in CBS Student Services.

How long have you been at the U?

I started graduate school here in 2006, but started my current job in 2012.

Describe something interesting or unusual about your work here?

Something that I always find interesting in my work with students is their wide array of interests in different research topics. While many students are interested in doing research that is related to the medical field, I also have students who come in and want to do computational biology, field research, psychology, entomology and much more. I really enjoy getting to know students and the motivations behind their research interests.

You got your doctorate in Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, how does that inform what you're doing now?

So much of what I learned as an undergraduate and as a graduate student informs my day to day work in CBS Student Services. As an undergraduate, I majored in biology and spent three of my four undergraduate years working in a research lab. That experience inspired me to pursue my Ph.D. here at the University of Minnesota where I continued doing research for another five years. Those research experiences give me a good understanding of the various challenges that CBS students may face in the lab, as well as the passion and excitement that they have for research. Along with the personal connections to a student's experience, I also have a pretty good understanding of a lot of the science that they are doing in the lab, which makes it possible to really talk with them about their projects in detail. Many of these skills translate to working with faculty and staff in CBS as well. Overall, I think earning my Ph.D. in GCD prepared me to work with students, staff and faculty in CBS in the most effective ways possible.

You are a champion knitter! Tell us about your recent State Fair wins.

I don't know about champion, but I am definitely a knitter. I learned how to knit when I was studying abroad in Ireland as a junior in college. I picked it back up when I moved to Minnesota in 2006 and joined a knitting circle shortly thereafter. Since then, I have spent almost every Tuesday evening with the same group of amazing women and I learned some mad knitting skills along the way. I have been entering knitted items into the Minnesota State Fair for four years now, and have won several ribbons in the past. This year, I won two blue ribbons — one for a cranberry cable knit cardigan and one for a teal and orange fair isle cowl. I am excited to plan what I will be entering in the fair next year!