Skip to main content

Sadie (Sarah) Witkowski

2018 AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellow

Northwestern University, Brain, Behavior, & Cognition in Psychology
Fellowship Sponsor: Burroughs Wellcome Fund
Fellowship Site: Voice of America
@SadieWit and @PhDrinking

I’m a PhD candidate at Northwestern University within the Brain, Behavior, and Cognition area of the Psychology department. My lab, under Dr. Ken Paller, studies sleep and memory consolidation in healthy young adults. My specific research interests lie in how our memories change when they are stored, particularly during sleep. I’m investigating why some memories lose specificity and become more generalized schemas while other memories maintain high fidelity representations. In other words, sometimes it’s useful to just remember general patterns while other times it’s better to recall every detail of an event. How does our brain decide how to store a memory and can we influence that process during sleep? I have also begun a basic research project to study lucid dreams. Besides research, I spend much of my time working on various science outreach projects. In 2016, I started my podcast PhDrinking. In it, I interview graduate students from a variety of fields about their research with the express purpose of explaining complex ideas to a lay audience. I’ve also hosted several discussions about issues within academia such as the replication crisis or dealing with imposter syndrome. Beyond my audio work, I’ve also written several articles on sleep research and have helped organize both the Chicago and national ComSciCon (communicating science workshop for graduate students). When I’m not working on science or science communication, you can find me cycling through my city, often with my boyfriend and dog, in search of great new craft brews.

Fellowship publications at Voice of America

6/18/2018          South Asian Monsoons Remove Smog, Spread Pollution

6/21/2018          Study: Leptospirosis Spread by Cattle, Not Just Rats

6/21/2018          Leptospirosis Spread by Cattle, Not Just Rats- RADIO

6/22/2018          Eavesdropping on Birdsong- RADIO

6/22/2018          Algorithms Aid Tracking of Migrating Songbirds in Arctic

6/27/2018         Carnivores are Best at Predicting World Cup Winners

6/29/2018         Uganda Study: Popular HIV Drug not Linked to Depression, Suicidal Thoughts- RADIO

6/29/2018         Study: HIV Drug Not Linked to Depression

7/02/2018         'Unicorns of the Sea' at Risk From Increased Arctic Shipping

7/03/2018         Arctic Mammals Vulnerable to Ship Traffic- RADIO

7/06/2018         Scientists Working to Create Northern White Rhino Embryos

7/06/2018         Research Indicates Spiders Use Electric Fields to Take Flight

7/06/2018         Spiders Take Flight Using Electric Field- RADIO

7/09/2018         Balancing water use with nutrition in India- RADIO

7/09/2018         Study: India Could See Big Changes with Simple Shift in Grains

7/12/2018         Not Spared From Heat Wave Effects: College Students

7/13/2018         Heat waves affect college students, don’t just impact our most vulnerable populations

7/17/2018         Polio Eradication - RADIO

7/18/2018         Can Polio Workers Overcome Complacency, Conflict, Donor Fatigue to End the Virus?

7/18/2018         Thai Elephants Help Spread Jungle Fruit's Seeds

7/18/2018         Mega-fawning over elephants - RADIO

7/23/2018         Scientists Combine Shellfish, Tree Cellulose to Make Biodegradable Plastic Wrap

7/24/2018         Natural Plastic- RADIO

7/25/2018         Dogs Know When Their Owners Are Sad, Researchers Find

7/26/2018         Prosocial Pups - RADIO


Contact Info

Sadie (Sarah) Witkowski

2018 AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellow