Katie Breneman obtained her undergraduate degree in materials science and engineering from Northwestern University in 1998. After receiving her degree, Katie served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa to fulfill her desire to promote development in the third world.
When she returned, she worked as a photolithography process engineer at Intel Corporation and then spent time performing mechanical testing at a small biomaterials lab before deciding to get an advanced degree. She obtained her Ph.D. in bioengineering at the University of Utah in 2010, where her research focus was on the electromechanics of hair cells of the inner ear using physiological and computational methods.
After graduate school, Katie was interested in combining her excitement for science with her communication and interpersonal skills. A transition into program management seemed natural. In June, 2010, she joined Janelia as the science program manager for student programs. The programs she manages includes the Janelia Undergraduate Scholar, the Janelia Graduate Scholar, and the HHMI Medical Fellows at Janelia Programs. Her responsibilities include student recruitment, screening of candidates, placement of candidates, and coordination of the academic, operational, and social aspects of the programs.