Susanna L. Harris

PhD Candidate and Social Entrepreneur in North Carolina

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Hi there! I am a Graduate Student in Microbiology at UNC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. My passion for science ranges from performing primary research to teaching the public about all topics of STEAM. You can find me (and my two dogs) on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

As a researcher in the lab of Dr. Elizabeth Shank, I study how communities of bacteria work together to adhere to plant roots. We believe that bacteria interacting with each other might affect their ability to colonize the plant and to change the health of the plant. Better understanding these processes could inform agricultural practices to replace chemical pesticides with bacterial probiotics.

My outreach focuses on facilitating exploration-based learning of biological concepts for people aged 5 to 95. I volunteer at the Morehead Planetarium and train future IMPACT program science communicators. I also am an active member of The SciCommunity on Instagram and YouTube.

If you would like to book me for a virtual workshop or lesson regarding science communication, laboratory techniques, or anything else, please look into my profile on Scipertice.

I founded The PhDepression LLC in March 2018. We work to increase visibility and provide resources to those dealing with mental illness in Higher Education. You can view my speech about my motivation for founding The PhDepression LLC.

I love talking to fellow researchers, academics, dog-lovers, and all-around-amazing humans. You can email me at



Interviews & Presentations

- HelloPhD Mental Health (May 2018)

- Measure of Everyday Life (July 2018)

- AAAS Blog (August 2018)

- Mental Health Week Keynote, The University of Kentucky (September 2018)

- HerStemStory (October 2018)

- Wonder Women in Stem (October 2018)

- 96 Boards Interview (October 2018)

- Science Communication in the Age of Social Media (December 2018)

- Gardenians of the Underground Galaxy: the Plant Microbiome (January 2019)

- HelloPhD Pets in Grad School (February 2019)

- Sew Manly Podcast Women in STEAM (March 2019)



Blog Posts:


  • Education
    • University of Iowa
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill