Conservation & Science Staff Bios

Katie L. Gillespie, M.S.

  Conservation Programs Manager
Lincoln Park Zoo


  • M.S. – Science Education, Free-choice Learning, Oregon State University
  • B.S. – Natural Resource Management, University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point

Areas of Expertise

  • Visitor behavior
  • Exhibit design/evaluation

About Katie L. Gillespie:

Katie started at Lincoln Park Zoo in June 2005 as the conservation assistant. In this role she handled day-to-day Conservation & Science operations and participated in research projects including a study of visitor behavior in Regenstein Center for African Apes.

In 2007, she left the zoo to pursue her master’s degree in science education (with a concentration in free-choice learning) at Oregon State University. Her research focused on visitors’ long-term memories of a science center visit. She also participated in investigations of family interactions at aquarium touch tanks, the role of emotion in long-term science learning and measuring emotion in informal settings. Katie is particularly interested in the relationship between humans and animals and the role of zoos in fostering environmental attitudes and behaviors.

After earning her master’s degree, Katie came back to Lincoln Park Zoo as the conservation programs manager. In this role she works primarily with Vice President of Animal Care Megan Ross, Ph.D. Katie is responsible for the zoo’s Association of Zoos and Aquariums–accreditation process and coordinating special projects, such as collection planning.


Gillespie, K.L. and Melber, L.M. 2014. Connecting students around the world through a collaborative museum education program. Journal of Museum Education, 39 (1): 1-13.

Melber, L.M. and Gillespie, K.L. 2013. Conservation education: A global perspective on collaboration. Museums in a Global Context (pp. 58-81). Washington, D.C.: The AAM Press.

Ross, M.R., Gillespie, K.L., Hopper, L. M., Bloomsmith, M.A., & Maple, T.L. 2013. Differential preference for ultraviolet light among captive birds from three ecological habitats. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 147: 278-285.

Ross, S.R., Melber, L., Gillespie, K.L., and Lukas, K.E. 2012. The impact of modern, naturalistic exhibit design on visitor behavior: A cross-facility comparison. Visitor Studies, 15(1): 3-15.

Ross, S.R. and Gillespie, K. 2009. Influences on visitor behavior at a modern immersive zoo exhibit. Zoo Biology 28(5): 462-472..

Falk, J.H. and Gillespie, K.L. 2009. Investigating the role of emotion in science center visitor learning. Visitor Studies, 12(2), 112-132.