Rachel Bouttenot grew up in Lewiston, Maine, the middle of three children. She went to Saint Dominic Regional High School where she was very involved in sports and clubs: named the MVP of her Field Hockey team, captain of her Basketball team, president of Student Senate, and an active member of the Mock Trial team which won the state competition and went to nationals three of her four years.
She went to Georgetown University for her undergraduate studies where she majored in Biology and completed the pre-med curriculum. She also worked in a research laboratory that focused on Giardia lamblia, the intestinal parasite, for the duration of her time at Georgetown and completed her senior thesis entitled, Cytoskeletal Dynamics in Giardia lamblia: Isolation of the Cytoskeleton and Identification of Phosphorylated Proteins. Before deciding definitively between graduate and medical school, Rachel spent a year at the National Institutes of Health helping to identify the effect of erythrocyte binding protein polymorphisms on the invasion phenotype of Plasmodium falciparum, malaria parasites.
Rachel then pursued her Ph.D. in Molecular Cell Biology at Washington University in St Louis in a project focused on identifying factors required for the propagation of the yeast prion [PSI+]. Though the research aspect of graduate school was compelling, Rachel quickly found that time spent teaching and mentoring other students was the aspect of schooling she loved the most. After more than 4 years spent studying the role of chaperone proteins and protein misfolding in yeast prions, she decided to leave graduate school with a master’s degree in order to pursue a career in teaching.
From there, Rachel moved to Berkeley, California where she taught numerous high school math and science courses first at Tilden Preparatory School and then at Oakland Charter High School. She also met and fell in love with her now-wife, Katherine. Rachel and Katherine decided to move back to Maine to raise their daughter, Sylive, who was born in early 2018. Having now settled in Bath, Rachel is ready to return to teaching and is thrilled to be joining the Chewonki community.