Katy Graef obtained her bachelor's degree, Microbiology, honors, magna cum laude, from the University of Washington. She completed her Ph.D. in Virology at the University of Oxford, through the NIH Oxford Cambridge Scholars Program. Her graduate studies examined host-pathogen interactions of influenza viruses. Following her graduate work, she became a post-doctoral research fellow at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, where she studied tick-borne flaviviruses. Katy taught an undergraduate microbiology course and mentored numerous laboratory students during her undergraduate and graduate studies.