Slava Bekker grew up in Odessa, Ukraine, and moved to Chicago area with her parents as a teenager. After obtaining her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana she moved to Davis, California to pursue her graduate work. She completed her degree in 2011 and accepted a job as an Assistant Professor at Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, OR, where she taught Chemistry classes for pre-medical professions and Physics classes for engineers. Additionally, she became involved in many aspects of sustainability, such as advising the sustainability club, organizing Earth Day events, and various recycling initiatives, and helping creating a native plant habitat on campus.
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