Plant Pathology Ph.D. Candidate, Pawlowska Lab
School of Integrative Plant Science
How has being LGBTQIA+ or any other aspects of your identity influenced your experience in science or academia?
As a nonbinary scientist I have experienced both transphobia and radical allyship in academia. My previous and current supervisors, Drs. Matt Kasson and Teresa Pawlowska, have been incredibly supportive of my identity, my advocacy and my research. However, the difficulties associated with being a first-year Ph.D. student are compounded for me by the challenge of navigating a cis-normative institution. From introducing myself, to finding a bathroom, to coping with instances of harassment from colleagues, challenges in the academic environment have distracted my attention from my scientific work.
It’s fantastic to see so many queer grad students in my field of mycology! Overall, incoming cohorts are much more diverse and we are pushing the field forward in exciting ways. However, efforts to include queer people must be proactive in identifying the challenges we face and mitigating them so LGBTQ+ students are able to dedicate less mental resources to advocating for ourselves and more to our science.