Come & hear six powerful short talks from scientists from the LGBTQI community, on how their experiences in science & academia has shaped their outlook on work, life & our society.
The 500 Queer Scientists initiative launched in June 2018 & highlights the real need for increased visibility of LGBTQI scientists in academia. The issues are complex, but visibility & role models are part of the solution. This event will share stories of LGBTQI scientists in New York/Northeast who have successfully followed a career path in academia while being out in the lab & to their peers. This event will provoke positive debate & help promote science & academia as an inclusive, forward-thinking, & viable career path for bright young queer minds!
Co-organized by Elsevier Pride & 500 Queer Scientists, you'll hear from five scientists ranging from early to late-career scientists; including:
John Pham, Editor-in-Chief, Cell
John earned his B.S. from Bates College in Music & Biochemistry. He worked as an analytical chemist for several years before returning to school to pursue doctoral work at Northwestern University, where he worked with Dr. Erik Sontheimer on the mechanisms of RNA silencing & RNA splicing. He did post-doctoral work at the Harvard Medical School before joining Elsevier & Cell Press in 2008 as an assistant editor on the Molecular Cell team. John became the Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Cell in 2012, working with the team to expand the journal's scope & to implement new policies & approaches aimed at improving peer review & reproducibility. Last year, John became the fourth Editor-in-Chief of Cell Press' flagship journal, Cell.
Edgardo Sanabria-Valentin: I am gay & I am a microbiologist & higher-education professional. //
I'm the Associate Director of the Program for Research Initiatives in Science & Math at John Jay College of the City University of New York (CUNY). I received a BS in Industrial Microbiology from Universidad de Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, where I was a MARC U*STAR Scholar. I completed my PhD at New York University. While at NYU, I was the Co-Chair & founding member of the NYC Minority Graduate Student Network, an organization dedicated to providing professional resources to minority scientists-in-training in the city of New York. After a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard followed by years of working in the biotechnology industry in Boston, I returned to higher education at John Jay.
Ruthie Birger: I am queer & I am a postdoc in infectious disease modeling. //
I'm a native New Yorker & postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia University at the Mailman School of Public Health & the Earth Institute; my research focuses on using mathematical models to better understand & control the spread of disease. During my time studying applied math as an undergrad, I learned that math could be used for answering public health questions & got really excited about that, so I went on to do a master's in epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. I stayed in the UK for a few more years, working in public health, before coming back to the East Coast to do my PhD in ecology & evolutionary biology at Princeton University, where I was affiliated with a cross-departmental association for Women in Science, & the LGBT center. In my spare time, I enjoy doing & watching ballet, watching (but not doing) opera, & figuring out ways to cook elaborate meals in my tiny NYC kitchen.
Leah Reilly: I am queer, non-binary, trans & I am a veterinarian.//
I studied evolutionary biology & then worked in research for about 10 years before going back to school for vet med - the childhood dream. A lack of role models & a fear of not being taken seriously were deterrents for a long time, but the trans visibility provided by social media finally sank in & allowed me to imagine myself in this type of public-facing professional role. The vast majority of clients & coworkers have been wonderful, & all pets are allies. I feel very lucky.
Alex Moore: I am queer & I am a community & ecosystem ecologist.//
I am an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow & I study how predator-prey interactions & the cultural values of local communities influence ecosystem health in tropical coastal wetlands to help inform their conservation & restoration. We are in a time punctuated by significant environmental change & social injustice, with problems spanning every known spectrum. Such diverse challenges require diverse solutions, & these can only be generated by embracing diversity in all its forms. Being a queer person of color has always been a salient part of my identity & it's important that I consistently bring these parts of myself into every space that I enter. Yet giving diversity a seat at the table only matters if it is also given equal voice & power - in my work, I create space for diversity to heard, respected, & valued.
Gregory Youdan (Moderator): I am gay & I am a movement scientist. //
I am a PhD student & lecturer in Kinesiology at Teachers College, Columbia University, specializing in motor learning & control. I am a first generation latinx college student. I work as the lab manager of the Neurohabilitation Research Lab focusing on exercise interventions to improve motor function in neurodegenerative populations. My research centers on the interaction of musculoskeletal biomechanics & neuromotor control with an emphasis on balance & gait. Prior to becoming a scientist, I enjoyed a career as a professional modern dancer, touring both internationally & domestically. I spent much of my dance career working with dance & disability with Heidi Latsky Dance, a physically-integrated dance company focused on promoting diversity. I live in New York City with my fiance & our cats. I hope that by promoting visibility we can serve as role models to LGBTQ+ youth.