Andy Lee


I am gay and I am an ecology and evolutionary biology PhD student.//


I am a first year Ecology and Evolutionary Biology PhD student at Purdue University. I study how populations of marine snails are connected to each other using genetic techniques. Growing up near the ocean of Taiwan constantly drew me to the outdoors. Though it was hard to navigate academia as a first-generation immigrant student, I somehow stumbled my way to the fields of ecology and conservation biology through internships, fieldwork, and eventually an undergraduate honors thesis: one that focuses on the phylogenetic relationships of spotted skunks!

I am the gay-scientist son of deeply conservative pastor parents. These identities affected not only my academic life; I feel that different parts of myself are at odds. My religious family rejects my sexual orientation and studies of evolution. Members of my scientific community dismiss religious people with condescension. My queer family has been deeply hurt by religious people and consequently loathes religion. My identity has been torn between each of these antagonistic communities. I realize that my identities are not a hindrance; rather, they are tools that can help me act as a bridge to reach across communities.