I am gay and I am a plant genetic engineer turned educator.//
My love of science started in my rural home in Wisconsin where I was surrounded by nature and most importantly plants! I was enraptured with how pretty and variable flowers were and wanted to be a flower breeder. However, flowers being too “fem” I went to undergrad for Chemistry and planned to switch majors once I got out of my hometown. While in undergrad, I discovered Biotechnology and fell deeply in love with the concept of engineering plants. I found an internship in algae biofuels and genetic engineering and was fully hooked. I continued to do algae biofuels research in graduate school at NC State where I got my PhD in Plant Biology. After 8 years of algae biofuels burnout, I found a postdoc in viral ecology to support my growing interest in algae-microbe interactions. Turns out I really missed genetic engineering and didn’t like doing metagenomics myself. So now I am a postdoctoral teaching scholar at NC State where I teach Molecular Biology courses and mentor undergraduate students through algae virus and phage engineering research projects. Who knew I would eventually fuse all my favorite pieces of my STEM journey together?!