I am gay and I am a horticulturist/plant pathologist.//
I have had a life-long passion for plants, gardening, and nature. This passion led me to horticulture for my undergraduate degree with the goal of starting my own nursery. However, for various reasons, I ended up studying plant pathology for my Masters and PhD, and then becoming a scientist at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service. Currently, I am a plant pathologist who conducts research on the diseases that affect the ornamental nursery industry. My research focuses on identifying and understanding the pathogens that cause disease with the goal of improving disease control. Being gay has shaped my approach to science by giving me an outsider perspective and a bit of a perfectionist streak. It has also given me insight into some of the difficulties faced by minorities in science and the nursery industry. As a result, I am an advocate for diversity in STEM education.