I am gay and I am a scientist focusing on fungal genomics and genetic engineering.//
I began my journey in the sciences as a first-generation, low-income, gay student at the University of California, Berkeley. My first research-based experience was sponsored by NIH and HHMI and was studying the ubiquitin-proteasome system and how protein degradation or lack thereof contributed to human-related myopathy. I eventually was able to merge my innermost passion, astrobiology, by studying for the rest of my undergrad in a microbiology lab studying perchlorate reduction- a chemical found on Mars and whose complete reduction yield molecular oxygen. My research was eventually published and after graduating I moved on to work at a biotech company specializing in fungal genetics and genomics. The visibility of LGBTQIA+ persons is vast at the company I work for and is quite assistive in breaking out of the fear box of showing my ‘true colors.’ Not only is STEM a vast space of intellectual prowess, but a continuum of contributors from our community.