Kristen Witte


I am a queer, non-binary, masculine of center and I am a science museum professional.//

I am a recent museum transplant with a scientific background in pipetting – er, cell biology. Having most enjoyed the literature research and storytelling aspects of my Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, I now spend my time in exhibit development at the Museum of Science & Industry where I unearth the provocative stories that resonate with the museum’s diverse audience. Speaking of diversity, I fall on the non-binary side of the gender galaxy, an identity that I did not discover until I left academia. Throughout my Ph.D., I experienced feelings of isolation that I mitigated by distancing myself from my queerness. While openly gay, I struggled with my gender identity as “woman” was uncomfortable and “trans man” felt inaccurate. This limited representation of the gender spectrum and the need I felt to distance myself from queerness underlies my commitment to increasing the visibility of the queer science community and to deconstructing systems that result in the diminution of the queer experience in science and science-adjacent fields.Now, my brightest moments occur when young, queer, museum visitors share how welcomed they feel by my presence and my “They/Them” pronoun pin, further demonstrating that community and representation is essential.