I am gay and I am a PhD student in microbial ecology. //
I am passionate about research, and love what I do. I study the communities of snow algal blooms—a.k.a. pink or watermelon snow—in the mountains around beautiful Vancouver! My research involves a nice mix of lab work and field work (I get to go hiking all the time), exploring questions of biodiversity, phylogenetics, and microbial interactions. I previously did my MSc in Sudbury, ON, looking at the microbial communities involved in carbon cycling in lake sediments. While I never faced open adversity as a gay man in STEM, I think back to when I was younger and struggling with my sexuality, and how young me would have loved to have openly gay role models. Therefore, I aim to be visibly out, not for the haters, but for anyone who sees me and can draw inspiration from my experiences, and stride more confidently in their identity. If you’re interested in following my work, my Twitter handle is @kurtyaki and Insta is @kurty_hey.