I am queer and I am a PhD candidate.//
I am a PhD candidate at the University of Alberta. I grew up in California, in a very conservative community, attended a private Christian University where I would have been expelled if I was out, and was sent to reparative therapy. When I finally came out, it nearly ended my life, I lost relationships, even got kicked out of my apartment by my Christian roommates. But through all of this, I kept going by holding onto my dream of working in marine ecology. I volunteered for years in marine mammal rehabilitation centers, Aquariums, and a research lab studying sea otters; while working multiple jobs to support myself.
But I couldn’t get into grad school with so many Bible classes on my transcript, so eventually I took my schooling abroad to the University of Bremen in Germany, for my Masters. Thankfully my co-advisor at the Veterinary University of Hanover, saw something in me and funded my research in the US; so, I got to study the intestinal parasites of otters in California and Alaska anyway! I am now doing my PhD on the fitness consequences of sub-lethal parasite infection in otters; and I am grateful, and proud of myself everyday.