M. Aaron Guest
I am gay and I am a socio-environmental gerontology Ph.D candidate.//
Growing up in rural South Carolina I was never really exposed to the vast array of possibilities STEM+H offered. Like most from my area, I went to college because it was expected with little idea of what I wanted to do. Luckily, I connected with some excellent advisors and mentors during that first semester that introduced me to an entirely new world as well as assisting me in overcoming my own internalized homophobia. During my BA, MPH, and MSW my research primarily focused on addressing health equity issues through dissemination and translational research. Today, my work centers on how marginalized, particularly LGBT, rural older adults’ social networks affect their health and quality of life. He applies his interdisciplinary background as a community-based scholar to address health inequities, improve health equity, and improve health outcomes through decreasing disparities among rural older adults, especially in Appalachia. Initially, I did not want to be known as ‘that LGBTQ’ researcher because I thought my own sexual identity would lead people to expect that, I was lucky that some excellent mentors showed me differently.