I am gay and I am a molecular geneticist.//
Being born in an Indonesian refugee camp is not the beginning of one’s life many dream of, but it was the beginning that was given to me. A year later, my parents and I were granted asylum to the United States, where settled in the Maryland suburbs of the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
After receiving my PhD in plant genetics in 2009, I was directly recruited to the National Institutes of Health, where I am currently a Senior Scientist conducting research on cervical, colorectal, and brain cancer cells/tissues. Several years ago, I created a floral design and event planning business that caters to the LGBTQ+ and allied community, specializing in weddings and corporate events. Outside of my research and business, I grow 100s of plants in my home, remain active in over a dozen national, regional, and local plant organizations, and continue to judge, exhibit, and compete at plant conventions.
Whether at the laboratory bench or the potting bench, my goal is to train and mentor future talented scientists, botanists, and horticulturalists. As scientists, one of our greatest legacy is to leave behind our knowledge and experiences, so that others can learn and build upon it.