I am gay and I am a natural history museum collections manager.//
I am gay and work in the Biology Department at Duke University, where I manage the lichen herbarium and do research on lichen fungi.As Collections Manager I oversee all lichen herbarium operations including accessioning, loans, databasing, identifications, inquiries, and public outreach. My job also has a research component that is strongly “collections-based”—meaning that I document biodiversity by collecting herbarium specimens (pressed plants, fungi and lichens). One of my long-running floristic projects is documenting the lichen flora of Bermuda. I’m also interested in molecular phylogenetics, specifically the systematics and evolution of the lichen genera Lecanora and Ramalina. The most exciting thing about my work is describing species new to science—discovering and naming an organism for the very first time. I actually attended graduate school at Duke, in the same department where I now work, and am pleased by the progressive changes in North Carolina’s political climate since I received my PhD. I’ve always been out and proud, leading by example to change hearts and minds. And, being a gay evolutionary biologist doesn’t mean I can’t also be a man of faith: my husband and I were married in an Episcopal church, and we remain active in the church to this day.