An Interview with Val Knapp

Current Job: Database development officerIMAG0034

Scientific Discipline/Field: ICT / Computer Science

Country: UK

Pick some letters (L,G,B,T,Q etc.): I ID as gay, but technically I’m a lesbian.

What does your job involve? 

Working with people, writing specifications, writing and testing code, writing, testing and optimising reports, lots of email, lots of phone calls and lots of learning.

How did you get to this job (education etc.)? 

I used to work in a secondary school, where I taught myself how to use Google docs and the school database to organise a complex structure of meetings and related documents. I used those skills to get this job. I am actually about to start a new job as a developer, which I have been able to get from the skills I learned in my current job.

Do you feel being LGBT has affected your career decisions? 

Yes, I moved to England from America because I was married to an English lady. My degree background is in running summer camps from the USA but when that wasn’t an option as a career in the UK, I had to take what was on offer and I have learned loads in the process.

Have you had any reactions from colleagues about being LGBT, either good or bad?

Mostly really positive things. I have been in meetings with people who were really horrible about LGBT issues and I have tried to stand up for myself and my peers but I mostly just try to set a good example. I’m very open and resourceful so I would often point people in the direction of more information about a topic if I feel like they would be open to learning more.

Did you have any role models growing up (LGBT, STEM, totally unrelated…)?

Not really…

What are your plans for the future?

Be a great developer! Learn loads all the time! Maybe meet another nice lady (I’m divorced now).

Anything else you’d like to add?

If you aren’t getting smarter, you’re getting dumber in my opinion. Go to lectures, read read read, do everything you can to broaden yourself! It’s the best advice I can offer. You will meet others with bright, sparkly minds and they are the best people.

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