An Interview with Ashley Spindler

Current Job:  PhD Researcher at The Open Universityspindler

Scientific Discipline/Field: Astronomy/Cosmology

Country: UK

Pick some letters (L,G,B,T,Q etc.): T & B

Website: ashleynovablog.wordpress.com

Twitter: @Ashley_Nova_

What does your job involve? 

I’m a PhD student studying Galaxy Evolution, in particular the role of galaxy environments on how they effect the formation of new stars. I use data from the MaNGA Survey (Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory), which is a brand new survey which uses a new technique to produce spatially resolved spectrometry.

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

For my undergrad I did a MPhys in Physics and Nuclear Astrophysics at the University of Surrey, I then stayed at Surrey for a further year and studied for a MSc in Space Technology and Planetary Exploration. I started at the OU in 2014.

Do you feel being LGBT has affected your career decisions? 

I actually applied for my PhD before I came out as trans professionally, so I don’t think there has been an opportunity for my career decisions to be affected. I certainly never considered my sexuality as something that would hold me back and going forward I have no intention of letting my Gender Identity get in the way!

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

I’m lucky to have had an almost 100% positive experience, with the exception of an occasional slip of the tongue misgendering I haven’t ever had a bad experience at work. Even travelling to the United States for a conference I was lucky to not have an trouble with my identity.

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

This is going to sound a bit silly, but I always looked up to Samantha Carter in Stargate SG-1. I realise she’s not a real person, but just having a female character who was not only a military officer, but a double PhD, a total badass and a strong female was amazing and a real inspiration for me pursuing a career in science

What are your plans for the future?

Right now I just want to finish my research and get my Thesis written! After that, I still need to work out if I will stay in academia and continue on with Post-Doc work or flee to the real world.

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