An interview with Landon Getz

Name: Landon John Getz

Current Job: Ph.D. Student

Scientific Discipline/Field: Microbiology

Country: Canada

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

Website: http://landongetz.com

Twitter or other social media handle: @landongetz

What does your job involve?

I am currently studying how a group of ocean bacteria (called Vibrio) survive in the environment. By understanding the genetic regulation of their metabolism, it is my hope that we can better predict how they will be affected by climate change and other changes in atmospheric or oceanic conditions in the coming years.

I am also quite interested in the ethics and social responsibility of Science, and how we (as scientists) can work to ensure the actions we take are socially responsible and ethical ones.

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

I started this journey by completing an undergraduate degree at Dalhousie University, where I did my honours work with Dr. Nikhil Thomas. I liked the project so much, I stayed!

Do you feel being LGBT has affected your career decisions?

I believe that being LGBT has given me a great interest in ethics discussions because I understand what it is like to be at the short end of poorly thought out/implemented social policies. This is especially important when we think about the research and science that has been done on unrepresented and minority populations in the (not so far away) past.

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

Many of my colleagues at Dalhousie University have been nothing but supportive, which has allowed me to be out and open with many of my peers and mentors. I realize how lucky I am that this is the case and as such I have used my position to try and be as visible as possible for up and coming LGBTQ+ students.

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

When I was a teenager, Youtube stars were the folks people looked up too. While I fully recognize these peoples flaws, folks like Tyler Oakley and Shane Dawson were incredibly visible and open LGBT folks that made me feel normal and welcome in the world. I really appreciated their visibility.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m hoping to become a researcher someday, whether that be in science or ethics I’m not sure.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I am really lucky to have places like this (LGBTSTEM, 500 Queer Scientists, etc) to share my story, feel welcome, and meet new LGBTSTEM folks. Importantly, without LGBTSTEM and it’s founders, I wouldn’t have met so many incredible LGBTSTEM folks in January 2019 at the LGBTSTEMinar. I want to give a huge shoutout to Drs. Beth Montague-Hellen and Alex Bond for their work on this site, and for turning their dreams into reality. Thanks folks!

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