An interview with Amanda Hyman

Name: Amanda Hyman

Current Job: Graduate Teaching Assistant

Scientific Discipline/Field: Ecology and Conservation

Country: USA

Pick some letters (L,G,B,T,Q,+, etc.): Queer cis-woman


Twitter or other social media handle: @amandaahyman

What does your job involve?

I work in the intersection of international ecology/conservation and economics. I specifically use a combination of mathematical optimization models and in-person surveys to improve sustainability of land conservation strategies and increase efficiency with limited conservation finances. Currently, during the summer, there is quite a bit of writing and coding in R in my day-to-day. I am writing grants for funding for fieldwork and have started to code optimization models I anticipate using once I collected data. Come this fall, I will help teach a conservation biology course and conduct fieldwork in Benin.

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

I completed my M.S. in Fish and Wildlife Conservation and then worked with a small NGO in Tanzania that focused on reducing human-wildlife conflict, followed by a few years with an USAID Innovation Lab.

Do you feel being LGBT has affected your career decisions?

No necessary career decisions, but where I work, who I work with, and how I approach new projects. I worked in Tanzania, where being LGBTQ+ is illegal – although I loved my experience there as a whole, there were moments that were terrifying and I plan to never put myself in a country where I cannot be open again.

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

I’ve had plenty of neutral experiences – either people are completely unaffected by it, or they hesitate and are unsure how to react (as I work in the southern USA, I have been the first out person they have ever met).

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

My mother – a total bad ass woman, who worked hard to provide for her children and loved with arms open to all.

What are your plans for the future?

I hope to finish my PhD in 2022 and then eventually become a professor.

Anything else you’d like to add?

*Photo attached is when I lived in Tanzania, where we worked with local Maasai and had correct permits to be conducting research aka collaring lions

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