An interview with Sophie May Watts

Name: Sophie May Watts

Current Job: PhD Student

Scientific Discipline/Field: Biology

Country: Canada

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

Website: www.sophiemaywatts.com

Twitter or other social media handle: @sophiemaywatts

What does your job involve?

My PhD research is on the ecology of coastal wolves on Vancouver Island and human-wolf interactions. Specifically, I will look at how the wolves use the landscape of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and what they are eating. I hope to understand why some wolves have become habituated (lost their fear of people) and come up with solutions to this problem. I’m only in my first year, so at the moment my work involves reading around the subject and collecting data from the field (e.g. using camera traps).

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

I completed my BSc in Biology and an MSc in Wildlife Management and Conservation. Throughout my education I also completed voluntary positions to gain animal husbandry experience and valuable field skills. When I graduated from my MSc I was awarded a fellowship from Panthera to study snow leopards in India for five months, and I think it was this experience that really opened up the door to a PhD.

Do you feel being LGBT has affected your career decisions?

I don’t feel like being LGBT has affected my career decisions so far.

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

I’ve not really been openly ‘out’ around colleagues, but I’d like to think that most people I’ve worked with would be supportive.

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

Bette Porter – She is the most bad-ass lesbian on the planet, I hope one day I will rock a power suit as well as she does.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m trying not to think too far beyond my PhD, but there are lots of things I enjoy (research, field work, science communication, writing) that could evolve into careers once I finish.

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