An interview with Alison Smith

Name: Alison Smith

Current Job: PhD Grad Student

Scientific Discipline/Field: Developmental Biology

Country: USA

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

Website: NA

Twitter or other social media handle: @Smithallie95

What does your job involve?

I am studying cell fate determination during development in Drosophila melanogaster.

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

As a first-gen college student i worked extremely hard throughout undergrad not knowing what I wanted to do because I didn’t know grad school existed until my undergrad PI told me. Then I worked even harder to get into grad school so I could research/become a PI someday.

Do you feel being LGBT has affected your career decisions?

I almost didn’t apply to IU for fear of living in Indiana which is a primarily conservative state and not always accepting of the community (hence Mike Pence). Though meeting another grad student from the community during an interview weekend made me feel as if I would be okay. Also not feeling like it’s okay to be open with your co workers/PI etc about your life at first can be hard.

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

I actually came out while in grad school and my friends from my cohort and from the microbiology program were some of my biggest supporters.

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

My undergrad PI hands down (not LGBT but an amazing ally).

What are your plans for the future?

I want to be a professor at a primarily undergrad institution.

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