An Interview with Stephanie Rankin

Current Job: Research Analyststephrankin

Scientific Discipline/Field:  Analytical Chemistry

Country: UK

Pick some letters (L,G,B,T,Q etc.): L

Website? Twitter, Website

What does your job involve?

I work as a research analyst in the Organic Geochemistry Unit at a UK university. My job is partially a technical role troubleshooting and (theoretically!) fixing analytical instrumentation when things go wrong, along with carrying out lab work and analyses for various research projects.

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

I studied forensic science at university, which had a heavy basis in analytical chemistry. I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for a while before deciding I wanted to work in a more varied, research-based environment, and so began my current job.

Do you feel being LGBT has affected your career decisions?

Not at all. I knew that I wanted a career in science long before I knew I was a lesbian, so the two haven’t really been relevant to one another. Perhaps it would be different if my career required me to move to a country where LGBT rights were not quite as established, but so far I haven’t faced that.

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

I’ve had a lot of good or neutral reactions, but never anything bad (that I’m aware of anyway). I have definitely had a few awkward questions posed in the past, but mostly from people who didn’t know much about LGBT relationships and were curious.

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

I don’t think I really did have a role model growing up, especially not an LGBT role model. I probably have more role models now than when I was a child!.

What are your plans for the future?

I’d love to go back to university to do a PhD one day. I’ve also become more and more involved in science communication work, so it will be interesting to see where that leads.

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An Interview with Philip Rodenbough

Current Job: PhD Student _DSC9231 - Copy

Scientific Discipline/Field:  Chemistry / Materials Science

Country: USA

Pick some letters (L,G,B,T,Q etc.): G – Happily married gay man

Websitehttp://about.me/philip.rodenbough

What does your job involve?

Synthesizing metal oxide materials, characterizing them, testing their catalytic capabilities, occasional trips to Brookhaven National Lab. Research, Research, Research!

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

I applied after my undergraduate degree majoring in Chemistry.

Do you feel being LGBT has affected your career decisions?

My dream is to open a gay bar in West Africa – this was inspired by my time there in the US Peace Corps and the gay West Africans I met there – including my husband!

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

A supervisor once told me to remove from my desk a personal picture of me with my husband because she thought it was inappropriate.

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

Growing up I knew I wanted to excel academically and make an impact, but didn’t really have specific role models. I currently draw inspiration from my West Africa friends who stay so optimistic in the face of so much hardship (poverty, homophobia, political corruption…).

What are your plans for the future?

Graduate, get a job in the city, apply to AAAS/S&TPF and/or PMF/STEM, work for USAID in West Africa on science advising or LGBT advocacy. Open up that gay bar!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Tweet me! @prodenbough